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JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?

Honolulu, Hawaii
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JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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I should be landing around 7am at JFK T5 for a solo trip. I took a taxi on my last (and only) trip to the Rockefeller Center area which I landed around the same time. I'm pretty sure I got into Times Square area before 9:30a that time. This time I'd like to save some money and was planning on taking the Air Train and E to TS (7th/53rd). But I'm a bit worried about the crowd level on E. Originally, I was just to have a carryon (duffle/backpack style) that I'll be carrying as a duffle and medium-size backpack. BUT, I'm taking a side trip to DC and overnighting in VA for 1 night while visiting family I haven't seen in years. So I'm bringing a 24" hard rolling suitcase carrying gifts and lightening up my carry-on load. I've seen YT vids but most were non-rush hr times. Or should I just take the LIRR to Penn St and just walk the 20 mins or so to stretch my legs after a long overnight plane ride.

17 replies to this topic
Brooklyn, New York
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1. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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You will be getting on the E at the end of the line. You will be fine.

Brooklyn, New York
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2. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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I almost always take the Airtrain/subway from JFK - the A in my case, so I don’t have direct personal experience with the E. But you should be fine, even with luggage, as long as you’re game to try it. You’ll be boarding the train at the beginning of its run, so it won’t be crowded. Just position yourself where your bags will be out of the way. People carry all sorts of stuff on the subway all the time.

Take the LIRR if you prefer, but don’t feel you have to. Personally, I’d rather sit with my bags on the subway than have to carry them for blocks & blocks.

New York City
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3. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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My infor here is pre-covid, but DO NOT TAKE THE E-TRAIN during rush hours, Its PACKED.

Just bcause its the end of the line doesnt mean anything, Eastern Queens doesnt have subway service so lots of people take buses to the Subway in Jamaica and get on the E train . Those trains get packed at Jamaica and ony get worse in Forest Hills and Jackson Heights

I used to take that train every morning about the time you are taking it , and its wall to wal people, Take the LIRR especially now since the trains are empty

Brooklyn, New York
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4. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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Subway is packed but LIRR is empty? That seems unlikely to me.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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Ive done this many times with no problem. You will get a seat. And it is easy to slide your carryon bag under your seat.

The train will begin to fill up at each stop, which may make you feel uncomfortable. Air circulation on the subway is great, but imho, too many riders are sloppy about masking.

Astoria, New York
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6. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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Are you headed to a hotel near 7th & 53rd where you can drop your luggage?

IMO w/ luggage the walk up there from the LIRR / Penn (@ 33rd) is likely to be as much or more inconvenient than being on a crowded E train

Edited: 18 October 2021, 16:58
New York City
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7. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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Its true the LIRR is Empty, Many of the people who used to take the commuter trains are now working at least some of the time at home

The E train takes a lot of people who cannot work from home so they have to take the train, there is NO ROOM For people on the Morning E-train, let alone Luggage.

Unlike others, this is where I live and the E train is my go to train, and I used to take it every rush hour into Manhatan from Queens (I used to commute from Queens to the West side of Manhattan, first to where the Chelsea market is and then where the Hudson Yards is) I know that train like the back of my hand

(The F isn't any better, its just as packed as the E train, but I rarely took it when I worked in Manhattan, I just take it on weekends)

What others are not realizing at the the E train is a feeder for South east and Central East Queens bus and dollar van passengers. The Jamaica E train stations are some of the most crowded in the Subway for that reason

Edited: 18 October 2021, 20:10
Honolulu, Hawaii
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8. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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Thank you all to those who took the time to respond.

I'm leaning on taking the Air Train and LIRR during morning rush hour. I'd rather inconvenience myself then inconvenience locals who rely on public transportation to get to work.

I've rolled around 2 suitcases from my hotel in Shinjuku to Shinjuku Station at 7am (but I took the NEX) which was about 20 mins away also.

What about return? Flight departing 10am on a Friday. I like to get to airports early for just in case moments. I don't like rushing in airports. I was thinking of taking the E around 6-630 and then Air Train.

New York City
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9. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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Are you going home at 6am or 6pm?

6am taking the E train to Queens shouldn't be a problem, , 6PM taking the E train to Queens WIll be a problem with the rush hour commute home

Brooklyn, New York
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10. Re: JFK5 > AirTrain > E, morning rush hour on subway into city?
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>>> I'd rather inconvenience myself then inconvenience locals who rely on public transportation to get to work.<<<

That is very thoughtful - but really, you will NOT be inconveniencing locals if you take the subway. (Or at least, no more than the normal, day-to-day inconvenience that we all take in stride because it’s part of living in NYC.)

As Kaye mentioned, rolling bags on the sidewalks can also be an inconvenience - not just for you, but for other pedestrians who have to make their way around you. Taking a cab or Uber inconveniences locals, too, by contributing to congestion. In fact, everything you do as a tourist is arguably an inconvenience to someone. Just be considerate, and you’ll be fine. (And we’re glad you’re here!)

I *do* take the subway regularly and am starting to see more people with suitcases heading to and from the airports, and I think it’s great.

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