2020 UPDATE: Unfortunately MTA has drastically changed the rules to this card. Now, this card expires in 30 days, instead of one year. Still makes sense to use it if you’re travelling as a group, or are a REALLY frequent traveler.
Like most New Yorkers who travel frequently out of JFK, I dread paying the $5 fee every time I use the AirTrain. (For those who are not familiar, AirTrain is the looping train that connects the NYC Subway to each JFK Terminal and it’s the only option to reach to the airport besides using a car, a shuttle bus or a taxi/Uber.)
In 2017 alone, I flew out of JFK about 20 times, which meant 20 x 2 (each way) times I paid the $5 fee, which brought my total cost to $200. However a not-so-well-known trick I learned from a flight attendant friend completely blew my mind. Apparently, there’s a 10-Trip AirTrain card option carefully hidden in the ticket machine menu which only costs $26 ($1 fee included for the new card).
Your Step by Step Guide to the 50% Discounted AirTrain Rides:
1 – Go to the vending machines at the entrance to the AirTrain. Instead of selecting that you want to buy one AirTrain ride, select “MetroCard”. This is confusing to most people because they are made to think that the single-ride is the only option for the AirTrain.
2: Once again, the machine is making you think that it’s going to sell you a regular MetroCard like any other MTA vending machine in the network. It’s tricking you into thinking that AirTrain rides are now off the table. Don’t be fooled. Select that you want to buy a new MetroCard. Don’t let that $1 fee scare you.
Step 3: On the next screen, the secret is revealed. Select the AirTrain 10-Trip option that doesn’t exist on regular MetroCard machines. And voila, the total cost is $26, not $50!
PRO TIP: Your new 10-Trip can be used for 365 days after first use, and it can be used up to 4 times at one go. After 4 swipes, it will require a 18 minute wait time before it can be used again.
By using this method, you’ll be spending $2.60 instead of $5.00 per ride. Enjoy your 10-Trip AirTrain card just for $26!