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How to use public transportation to get into the city from U.S. and international airports

How to use public transportation to get into the city from U.S. and international airports
Public transportation can be an efficient and cost-effective way to get from an airport into downtown. (Emiliano Ponzi / For The Times)

Flying into an unfamiliar airport can be a headache, and if you don’t know the public transportation ropes, you could end up in a cab or using a ride share, which can be budget trouble. Here are efficient and cost-effective ways to get from major U.S. and international airports into their city.

Domestic

Atlanta

From Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, take MARTA’s Red or Gold lines for $2.50 to downtown locations such as Peachtree Center and Civic Center.

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Boston

From Boston Logan International Airport, take the Silver Line 1 bus from any terminal to South Station in downtown Boston. It takes about 15 minutes, and it’s free. For $2.25, you can take the Blue Line subway from the airport station to downtown in about 10 minutes. Both are operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Chicago

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is about 45 minutes away from downtown by train.
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is about 45 minutes away from downtown by train. (aoldman / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

From O’Hare International Airport, take Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line, which runs 24 hours a day. The ride to the Chicago Loop, or downtown, takes about 45 minutes and costs $5.

From Midway International Airport, take the Orange Line downtown. It takes 25 to 30 minutes to get to the Loop and costs $2.50.

Info: Fly Chicago

Dallas

From Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, take the Terminal Link Shuttle to Terminal A, then walk to DFW Airport Station and hop on the DART Orange Line. The ride to Akard Station in downtown Dallas takes about 53 minutes; a DART pass costs $3.

Info: Dart

Denver

From Denver International Airport, take the A Line to downtown Denver. It takes about 37 minutes and costs $9 ($10.50, starting in January). You'll arrive at Denver Union Station, where you can connect with local buses and a free downtown shuttle.

Info: Fly Denver

Honolulu

From the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, take TheBus (really, that’s the name) to downtown Honolulu on routes 9, 19, 20, 40, 42 or 51 or to Waikiki on routes 19, 20 or 42. The ride to downtown Honolulu is about 30 minutes, Waikiki takes about an hour. One-way adult fare is $2.75.

Info: Honolulu

Los Angeles

From Los Angeles International Airport, take a FlyAway bus to Union Station downtown, Hollywood, Long Beach, Van Nuys (including an Orange Line stop) and Westwood. It costs $8 to $10 one way. If you want to access L.A.’s Metro Rail system, fliers can take a short ride on a free G Shuttle to connect to the Green Line. (To do the reverse, you must have a TAP transit card.

Info: Fly LAX

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Miami

From Miami International Airport, take the MIA Mover, the free airport tram, to the Miami Intermodal Center. Then hop on the Metrorail Orange Line and ride to the Government Center stop in downtown Miami. The journey takes about 15 minutes and costs $2.25.

Newark, N.J.

From Newark Liberty International Airport, take the AirTrain ($5.50) to connect to New Jersey Transit trains to Penn Station in New York City. (Trains don’t run between 2 and 5 a.m.) It costs $13 and takes about half an hour.

New York City

New York's Kennedy Airport connects to the subway or trains into Manhattan.
New York's Kennedy Airport connects to the subway or trains into Manhattan. (Skyhobo / Getty Images)

From JFK International Airport, take the AirTrain to connect with the A or E train or the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station, where you can connect to Manhattan destinations. The subway takes 50 to 75 minutes for $7.75. The Long Island Rail Road will get you to Penn Station in 35 minutes for a maximum of $15. Costs include the $5 AirTrain fee.

Info: JFK Airport

From LaGuardia Airport, take the Q70 bus to connect to the 7, E, F, M, R subway lines at 74 St./Roosevelt Ave. to Manhattan. Also, the M60 bus takes you to the city, stopping at various subway lines. It costs $2.75 plus $1 for a MetroCard.

Oakland

From Oakland International Airport, head to the BART station across from the Terminal 1 baggage area. Take the BART train to Coliseum Station (several lines go there) and transfer to a Richmond-bound train to get to 12th Street in downtown Oakland. It costs $8.15 to $8.65 and takes about half an hour, depending on connections.

Info: Bart

Phoenix

From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, take the free Sky Train that runs every three to five minutes around the clock to the 44th Street/Washington Street Valley Metro Rail station. Then take the westbound train into downtown, which takes about 15 minutes and costs $2.

Info: Valley Metro

Portland, Ore.

From Portland International Airport, take theTriMet MAX Red Line to downtown. It takes about 38 minutes and costs $2.50.

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San Francisco

From San Francisco International Airport, take the free AirTrain to the BART station. A one-way ride to the downtown Civic Center stop costs less than $10 and takes about 25 minutes. BART urges out-of-town visitors to avoid ticket lines by buying an online $21 BART voucher in advance. It’s good for a round-trip ride between the airport and any stop in the city or the East Bay. Redeem the voucher at the International Terminal G information booth just outside the airport’s BART station and be on your way.

