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When I was booking my flights to and from South America the cheapest option for my return flight to the UK from Lima involved a 13 hour wait at Newark Liberty International Airport and I thought- great I can head out into New York City for a few hours on my Newark layover.
However after doing some research I started to worry about what I would do with my bags at Newark and whether I could even go through immigration and be allowed to leave Newark on a layover or would I be diverted to a connecting flight area. I also read some blogs and spoke to some people who said to get from Newark into New York City by train it would take 1.5 hours on Amtrak to Penn Station and it might take even longer so with a 10 hour laover I doubted I would be able to leave, or have time to leave!
I got my ESTA visa online before my flight to the USA which I needed to get anyway because I was connecting in the USA even if I wasn’t going to leave the airport but at least I had it incase I wanted to, one less thing to think about!
My first flight was with United Airlines flying from Lima, Peru. We arrived into Terminal C at Newark Airport. All the signs were directing me straight to immigration and baggage claim, there were no ‘transfer flight’ signs at all so I went through immigration very quickly (which was ncie considering how long immigration can take in the US) and went onto collect my bag.
My next flight which was with Lufthansa Airlines was from Terminal B in Newark Airport, I expected that I would have to go over there myself from Termincal C and beg them to check my bag in (10 hours early) because I’d read there were no luggage storage at Newark Airport.
To my delight, I walked straight out of baggage claim in Terminal C to see a sign saying ‘drop off for connecting luggage’.. .just what i wanted!
Two very friendly guys scanned my luggage tag, confirmed it needed to go onto Munich, took it off my back and put it back on the turnstile. They also confirmed that my next flight would be from Terminal B and I replied my asking ‘so until then I can leave the airport?’ and he replied with the best answer ‘yeah of course, you wanna head into the city?’.. Umm yeah!!
Note – your experience could be different depending on which terminal you land in but it does seem like it’s easy and possible to leave Newark on an international layover.
All of worries of wondering how to get from Newark Airport to New York City were gone because he told me to get on the big yellow bus we could see parked outside and said this was the fastest and cheapest way to get from Newark Airport into Manhattan. There was no need to deal with Amtrak Trains.
When I was there this bus from Newark Airport to Manhatten was leaving the airport every 15-20 minutes. It took 45 minutes to reach Central Manhattan and a return ticket from Newark Airport to Manhatten cost me $29.00 USD.
The bus has 3 stops in Manhatten and picks you up from all 3 places just as regularly so it’s just as easy to get a bus from Manhatten to Newark Airport.
I couldn’t believe how easy the whole process was!
I ended up being in Manhattan for 6 hours on my layover which was amazing! I visited Times Square and Central Park and although I was so tired and so cold (I forgot to get another jumper out of my bag before it was re-checked in as I was so excited!) it was brilliant!
To get from Manhatten to Newark Airport I jumped back on the bus at one of stops, got off at Terminal B and because my bag was already checked in and I already had my boarding pass from when I checked in in Lima I went straight through security and waited until my flight. Super Easy!
The only down side is that the Lufthansa gates at Newark Airport have very limited entertainment, restaurants which is worth noting if you fly from there. It’s better to spend more time in Manhatten on this layover in Newark Airport!