Like most New Yorkers, I absolutely hate paying for the AirTrain when I need to go to JFK airport. I pay quite enough each month on my MetroCard as is so knowing I need to take a $10 hit just for making a round-trip to the airport is never any fun. Amazingly, there is a way around this. In fact, there is a way to pay exact half price next time you need to head to the airport. The MTA doesn’t make it too easy or intuitive so I’m going to show you how to do it step by step.
Step 1: Leave your existing MetroCard in your pocket and go to the vending machines at the entrance to the AirTrain. Instead of selecting that you want to buy one AirTrain ride, select “MetroCard” instead. This is counter-intuitive because the machine is making you think that it offers two services. One being AirTrain rides and two being regular MetroCards. Don’t fall for its deception!
Step 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: Now the secret is revealed and we see a AirTrain 10-Trip option that doesn’t exist on normal MetroCard machines. Since the AirTrain costs $5/ride, you’d think that given typical MTA bulk discounting a 10-trip would cost $50, right? Go ahead and select it and let’s see what happens.
Step 4: BAM! Look at that! Your AirTrain 10-trip isn’t $50 after all. It’s only $25! Even with the $1 fee for a new card you’re coming out way ahead. Pay for the card however you wish and enjoy your half-priced AirTrain fare!
IMPORTANT: Your new 10-trip can be used for 365 days after it’s first use so you may be laying out some cash now, but you’ll enjoy half priced rides to the airport for up to a year!
REALLY IMPORTANT: Obviously this works best when you’re traveling as a family or in a small group. If you are four people, you can knock out four rides from your 10-trip in one shot. BUT, be warned that after every fourth swipe, there is an 18-minute waiting period before the card be used again. So don’t think you and your nine friends can share a 10-trip unless you don’t mind waiting around at Jamaica station for 36 minutes.
For all the details straight from the MTA source, click here.