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When arriving at JFK (or any US airport) on an international flight that didn't have pre-clearance, I know that you have to clear immigration, collect your bags, clear customs, re-drop bags, change terminals by AirTrain if needed, and then go through security, no matter what terminals are involved.

I also know that when you fly into JFK on a domestic or pre-cleared flight, and your onward flight is from that same terminal, you just step off your domestic flight into the departures area and walk to your onward gate, without needing to do security again.

At some other big US airports I've been to before (eg DFW), there is an airside transfer train that lets you move between terminals, so you can go from gate to gate without needing to exit + re-clear security. However, at JFK the only transfer train I'm aware of is AirTrain, which is landside.

Is it possible to move between terminals at JFK from within the airside / departures area? Or is the only option when changing between domestic flights at different terminals to exit, take the air-train, then queue up and re-clear security?

  • It depends on who you are :). For VVIP's, the airlines have special transfer services that are pre-arranged. Delta operates an airside bus between it's T2 and T4 for everyone. – Johns-305 Dec 21 '16 at 17:36
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No. The only way to get from one terminal to another is to exit the terminal and take the air train or a shuttle bus.

A possible exception to this is for Delta, which operates in Terminals 2 and 4. They apparently have a bus that connects the airside areas of these terminals. See the map here: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/airports-and-aircraft/airports/new-york-jfk.html

Indications are that this bus will disappear at some point, presumably when construction of a direct link between the two areas has been completed.

  • Even between Terminals 2 and 3? On the map those two at least look joined? – Gagravarr Apr 29 '15 at 16:36
  • Ah, I must have been looking at an old map then! However... Your link says that there is a Delta gate-to-gate bus between T2 and T4? – Gagravarr Apr 29 '15 at 16:44
  • @Gagravarr perhaps there is. I live in New York, so I don't generally transfer in JFK. I don't think I've ever done it. All I know is that if you arrive for the wrong terminal you have a problem -- I don't believe they let you pass security in one terminal and then take the bus to the other. – phoog Apr 29 '15 at 16:46
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    TSA will not usually care so long as you present a boarding pass from an airline served from that terminal. If you are on a DL flight out of T2, you will probably be allowed to screen at T4. Gate changes happen all the time— but also, TSA training seems to emphasize just matching names and ID. A couple of years ago I was waved through even though I was at entirely the wrong airport (BWI instead of IAD)! Elsewhere it is the airline staff that is picky: a US Airways agent was insistent on inspecting BPs at the shuttle to Terminal E at PHL, as if anyone would ever go Terminal E willingly. – choster Apr 30 '15 at 14:29
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It really depends on the airport. At JFK I recently arrived in Terminal 2 on DL and had to transfer to an AF flight departing Terminal 1. I took the bus from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2, exited the airside and then had to re-clear security at Terminal 1 (a bit of an irritating experience given that there are limited TSA pre-check options at T1). My two hour connection time was whittled down to 30 minutes after the TSA line at T1.

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