Newark Airport (EWR): What you need to know

Flying into New York invariably means the possibility of making a stop at Newark Airport (EWR). Take a look at our comprehensive guide of how to make the most of the metro area’s oldest airport.

Read on for our survival guide of Newark Airport (EWR). Image credit: Filippo Bacci/iStock
Read on for our survival guide of Newark Airport. Image credit: Filippo Bacci

When it comes to traveling to the Big Apple, the choices are endless, not least when it comes to which airport you plan on flying into. Three main airports service the majority of NYC air travel: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International Airport. All three airports are dotted around Manhattan and see large volumes of passengers pass through their terminals each year. JFK sits about 13 miles (20km) southeast of NYC and is considered the busiest of the three airports, with 59 million passengers in 2017.

LaGuardia, northeast of NYC,  welcomed only 29 million passengers during the same time period, most of which were domestic travelers.

Newark Airport, also known as EWR, welcomed 43 million passengers in 2017 and sits about 15 miles (24km) west of NYC. While delays at the airport aren’t uncommon, there’s plenty to do and see at this 14th busiest airport in the United States.

Oldest metro airport

Newark opened in 1928 and was the metropolitan area’s first major airport. Since then, Newark airport terminals have gone through a number of upgrades, including major renovations of Terminal B and more recently, Terminal C.

A 2.7 billion USD redevelopment program is underway to replace Terminal A, the airport’s oldest terminal. The project, which will call the updated terminal ‘Terminal One’, broke ground in 2017 and is scheduled to open by 2022. It’s expected the terminal will accommodate double its current capacity and host a new parking garage and climate-controlled pedestrian bridge. Passengers can order and purchase restaurant items thanks to thousands of iPads set up across the airport.

The airport also hosts free, unlimited Wi-Fi across its three terminals.

Getting around Newark Airport

Staying in New York City and want to make sure you arrive at the airport in plenty of time? Or perhaps you’ve just arrived and don’t want to push through the throngs of people making their way into the city via the automated monorail? Why not book a reliable Blacklane airport transfer in NYC to pick you up and deliver you to your destination, relaxed and in style.

For those who want to venture further out, the automated monorail Airtrain Newark operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, providing connections to the Northeast Corridor, the North Jersey coastline, Philadelphia and further south.

It takes about four minutes to walk to Terminal A and B from the Newark terminal security checkpoint and up to 10 minutes to Terminal C, according to the airport’s website. You can also jump on the Airtrain Newark to get between terminals if need be.

Wine and dine

Sample some of the amazing food on offer from the recently renovated Terminal C at Newark Airport. Image credit: Anchiy/iStock
Sample some of the amazing food on offer from the recently renovated Terminal C. Image credit: Anchiy/iStock

Terminal C’s 120 million USD renovation in 2017 saw 55 world-class dining options sprout up, providing weary travelers with myriad options to choose from. The space was designed by architect David Rockwell, whose company Rockwell Group has been involved in the design of a number of high-end restaurants, including New York’s Nobu Downtown and Avra Madison.

Dining options at the top-notch restaurants were created with the help of a number of American and French chefs including Alex Guarnaschelli, who inspired options at Riviera, and Alain Ducasse, who was consulted in the development of Saison’s menu. Across the three terminals, you can sample some New York street food classics, think pizza or pastrami on rye, to restaurant options including croque madames, pan-roasted Atlantic salmon, steak frites, duck confit, and dim sum.

While the range of dining options is diverse, ordering is simple. Most restaurants have an iPad set up at each table for you to order from, a feature which has been met with some criticism online. While you wait for your meal to arrive, the iPad loads up a number of games to play or newspapers to read. There’s also the option to scan your boarding pass, so you can keep an eye on your flight. The iPads also feature a pay function, which has seen cashiers swapped for self-checkout kiosks across convenience stores and casual eateries.

Keen for a secret dining experience at Newark Airport? United Airlines runs an exclusive 36-seat dining space tucked away inside another restaurant, which is invitation-only. Classified is only for United guests and can’t be found by simply wandering through Terminal C. How guests are chosen to dine at the bright, airy establishment is still a bit of a mystery, but those lucky enough will receive an email prior to their flight, giving them directions on where to find the hidden location. If you didn’t receive an email, you can check to see if you make the list by logging in to the reservation page and using your MileagePlus number and last name.

If you’re feeling more inclined to a refreshing beverage, why not check out the offerings at Proof Whiskey Bar, with its tavern-inspired menu and range of international whiskeys. Or stop in at Oeno Wine Bar, with its immersive menu, featuring 64 wines offered by both glass and bottle. If you’re feeling slightly peckish, why not pair your wine with one of the small plates on offer.

