What’s Different Now That The Airline Industry No Longer Considers Newark A New York Airport?

Whether or not ‘Newark airport’ is really New York has been a top of some controversy since 1934, when New York City’s mayor Fiorello La Guardia pulled a stunt refusing to get off of a TWA flight from Chicago at Newark airport because his ticket said his destination was New York. He demanded to be flown to New York. The end result was LaGuardia airport.

  • At LaGuardia’s urging American Airlines tried operating flights to Floyd Bennett Field in Southeast Brooklyn, but it was farther from Manhattan than Newark. La Guardia offered police escorts (!) to airport car services to try to make the service work.

  • Ultimately the new Queens–Midtown Tunnel made expanding North Beach Airport a better option. The entire project was completed in just two years.

In some sense the question of whether Newark is a New York airport has been settled this month by IATA, the International Air Transport Association, which now treats the “NYC” code for airports as meaning New York JFK or LaGuardia – and no longer JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. Newark is no longer a New York “co-terminal.”

That’s really about airfares – fares are now filed separately for travel to and from “New York” and travel to and from “Newark.” So what does this change? For the most part… very little, except you may see airlines serving both New York JFK and Newark with fares that are different between the airports, since they’re now more distinct markets. American Airlines has an internal explainer for its employees:

United Airlines has re-started their ad campaign on New York City taxis highlighting the time it takes to get to Newark versus JFK airport from a given spot in Manhattan. From parts of the city it is a faster transfer!

At the end of the day Newark is unquestionably a New York City airport if you’re literal about Staten Island being part of New York City, but what United Airlines learned when it pulled out of New York JFK was that it lost corporate accounts on the West Coast because those companies didn’t want to fly to Newark.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Will this changes searches including “NYC”? Will those still search all three New York airports?

  2. If you’re coming from Eastern Queens, Brooklyn, or Long Island, EWR might as well be in Tumbuktu.

  3. Seriously Daniel? A) Go and try it, and B) OF COURSE IT WILL! That’s the whole point of those codes!

  4. As long as you don’t have to use the Air Train, EWR is fine. But if the Air Train is part of your route to the airport, you’re playing Russian roulette with your travel plans.

  5. Overkill not intended, but Let’s be clear on the subject of New York City – it has 5 boroughs, one of which is Staten Island, even if Manhattan is usually thought of as The City. As a former Staten Islander, I used to go into the City to work. I don’t miss Staten Island but I do miss New Jersey (especially the Shore).

  6. What’s with the rudeness by Fred? Travel search engines operate differently and may, or may not, include EWR in NYC after this change by IATA.

    IMO — EWR being outside the state it purports to serve is not unique. IAD is in Virginia yet unabashedly marketed as a Washington, D.C. airport. CVG (Cincinnati) is in Covington, K.Y.

    Searches for WAS typically include BWI in Maryland.

  7. Just did a TAP search for NYC-Lisbon and got EWR as their takeoff point. So I guess there is still some vagueness here. And that’s okay, I would have missed Newark is they had cut it out of the definition for “New York”. Incidentally, I once did a bus and subway travel from JFK to 80th and York (Manhattan’s east side for those not familiar with it, and this included walking 7 blocks at the end) in 83 minutes. That might compare favorably with some of the taxi times. It sure was cheaper too.

  8. No new yorker even thought EWR was a new york airport.
    Why anyone would have flown in/out of there is beyond me
    Its not cheaper and its a hassle to get to and from ewr to nyc

  9. The rudeness is because he was a lazy POS. What you tried was the way to do it. It works today. It’ll take time to filter through the systems.

  10. @Zeke I completely disagree (at least for brooklyn). My trip to JFK and Newark take exactly the same amount of time (30 mins if very early/late or 1hr + in rush hour).

    Long Island people dont want to go to Newark and New Jersey people don’t want to go to JFK. From most parts of Manhattan or South Brooklyn its a wash.

  11. @gary – what is the motivation behind this change?
    On first impressions, it seems unlikely to benefit passengers, so somebody must have been lobbying to make this happen

  12. New Jersey/Newark want to be recognized for being in a different market although this makes little sense. The NY football teams play in NJ.

  13. I prefer JFK because it has the easiest access to public transport – the E Train to Jamaica and transfer to the Air Train – than EWR or LGA.

    EWR involves dealing with NJT schedules and the awful, slow, cramped, stuffy/hot, obsolete, monorail. If I could take the PATH directly to EWR that might change my opinion.

  14. @MAK “EWR involves dealing with the awful, slow, cramped, stuffy/hot, obsolete,”
    You’re pretty much describing the typical NY’er.

