Can I Leave JFK Airport During A Layover?

Can I Leave JFK Airport during a Layover?

Booking a flight that includes a layover requires careful consideration of several factors. While nonstop flights are ideal, cost and distance may necessitate a stop on the route.

The layover may be lengthy. The length of your layover may cause you to wonder if you can exit the airport. read the full article on can I leave JFK airport during a layover?

Can I Leave JFK Airport During A Layover?

What Is A Layover?

Connecting airports are used when a trip requires more than one flight; the time spent there is either a layover or a stopover, depending on how long there is before the next departure.

According to William J. McGee, Senior Fellow for Aviation at the American Economic Liberties Project, standard layovers are frequently up to four hours on domestic flights and up to 24 hours on foreign flights, with the most extended layovers occurring at hub airports. 

Cities with few nonstop flights are typically small and rural with minimal passenger traffic, so the hub system makes it possible to connect to many places. The duration of a stopover generally is more fantastic than four hours.

When You Have A Layover, Are You Able To Exit The Airport?

Sure, that makes sense in theory. Whether or not to leave the airport during a layover is a difficult decision in practice. Though you won’t need a visa or customs clearance for domestic travel, you’ll still be leaving the airport and have no advantage when checking in for your return trip. Check-in and security screening is required. 

In addition, not all airports provide luggage storage, so it’s essential to find out in advance if you need to collect your bags between flights.

Depending on the airport and airline, you can check a backpack for your connecting flight and exit the terminal during your stopover.

When traveling internationally, you’ll need to consider visa and customs regulations. You may need to go through customs every time you leave and return to an airport in a different country. Even a visa may be necessary, which may need to be applied for and paid for in advance.

Again, we advise consumers to do their homework before booking flights because this varies by airport and airline.

Every time you leave the airport and return to it for the next part of your journey, you will be required to check in for your flight and pass through security.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has rules regarding layovers, but if you decide to leave the airport in the time between flights, you bear full responsibility for missing your departure. Although the airline might offer you a discount, they are not obligated to do so.

To Exit The Airport, How Long Does A Layover Need To Be?

Because layovers are flexible, you can leave the airport whenever possible, but McGee and other seasoned travelers usually don’t go for less than six hours. Indeed, airports are typically located in something different than exciting neighborhoods. The drawback is that you must factor in the time to go to your desired location and return to the airport. 

Even with the most dependable mode of transportation—urban trains—a trip to the heart of a city like Madrid still takes at least 30 minutes. Then there’s everything else you have planned, from attractions to restaurants to tours.

Things To Do While Waiting For Your Flight At JFK

1. Drink

While the Shake above Shack is recognized for having a wide selection of alcoholic beverages, including the occasional craft beer, the BRKLYN Beer Garden in Terminal 2 is another attractive option for passengers wishing to unwind before a long journey.

In the Beer Garden, customers can use iPads to place orders, browse the web, and play games. While the beer selection is impressive, passengers may want food elsewhere.

Passengers at Terminal 8 have praised the Vino Volo Wine Shop for its high-quality wines, delicious menu options, convenient charging stations, and speedy WiFi.

The third thing you should do is visit the airport’s lounge.

Get some much-needed rest during that long, dull layover. Lounges at JFK Airport are accessible to any passenger prepared to pay, unlike many other airports where only First and Business Class passengers are allowed inside.

The entrance fee to specific lounges covers food and drink; others include showers for post-drinking hygiene. Please see our airport guide to learn more about the lounges available at JFK.

2. Shop

Travelers looking to get some retail therapy have several options at JFK. Stores in Terminal 1 include Juicy Couture and Coach, while Terminal 2 is home to Best Buy, where travelers can stock up on electronics.

Passengers can shop at the Duty-Free shop, Guess, MAC, and Victoria’s Secret in Terminal 4 or catch up on their reading in Terminal 5’s New York Times Books. 

If you’re feeling down on your travels, don’t worry; the airport is stocked with flower shops, souvenir shops, newsstands, and Xpress Spas for some self-care.

Use the airport’s free WiFi to keep in touch with loved ones back home, check in on social media, or surf the web. Toys for toddlers can be found in an enclosed play area in Terminal, this is good news for parents. 

Although it may not seem like much at first glance, the bright and button-filled interactive playthings given here will keep kids entertained and provide their parents a much-needed rest.

3. Treat Yourself To Some Luxury In The Time Between Flights.

Relax and rejuvenate with a massage, manicure, or facial at XpresSpa. In Terminal 1, you’ll find them by Gates 3 and 6; in Terminal 4, you’ll find them by Gates A2 and B24 and in the Retail Hall West; and in Terminal 7, you’ll find them in the Retail Hall.

4. Sleep

Many other people will try to get some shut-eye in the same uncomfortable conditions as you. There is only a little seating available, especially considering the amount of arriving and departing passengers, and what there is consists mainly of metal seats without backs or arms.

Find a spot on the floor, and if it’s going to be cold and noisy, bring a sleeping mat, blankets, and earplugs. 

There are two sleep pods available in Terminal 5; however, each pod only allows you 20 minutes of sleep time per day.

A hotel room will cost you if you want a place to sleep with some privacy and a real bed. Terminal 5 is home to the airport’s only hotel. However, many more are just a short drive away, and many offer complimentary airport shuttle service.

Read Also: JFK Airport (Complete Guide 2023)


The immigration process does not need to be completed if you have a layover in the center of the United States while traveling from one end to the other.

So, if you have a domestic connection and want to leave the airport during your layover, you’ll have to go through security again to board your next flight.

However, that should be the longest line you encounter. We hope you liked the article Can I Leave JFK Airport during a Layover?

On the other hand, if you have a layover in a foreign nation, you will need to clear customs and immigration before leaving the airport.

William Anderson

William Anderson is a well-known business travel consultant and author, with extensive experience in the travel industry. He is an expert in the field, known for his vast knowledge of all aspects of business travel. More

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