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Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

Sentosa Island...
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Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

As an overseas visitor flying into NY, JFK Airport, could I pick up a phone (the hardware) and a pre-paid SIM card at JFK?

In short, how do I get a local (US) mobile number to avoid scary roaming charges?

Thank you,

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Queens, NY
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1. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

JFK airport is large and the terminals are not connected to each other. There is no easy way to get a pre-paid phone at JFK airport.

But just wait until you get into Manhattan! Go into any Duane Reade store - there are hundreds, every few blocks - and look behind the counter to pick up a Virgin Mobile, Net10 or TracFone prepaid phone for as little as $15. Many stores are open 24 hours, so don't worry if you get into town late.

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Pianoro...
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2. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

As I'm about to travel from Europe to the U.S. too (flying into JFK), I had the same question ...so thank jhwanderer for the tip

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Pianoro...
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3. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

As I'm about to travel from Europe to the U.S. too (flying into JFK), I had the same question ...so thank jhwanderer for the tip

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Helsinki, Finland
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4. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

I'm also having the same situation. I'm changing planes in JFK and there is plenty of time (but perhaps not enough to visit the city) so I'd like to get a card already from JFK. Is it possible?

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Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

I saw some Bestbuy self-service machines in the airport that sells a prepaid phone, but I remember they are quite expensive. It is better to get a prepaid card in town or most shopping malls where you can find an AT&T store and other operators.

I am reposting below some of my thoughts from another thread on this forum which I hope might helps!

If you have a GSM phone, you can get a Pay As You Go SIM card from AT&T which is what I have been using when travelling in the USA. You can either choose a 10cents per minute plan (for incoming and outgoing calls,), $2 daily unlimited voice & text plan, $25 per month plan (250minutes and unlimited text) or $50 per month plan (unlimited voice, text and data).

If you are not on an unlimited text messaging plan, it is advisable to buy a text messaging feature package which gives you 1000 msgs for $9.99 per month or 200 msfs for $4.99 per month. Otherwise each sent msg is 25c and received msg is 20c. You can buy this either online or at the AT&T shop after you have purchased and top up the card. Top up the minimum of $15 and use part of it to pay for the messaging package, unless you think you need to use more than $15 or longer than 30 days, as the card will expire and whatever unused balance are gone. $25 will get you a card that lasts for 90 days.

If you are going to be in the USA for a month or so, it is worth getting the $50 per month plan if you need to make a lot of calls and want to use internet. Note however that unlimited data access on this plan cannot be used with a smartphone stipulated by AT&T. iPhone needs a different type of SIM card so you probably won't be able to use data unless you buy a data package separately.

The unlimited plans also include free text messaging to over 100 countries, and you can also buy a $10 per month international calls feature package to get 250 minutes to landlines in 100+ countries. For details please refer to AT&T Pay As You Go website,

att.com/shop/wireless/plans/prepaidplans.html

I found that it was a lot cheaper than using a non-USA sim card and pay for the roaming charges.

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United States
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New York City, New...
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6. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

If you're not coming into NYC, rather than buying something pricey at the airport, yoube better off buying a SIM and/or phone online in advance. The airport is just not a good place to get a phone.

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London, United...
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7. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

Billy Z - Your post is factually incorrect. There is no different SIM needed for an iPhone, you just need to know how to set it up with the iPhone.

*shakes head*

M

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

Hi M,

from my understanding, iPhone 4 uses a microSIM, the normal SIM used in other phones won't fit unless you cut them smaller. this is well reported online.

*shakes hand*

Billy

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9. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

A quick check on AT&T store locator shows that they have a dealer in Terminal 4 JFK, you might be able to pick up something there.

Mineola, New York
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10. Re: Pre-paid phone at JFK Airport

For folks coming in JFK for the first time from foreign destinations, you are expecting more of an airport than you will find. JFK's Terminal 3 has been rated the worst terminal in the world by Frommers for good reason. All 3 NY airports are an embarrassment and you should not expect the incredible array of services and options you find at airports around the US or the world. Unless you are using the new Terminal 5 at JFK, don't expect much and heed the suggestions above and get it in the city.

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