Info: Bart SFO

Seattle

From Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, or Sea-Tac, the Link light rail will get you to downtown Seattle’s Westlake Station in 38 minutes. One-way adult fare costs $2.25 to $3.25, depending on your destination.

Washington, D.C., area

From Dulles International Airport, take the Silver Line Express Bus to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, which costs $5 and takes 15 minutes. Then take the Silver Line to your destination in D.C. Vending machines sell a SmarTrip card for $10, with $8 in fares included in the cost, which will get you to the downtown McPherson Square stop in about 40 minutes.

Info: Fly Dulles

Reagan National Airport is closer to downtown Washington, D.C., than Dulles airport is.
Reagan National Airport is closer to downtown Washington, D.C., than Dulles airport is. (martince2 / Getty Images)

From Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which is much closer to the city than Dulles, take an Airport Shuttle from Terminal 1 or walk from terminals 2 and 3 to Metrorail’s Airport Station. A trip on the Blue or Yellow lines to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station in downtown D.C. costs $1.85 to $3.60, depending on the time of day, and takes about 13 minutes. Vending machines sell a SmarTrip card for $10, with $8 in fares included.

International

Amsterdam

From Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, take either the Sprinter train or the Intercity train to the city’s Central Station. Each ride takes about 15 minutes. Fares vary slightly depending on the time of day or number of stops, but expect to spend about $5 one way.

Athens

From Athens International Airport, take the Metro Line 3, or the Blue Line, to Syntagma station in the city center. The ride takes about 40 minutes and costs $11.69. You could also take the 24-hour Bus X95 to Syntagma for $7.01, but the ride takes about an hour and 10 minutes.

Info: Stasy

Bangkok, Thailand

From Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the Airport Rail Link City Line to Phaya Thai station in central Bangkok for $1.35. The trip takes about 26 minutes.

Buenos Aires

From Buenos Aires Airport, you can take the City Bus on Line 8 to Plaza de Mayo in the city center for less than $1, according to study-abroad organization Mente Argentina. The trip takes two hours.

Ireland

From Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland, take the Expressway Route X51 bus to Limerick Bus Station, which takes half an hour and costs $9.37. If your travels take you to Dublin, from the Limerick Colbert railway station take the train to Dublin Heuston, which takes about two hours. Tickets from $15.22.

Istanbul,Turkey

From Istanbul Ataturk Airport, use Havabus to get to Taksim Square in the city center. The trip takes about 40 minutes and costs about $2.45.

Info: Havabus

London

From Heathrow Airport, the Heathrow Express train will get you to Paddington Station in 15 minutes for up to about $33. For a cheaper option, ride the Tube on the Piccadilly Line. The subway runs every 10 minutes and can be caught at terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5. It costs less than $8 and takes 50 minutes to an hour.

Info: Heathrow

From Gatwick Airport, the Gatwick Express gets you to Victoria Station in 30 minutes for about $22. Southern and Thameslink trains take a few minutes longer to get to central London. Fares vary based on the time of day and number of stops, but expect to spend a minimum of $15 for a ticket.

Manila

There are no direct public transportation options from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport to popular destinations Malate and Makati, according to Lonely Planet. Fortunately, taxis are cheap and can get you to the city center in about 20 minutes for $4 to $5.

Mexico City

From Mexico City International Airport, take Metrobus on Line 4 to the historic center. The ride takes 35 to 40 minutes and costs less than $2. You may have trouble on public transportation if you’re traveling with a lot of luggage. If so, it’s a good idea to book and pay $13 to $15 for an authorized taxi sitio at the airport to get to your destination.

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Paris

From Charles de Gaulle Airport, the RER B train stops at several centrally located stations in Paris such as Gare du Nord and Châtelet Les Halles. The journey to the city center takes about 30 to 40 minutes; a one-way ticket costs about $13.

Rome

From Fiumicino International Airport, take the nonstop Leonardo Express train, which runs every 15 to 30 minutes between 6:23 a.m. and 11:23 p.m. to Termini Station in the city center. It takes about 32 minutes and costs about $16.

Info: Trenitalia

Singapore

From Changi Airport, take a 10-minute MRT train to Tanah Merah station, where you’ll hop on the Green Line to go west toward downtown. The ride to Raffles Place takes about 30 minutes. The journey costs $2.77.

Sydney, Australia

From Kingsford Smith International Airport, take the train on the T8 Airport Link for a 15-minute ride to Central Station. You can buy a single-use ticket, but it’s cheapest to buy an Opal card and load it with the trip fare for about $13.

Tokyo

From Haneda Airport, officially Tokyo International Airport, take the express train on the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa Station on the JR Yamanote Line, the train that circles the city. It costs about $3.60 and takes about a half-hour.

Narita International Airport is farther from Tokyo but has convenient Narita Express trains that will take you directly into Tokyo Station and other locations starting at $27, depending on your destination. The Skyliner electric rail service runs from the airport to the Ginza shopping district for about $12. Both require advance seat reservations.

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