Newark airport lounges

Relax in one of the Newark airport's lounges. Image credit: Damircudic/iStock
Relax in one of the airport’s lounges. Image credit: Damircudic/iStock

As EWR is one of United’s largest hubs, the airline has a number of airport lounges spread across Terminal 1 and 4 of the airport. In 2018, United swapped out its largest lounge at EWR in favor of its new Polaris Lounge, which hosts a 50-seat restaurant with table service, shower suites and day beds and more than 1000 outlets and USB ports.

There are several other international lounges within Newark Airport including Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge, located at Concourse A. Here, you can unwind in the cell-free area, where peace and quiet is paramount. The lounge also offers a range of refreshing drinks, from tea and coffee to wine and spirits. Those wanting to stay in touch with the latest news can read from a wide range of newspapers and popular magazines, or connect to the lounge Wi-Fi and access 7000 publications in 18 different languages. The Maple Leaf lounge also offers access to print and fax facilities. Open from 5 a.m. through to 8:30 p.m.

Virgin Atlantic guests can take some time out between transfers at the Clubhouse in Terminal B. Open about four hours before the departure time of the airline’s flights, there’s a range of dining options to try out, including a Clubhouse burger with house-made remoulade, chicken Milanese with wild rocket and lemon and caper sauce, or an artisan cheese board with pear chutney. Feel like a freshen up? Showers and luggage storage options are provided to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

British Airways Lounge can be found in Terminal B and is open daily between 3 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. The lounge offers a range of facilities, including a wide selection of food and drink options, workstations, Wi-Fi, and shower facilities.

The American Airlines Admirals Club is in Terminal A, near Gates 30-39, and is open Saturdays and Sundays from 5 a.m. through to 6:30 p.m. A range of morning and afternoon snack options are abundant here, including fresh fruit and healthy salad options alongside freshly brewed coffee. Staff are also on hand for any personal travel help you may need.

Airport hospitality company Art & Lounge recently opened their first lounge facility at EWR, which is located land side of Terminal B. Here you can hold a business meeting in one of the designer rooms, without the need to go through gate security.

Hotels near Newark Airport (EWR)

If you’re planning on staying for a few days, why not book a professional Blacklane car service for Newark Airport (EWR) to deliver you to some of the more elegant hotels the Big Apple has to offer.

About 40 minutes’ drive from the airport sits 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, a minimalist waterfront retreat that feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York’s teeming streets. With floor-to-ceiling windows, native greenery, and reclaimed materials, each space creates a seamless link to nature. POE Yoga, spa treatments, and craft cocktails are all available in-house, a nod to the laid-back luxury 1 Hotel is known for.

About the same distance away is a turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts building restored by French designer Jacques Garcia. The NoMad Hotel is an elegant, classic hotel, the perfect choice for those wanting to stay somewhere closer to the city.

Wash away your travels in a European-style bathroom, complete with a freestanding clawfoot bathtub, before taking advantage of its close proximity to Chelsea, Flatiron, Gramercy Park and Midtown.

For those happy to travel that little bit further, try The Mark on the corner of Madison Avenue and 77th Street; you’ll never look back. Choose from the in-room dining menu by Jean-Georges for something light, or book an appointment with hair and beauty expert Frédéric Fekkai before stepping out to experience all that New York City has to offer. The hotel also boasts the fastest hotel Wi-Fi speed available in the city.

If you find yourself on a stopover in Newark and can’t be bothered to trek it into Manhattan, here are a few good hotels near Newark Airport perfect to rest up in before the next leg of your flight.

Sitting next to the airport is DoubleTree, which offers a complimentary shuttle to Newark airport every 15 minutes’ so you don’t have to worry about missing your flight. The hotel offers a newly renovated pool as well as expansive meeting rooms and audio visual equipment in its business center. Didn’t travel light this time around? Why not store your excess luggage at the hotel reception and free yourself up to relax and unwind.

Stay close by at Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott, which also offers a shuttle service as well as a 24-hour fitness center to shake off any excess energy. Marble bathrooms, soundproof windows, and concierge lounge access are some of the perks at this redesigned hotel. Just 10 minutes from the airport is the Hilton Newark Penn Station hotel, an easy option with its king-sized bed and laundry service to feel refreshed for the next leg of your journey.


Amy Mitchell-Whittington

Amy is an Australian journalist living in Berlin. She covers a range of topics, with a special interest in tech and science.