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Who has connected through JFK for international to domestic?

I am researching flights for my next tour. I would be returning from Rome and connecting to a flight to Tampa. Delta has a flight from FCO to JFK that lands at 1:15pm on a Saturday. The connection time to the Tampa flight is 2h 35min. With carry on only and Global Entry/Mobile Pass is it doable?

Posted by
7762 posts

In 2018 I had an Edinburgh to JFK flight on Delta connecting to a flight to SLC. I allowed us 3h25m transit time and it was good. We had to change terminals and SIL was having some pain issues so walking slowly but we had enough time for a sit-down meal in the departure terminal before the next long flight. IF I had been on my own and able to walk quicker 3 would have been fine and perhaps 2:30 would have been fine - on that particular day.

editing to add: In looking back at my itinerary and notes I think that plane was late leaving Edinburgh and might have arrived a few minutes late as well so we had a little less than 3h25m.

Is there another flight to Tampa later in the day if this connection goes south? Is your flight from Rome on Alitalia or on another of Delta's codeshare partners? Others will have more experience but my gut feeling is that KLM runs more on time than Alitalia.

Our Edinburgh flight was on a Delta plane.

Posted by
3436 posts

I prefer to have a 4 hour connection time for any connection I make when returning from Europe.

My last flight from Rome through Washington DC was on time and had 3 hours between flights. I almost missed the connection because the TSA security check for the connection was total chaos due to too many other flight being delayed and all arriving at the same time (the airport does not have TSA Pre lanes for the international to domestic connections).

IF everything is exactly on time, your 2:35 connection time will work. The airline would not sell it otherwise (you are buying one ticket with both flights on it and not 2 separate tickets, right?). There may be a later flight that day if your fright from Rome is delayed, but there is no guarantee you will be put on that one if you miss the connection due to the delay. The only guarantee is you will be placed on the next flight with AVAILABLE seats. Might be the next flight, might be sometime next week.

Posted by
5010 posts

The question I would be asking myself is, if you miss that connection, when is the next Delta flight they could get you on (at least in theory) - there's no guarantee there would be an open seat for you, but if there are 2 or 3 more flights going to your destination departing later that day, that would look reasonably easy; if the next flight out to Tampa isn't until the following day, I'd think twice. Getting from JFK to Tampa has got to be fairly easy with multiple options, but I'd take a look at their schedule to see what your Plan B might look like. Probably easy but depends how late their departures go.

Posted by
2466 posts

Connecting for a Delta domestic flight after arriving on a Delta international flight is a real pain at Kennedy-the Airtrain doesn't even take you to the domestic terminal-it puts you out in the parking lot which would be very unpleasant if it were cold or rainy. Even with Global Entry, Security is a pain-they always pull me out for "random" screening and last time I had to take off my shoes. The only thing Global Entry gets you at Kennedy is a shorter line. In the future, I am going to refuse to fly home through Kennedy.

Posted by
361 posts

The specific issue with Delta at JFK is that Delta (unlike basically all other airlines at JFK) operates out of two terminals at JFK, terminals 4 and 2.

Your international flight will definitely arrive at terminal 4, because terminal 2 is not equipped with immigration and customs facilities for arriving international passengers.

However, flights to Tampa from JFK depart from both terminals 2 and 4 (today two left out of T4 and one left out of T2), and unfortunately it is not possible to predict with 100% accuracy which terminal your flight will depart from. If you have to go to T2, it's a schlep, will add a bit more time, and as cala says, the AirTrain leaves you outside.

(You can look at past flight results to see which terminal the flight typically departs from, but there's no guarantee -- I took a Delta flight in October that had departed from T4 every day the week before and every day the week after; my flight that day was from T2.)

Posted by
2076 posts

Hi Lori,

Several years ago we flew from Rome on Delta with a connecting flight at JFK to Seattle. The connection time was 3 hours. We spent 3+ hours in line. When I asked an agent if this was usual his response was "it's like this 24/7." We did finally get through and barely made our plane departure. When at all possible we try to find a route that is non-stop to SeaTac. Unfortunately some routes are not possible.

Posted by
3144 posts

If you are flying all Delta, YOU WON'T NEED THE AIRTRAIN. So let's start with that.

