Travel to and From New Haven

A map of the  Connecticut, New York and New Jersey region, with airports marked on the map with pins.

A few of the airports near New Haven: from north to south, Bradley, White Plains / Meadowlands, LaGuardia, and Newark

Two days ago I took my usual trip from New Haven, CT to Fort Wayne, IN. While in the airport, I realized that some of you from outside of the New England area might be wondering about the best way to get to Yale by plane. So today, I’m taking a break from writing about fun topics to give you a summary of how different transportation routes work and how much they cost.

While at first it may seem like the best way to get to New Haven is to get a flight to an airport Connecticut, this is not quite the case. Most flights out of the New Haven Aiport are too pricey and almost always involve a connecting flight. My freshman year, I mainly booked flights to Bradley International Airport near Hartford, CT. The drive from Hartford to New Haven is only about 45 minutes, and most students who fly Bradley book their shuttle to New Haven through Connecticut Limo.

The downside of this route is, quite frankly, Connecticut Limo. Shuttle rides cost about $40-50 dollars, and their customer service is notoriously poor. Connecticut Limo dispatches vehicles based on how many rides are requested that day: you could be taking your trip in anything from a van to a charter-style bus. Shuttles during popular travel times from Yale also tend to be overbooked—I distinctly recall one bus ride to Bradley at the end of winter break where I had to sit on my own suitcase in the middle of the isle since they ran out of seats. For a trip that already cost a dollar a minute, this lack of planning on CT Limo’s part was the last straw for me.

So the next year, I took a upperclassman’s advice and started looking to other airports in the area. If you’re looking for flights outside of Connecticut, the Metro North train line is your best friend. For $14 dollars, you can book a comfortable, air conditioned, two-hour train ride to Grand Central in New York City. For there, you can have bus or train access to LaGuardia and JFK Airports in NYC, or Newark Airport in New Jersey.

The disadvantage of this route is the time spent on the train– two hours is certainly a bump up from the 45 minutes from New Haven to Bradley. Furthermore, an additional bus or train is required to get to the airport. An independent shuttle company called the NY Airport Service offers $12 bus rides to LaGuardia and $15 rides to JFK from Grand Central. Both rides take around 30-45 minutes. A quick shuttle to nearby Penn Station offers a $12.50 train ride to Elizabethtown, NJ which takes about 25 minutes and includes the price of a shuttle to the Newark airport.

So at an average price of $27, the savings might not seem to justify the extra time spent on the train and the bus when compared to traveling to Bradley. However, I personally love taking the train down to Grand Central at the beginning or the end of the semester. It’s a comfortable ride, and it’s easy to pick up some light reading to pass the time or get lost in your thoughts as you stare out the window at the passing New England scenery. In my trip two days ago, I happened to book a flight on the same day as my suitemate Justin, so he and I camped out one of the cozier seats on the train and had debates on a whole range of topics, from Wikileaks to nutrition to the future of the American economy. I then shared a bus ride to LaGuardia with my friend Steve. Since he lives off campus now, we had a great time catching up on his interests in comparative literature and film and life off campus, and we even managed to share a lunch at the LaGuardia food court before our flights. In short, I’d rather take a relaxing two hour train ride with my friends than ride a packed CT Limo bus.

To seal the deal, I’ve discovered an update to my LaGuardia route that saves even more money—if you get of the Metro North train at 125th Street , one stop before Grand Central, there’s a public bus called the M60 that takes you straight to LaGuardia in 45 minutes. The ticket price? $2. So a grand total of $16 can get you to LaGuardia. This is the route I’ll be taking from now on, and I’ll be enjoying my Metro North train rides at the end of my semesters for the foreseeable future.