  15. In a taxi, Newark is usually closer to Manhattan than JFK. Kennedy is a freaking hike. Of course it depends on tons of variables like traffic, where specifically you’re starting from, etc. But usually I can get from Manhattan to Newark in 30-45 minutes whereas JFK is usually 50-70 minutes.

  16. New Yorkers whi actually travel always thought of EWR as a nyc airport. I did!! I use it more than LGA and JFK. Matter of fact I rarely ever go to JFK. There are way more flight options at Newark

  17. If one is in say Brooklyn, Newark has a bunch of negatives. By car, there are several costly tolls to drive to Newark. None to JFK. By Taxi, most will want to charge a surcharge for leaving the state. I much prefer going to JFK whenever possible.

  18. @Fred – I asked because I didn’t know. And I can’t just try it because the change may not have been implemented yet. Show some grace dude.

  19. Saying NJ isn’t part of NY is such a dumb, pedantic thing. NY means the metro area, not the state.

  20. In case no one has heard, traveling between Manhattan’s East Side to/from JFK has just gotten a whole lot easier, faster and cheaper, thanks to LIRR service between Grand Central Terminal and Jamaica Station, where the AirTrain whisks you to JFK’s terminals. I’ve done it, and it’s fantastic!

  21. EWR is 8 minutes from NYC! It is absolutely positively a NYC airport as I fricken work there and even tho NYers prefer LGA or JFK sometimes you have to eat crow and digest this is nothing but a pricing scheme by the sovereign nation called Port Authority.

  22. Taking the train from NYC, you shouldn’t deal with the AirTrain. You can take an Uber for $14 from Newark Penn or Newark Broad train station directly to to your EWR terminal, and there are trains from NYC Penn to 1 of those stations every few minutes (much more frequently than trains stopping at the EWR AirTrain station). It’s not even that much more money, because the 2mph AirTrain costs $8.25 each way, and is MUCH slower/less reliable. A slightly more costly option… you can also hop on a $3 bus from Port Authority that stops in Weehawken NJ alongside I-495, just outside the Lincoln Tunnel (every 2 minutes) and Uber from there. An $80 Uber ride drops to $25, with not much loss of time. In fact, during rush hour this saves time vs Ubering the whole way because the buses from Port Authority avoid the traffic getting into the tunnel.

  23. In the days of hand-written airline tickets, ARUNK (Arrival-Unknown). had to appear on itineraries in big bold letters between connecting flights from different airports like JFK-LGA. It meant that passengers were at the mercy of road traffic if connecting times were short! Good luck from EWR to JFK during rush hour.

  24. I agree with Fiorello La Guardia, I just wish airlines would stop using metro market airports as an alternate destination when a flight is cancelled and they want to reroute you.
    A little offtopic since it’s not NYC, but getting rerouted from Worcester regional (ORH) to Logan (BOS) because they both count as Boston couldn’t be more annoying because you’re stuck with an hour Uber ride or a 2 hour train ride and they’re over 50 miles apart.

  25. I wonder if Jinxed_K knows that these reroutings are just extra options. You can insist on flying to your original destination airport. You may be waiting several more hours or even days for the next available seat, but the airline will accommodate.

  26. @ Daniel and Fred if you read the passage it says that the EWR code will no longer work with the NYC search. However it didn’t give a date to when it will stop working. So if you took a time to read it then you and Fred would not be going back and forth over this.

  27. @UA GS
    Will airlines reimburse for any additional cost if you’re rerouted to a different airport in the metro market? The agent I worked with at JFK said no, but wondering if I should have pursued it any further. Don’t think it was a force majeure event, but I don’t have the details of the cancellation.
    ie: the $60 uber fare and $200 hotel fee for staying overnight and taking the reroute to BOS home the next morning since flights to ORH weren’t available for the next 3 days.

  28. Living on the west side of lower Manhattan makes EWR my Airport of choice. I am often home within less than an hour from touchdown mid day and get there reliably within 30-50mins depending on travel.

  29. Well technically it isn’t as it’s not in New York City or even in New York State! However many airports aren’t in the major city they are named after and in the case of Newark it’s a lot nearer New York City than Buffalo which is in New York State!

  30. LaGuardia airport is the worst flying experience I’ve had returning from las Vegas.

  31. What a stupid change. I’m from the SF Bay Area and SFO isn’t in San Francisco. People flying into Newark are flying there for New York and it’s metro area, myself included in the past. If this change soley effects price listings, then that’s a detriment to the customer.
    Anyone looking to fly into the area is going to be looking at pricing for all three airports.

Comments are closed.