You will arrive at Terminal 4 and there is a 50% chance your TPA flight will depart from Terminal 4. There is also a 50% chance it will depart from Terminal 2. There is a Jitney between Terminal 4 and Terminal 2 airside so you don't have to waste time on the Airtrain.

That all said.....I think 2 hours, 35 minutes could be pushing it if your inbound from FCO is late. Take the later flight to TPA.

Connecting for a Delta domestic flight after arriving on a Delta
international flight is a real pain at Kennedy-the Airtrain doesn't
even take you to the domestic terminal-it puts you out in the parking
lot which would be very unpleasant if it were cold or rainy.

First, both Terminals 2 and 4 have domestic departures -- not just one terminal. Second, the Airtrain goes to all terminals at JFK. There is no Airtrain whose destination is a parking lot. One can either go to Jamaica rail station or the Howard Beach subway station. Both of those Airtrains stop at Federal Circle, in the middle of both routes, that has parking and car rentals. There is also a terminal-only Airtrain that keeps going in a circle only to the terminals. If you were on an Airtrain that ended at Federal Circle, there must have been a problem at either Jamaica or Howard Beach and you also missed Terminal 2 or 4. Third, the pain of JFK is having a layover in which you are FORCED to take the Airtrain if are arriving at one terminal and leaving from another that has no jitney. There is only jitney route and that is between Terminals 2 and 4. If other terminals are involved, then the Airtrain is a must. You will still won't end up at a parking lot! :-)

Posted by
7762 posts

I perhaps was just not being able to follow transit signs but on my Delta to Delta transit thru JFK I did have the same experience with being pointed to the AirTrain to the next terminal and being let off in a parking lot, then had to walk thru a parking garage (with others) to get to the terminal. Perhaps it's more evident to those who are familiar with this airport and perhaps the signage is just not good but yes, this is what happened to us as well. I nearly croaked when we wound up walking thru a parking structure because my SIL was in pain and I was afraid we were not going to wind up at a Terminal. I was very relieved when we got there.

Posted by
774 posts

As has been noted, there's a bus that goes between Terminal 2 (by gate C60) and both ends of Terminal 4 (which is a looong terminal. If you take the bus T2 to T4, you'll want to know what gate your flight in T4 is departing from so you can take the bus that's going to whichever end is closer to your gate.) You stay airside the whole time. Delta has a map on their website.

To the OP--if flights are on time, you'll be fine. If they are aren't, as others have noted have a contingency plan (which is always a good idea, regardless of connection time. Stuff happens.)

Posted by
2044 posts

The connection time to the Tampa flight is 2h 35min. With carry on
only and Global Entry/Mobile Pass is it doable?

The connection is doable, but it doesn't leave much room for error. If you absolutely must be back the same day, I would recommend booking a longer connection time, just to be safe. Having said that, a friend and I did a 90-minute international connection at JFK in May, going from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 -- one of us took the AirTrain and the other the Delta Jitney just for kicks. We both had Global Entry/TSA Precheck and no checked bags. We arrived at the Terminal 2 gate well before boarding time for our connecting flight.

Posted by
2466 posts

Continental, thanks for the info about the Jitney-I didn't know about it. For both trips I made through Kennedy this Fall, my Atlanta flight was in Terminal 2.

Posted by
2044 posts

@Continental... I think the posters who mention the parking lot are talking about the AirTrain stop for Terminal 2 being at the front of the Green Parking Garage, whose shared elevator/stairs travelers must take to reach the ground level where there is some surface parking. Then, travelers have to cross the street to enter Terminal 2.

Posted by
533 posts

I had a Delta international to domestic connection at JFK last year with a layover time of 2 hours 50 minutes. I don't have Global Entry or anything else. I was worried about making the connection, especially when my first flight was delayed in taking off, but I made it with more than an hour to spare. For one thing, Delta builds a lot of padding into their schedules, so that even though the international flight took off almost an hour late, it landed exactly on time. (The connecting domestic flight took off on time and landed 40 minutes early.) For another, passport control was very efficient and there was almost no wait (although this might be a day to day thing.) The biggest time suck was in going through security to reenter the terminal - lots of jet-lagged people who had all forgotten to empty their water bottles.

Posted by
8715 posts

I would give it a try.

When you arrive at Terminal 4 at JFK, Global Entry should get you through immigration quickly. Then go back through security in Terminal 4. If your plane departs Terminal 4 you just have to go to your gate. If it departs from Terminal 2 get the shuttle bus. Do not waste time with the Airtrain.

