I needed to get to New York (JFK) airport to fly back to California for the holidays. As I was leaving on a weekend early afternoon, I thought it would be a perfect time to take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) from Penn Station to Jamaica, and then connect on the AirTrain to get me to my JFK terminal. Since I was flying with American Airlines out of Terminal 8, I would also be the first terminal stop on the AirTrain. Coupled with the fact that Ubers were going for around $80, I decided to take the economical route.

Even though the NYC Subways introduced tap-to-pay (contactless) in 2019, it’s taken time to get implemented everywhere. Just last month, they were finally added to the AirTrain to JFK Aiport. Yay!

My Route and Cost: 

  • Left Penn Station at 12:45 PM on a LIRR Train to Jamaica Station ($5 off-peak CityTicket)
  • Arrived in Jamaica at around 1:10 PM and boarded the next AirTrain which was waiting for me (they run normally every 10 or so minutes, depending on the time of day) ($8.25)
  • Got off the AirTrain at Terminal 8 at 1:26 PM
  • Total Time from Penn: 41 minutes and $13.25

Note: you may need to add a short taxi/rideshare or subway fare if you’re coming from somewhere that is not close to Penn Station.

Tap-To-Pay at Jamaica Station:

There are marked signs on the tracks to lead you to the AirTrain. They now even slapped on a “Contactless Available” sticker.


AirTrain now has Contactless!

Funny enough, when I got to the ticket gates, I only saw ONE entrance gate with contactless operating. Thankfully, there was no line as most of the people there were tourists who seemed to want to use a MetroCard. One tap with my phone and the green box said ok, and I was on my way!

I’m so happy contactless is available now, as I don’t like lugging my MetroCard around and having to refill it.

The Verdict:

I’m glad that the AirTrain to New York’s JFK Airport joined the modern age and is allowing contactless payments. It will help me not have to remember to bring my MetroCard with me (which I barely use).


Have you used tap-to-pay on the AirTrain to JFK yet? Comment Below!




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