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Leaving from JFK v. ATL

Flying to Milan. The best options are to connect from either JFK or Atlanta from our home. The layover is about the same, 3.5 hours. Is one better than the other? Right now Atlanta is about $60 less per person.

Posted by
7605 posts

Well, if you are in Indiana, Atlanta takes you much further south and off the normal northward route (I.e. you would spend time flying south to then have to fly north again). For that reason, I would pick JFK.

Posted by
2719 posts

If you don’t have to change terminals, I’d choose JFK (formerly IDL).

Posted by
6871 posts

You didn't say what your total flight time would be between the JFK and ATL connections, only the layover time. I would consider total flight time, including the time you arrive in Milan. I assume that having more time on your first day "on the ground" in Italy is worth something and should factor in your calculation.

They are both busy airports (the busiest in the US in terms of passenger traffic), and a $60 per person savings is still a savings (I assume you'll actually save more than $120 assuming you're going with more than 1 person - that's a few really nice dinners and more spending money on your vacation). I wouldn't pay a premium to connect through JFK because it's still a miserable airport and not worth paying extra for.

Posted by
6871 posts

With a $240 savings, for me it would be a no-brainer...I'd rather spend that money in Italy, not on travel to Italy. I've been through Atlanta and JFK and liked Atlanta better, but both are huge and can be intimidating. The layover time is quite comfortable, so you shouldn't have any issues.

Posted by
2196 posts

Like Agnes, I like departing from ATL. Heading to Milan you will almost certainly depart from ATL's Concourse E or F, the two international terminals. All terminals (A - F and T) are easily accessible via the Sky Train or by simply hiking between the gates. When we lived in Atlanta, we'd often walk out to Concourses E and F from the South Terminal when traveling internationally. To me, the layout of the ATL concourses - in a linear fashion - is much easier to navigate than JFK. And with a 3.5-hour layover, that's a leisurely connection at ATL!

If you're flying Delta, there are plenty of Delta Sky Club Lounges at the ATL airport; if you belong to Priority Pass, The Club ATL is located in Concourse F. (Or for a "local taste," you could try The Varsity that's located in Terminal F).

Posted by
3662 posts

They are both busy airports (the busiest in the US in terms of passenger traffic)

No, JFK is not so busy (13th).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_busiest_airports_in_the_United_States#Busiest_U.S._airports_by_total_passenger_traffic_(2020)

Unless you mean international passenger traffic, in which case Atlanta is not so busy (7th).

https://www.statista.com/statistics/639826/leading-airports-united-states-for-international-air-passenger-traffic/

Posted by
861 posts

I just went to take a look at the return flights. I’m just not going to book right now. Coming back From Rome, there is a 90 minute layover at JFK. That’s the cheapest and it won’t work. The next cheapest is 4 hour layover at ATL, then 3 hour in JFK then home. Um, no thank you. The only good was has a $2,000+ price tag PP. way too much.

Posted by
3186 posts

If you can, to thru ATL. My husband fiies from JFK because business is much cheaper from there, but I'd much rather fly premium economy from ATL and meet him there. In addition to possibly having to walk outside to another terminal, I always get pulled out of security line at JFK for additional screening including removing my shoes. That does not happen at ATL or Charlotte, and I have Trusted Traveler.

Posted by
201 posts

I’ve used both airports extensively. For outbound international flights both airports experiences were the same. For an inbound flight my return/transfer experiences have been stellar at JFK. I avoid ATL for return transiting. It usually takes me the better part of an hour or more to make the transfer including re-entry, customs, and luggage recheck for an onward domestic flight not including the time needed to get to my connecting gate. That being said, ATL is my favorite airport in the world to use for domestic transfers. It is incredibly easy for me to get around ATL. The price of the ticket usually dictates.

Note: if you have to change terminals at JFK then you may need to clear TSA at that terminal. For ATL you remain on the secure side at all times.