Another reason to go through security at Terminal 4 is that TSA Precheck isn't always available at Terminal 2.

Posted by
3144 posts

I perhaps was just not being able to follow transit signs but on my
Delta to Delta transit thru JFK I did have the same experience with
being pointed to the AirTrain to the next terminal and being let off
in a parking lot, then had to walk thru a parking garage (with others)
to get to the terminal. Perhaps it's more evident to those who are
familiar with this airport and perhaps the signage is just not good
but yes, this is what happened to us as well. I nearly croaked when we
wound up walking thru a parking structure because my SIL was in pain
and I was afraid we were not going to wind up at a Terminal. I was
very relieved when we got there.

Pam, that someone directed you to the Airtrain is bonkers or just plain ignorant. What a pain! As for signage to the jitney, there could be more, no doubt. Next time, reach out to me. :-)

As has been noted, there's a bus that goes between Terminal 2 (by gate
C60) and both ends of Terminal 4 (which is a looong terminal. If you
take the bus T2 to T4, you'll want to know what gate your flight in T4
is departing from so you can take the bus that's going to whichever
end is closer to your gate.) You stay airside the whole time. Delta
has a map on their website.

Yup, that's the Jitney. The gates once assigned are on the many departure boards as well as on the Delta app so that certainly helps. T4 is one of the long ones so that Jitney can quite useful even going from one gate in T4 to the other.

Having said that, a friend and I did a 90-minute international
connection at JFK in May, going from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 -- one
of us took the AirTrain and the other the Delta Jitney just for kicks.
We both had Global Entry/TSA Precheck and no checked bags. We arrived
at the Terminal 2 gate well before boarding time for our connecting
flight.

What a crazy idea! On that particular day, which route was faster and how much faster -- taking the Airtrain landside or the Jitney airside?

@Continental... I think the posters who mention the parking lot are
talking about the AirTrain stop for Terminal 2 being at the front of
the Green Parking Garage, whose shared elevator/stairs travelers must
take to reach the ground level where there is some surface parking.
Then, travelers have to cross the street to enter Terminal 2.

Ahhhhhh. Got it. What a royal pain that is. I haven't been to Terminal 2 in ages so I didn't remember. All domestic flights I've taken are either at Terminal 4 at JFK or at La Guardia. The Airtrain stop at Terminal 4 is great as it drops you off inside the terminal so all you have to do is take the escalator to departures. My least favorite terminal is Terminal 5 (jetBlue) because the walk to the ticket area & security from the Airtrain is about a 10 minute walk when it's crowded.

Continental, thanks for the info about the Jitney-I didn't know about
it. For both trips I made through Kennedy this Fall, my Atlanta flight
was in Terminal 2.

You're welcome!

The biggest time suck was in going through security to reenter the
terminal - lots of jet-lagged people who had all forgotten to empty
their water bottles.

That's a pain in the neck. At least you made your flight.

When you arrive at Terminal 4 at JFK, Global Entry should get you
through immigration quickly. Then go back through security in Terminal
4. If your plane departs Terminal 4 you just have to go to your gate. If it departs from Terminal 2 get the shuttle bus. Do not waste time
with the Airtrain.

Another reason to go through security at Terminal 4 is that TSA
Precheck isn't always available at Terminal 2.

Excellent advice. Terminal 2 sounds like Terminal 5 with the Pre-Check lanes available only part-time.

Posted by
2044 posts

@Continental... The paths of my friend and I were a little different.

Me: Delta One (global upgrade certificate applied to my $625 round trip airfare before my friend decided to join me) --> Global Entry --> AirTrain --> TSA Precheck Terminal 2 --> Sky Club for 20 minutes --> Terminal 2 gate

Friend (no status with Delta): One of the front rows of Main Cabin section (not Economy Comfort) --> Global Entry --> Jitney --> Terminal 2 gate

Even with my Sky Club stop, I beat my friend to the gate, and both of us arrived at the gate before boarding started for our flight to Atlanta. I vaguely recall there was some sort of delay with the Jitney for him.

Another reason to go through security at Terminal 4 is that TSA
Precheck isn't always available at Terminal 2.

I'm 3 for 3 on having a TSA PreCheck lane at Terminal 2. I think it's open more consistently since CLEAR was added to that terminal a year or two ago.