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In May 2006 Delta Airlines became the second carrier—alongside Malév Hungarian Airlines—to offer nonstop service between the U.S. and Budapest, with flights from New York. These flights fill up very quickly during the summer, so book well in advance. Malév flies nonstop to Budapest from New York–JFK and well as from Toronto.
A wide variety of American and European airlines offer connecting service from North America, including Aer Lingus (through Dublin or Shannon), Air France (through Paris), Austrian Airlines (through Vienna), British Airways (through London Heathrow and Gatwick), Czech Airlines (through Prague), KLM in partnership with Northwest (through Amsterdam), LOT (through Warsaw), and Lufthansa (through Frankfurt, Berlin, or Munich).
Travel time to Budapest can vary greatly depending on whether or not you can get a nonstop flight. A nonstop flight from NYC to Budapest is approximately 9 hours. Most trips from the U.S. require a change at Frankfurt, London, Paris, Prague, Zurich, Amsterdam, or Vienna and can take up to 15 hours. Direct flights from London to Budapest take between 2 and 3 hours.
Ferihegy Repülőtér (BUD), by far Hungary's largest commercial airport, is 24 km (15 mi) southeast of downtown Budapest. All non-Hungarian airlines operate from Terminal 2B, Malév from Terminal 2A. The older part of the airport, Terminal 1, reopened in 2005 after thorough renovation and is the main terminal for low-cost airlines flying to European destinations.
Liszt Ferenc Airport (1/296–7000 customer service. www.bud.hu/english.)
Many hotels offer their guests car or minibus transportation to and from Ferihegy, but all of them—except the Hilton on Castle Hill—charge for the service. You should arrange for a pickup in advance. If you're taking a taxi, allow anywhere from 25 minutes during non-peak hours to an hour during rush hours (7 am–9 am from the airport, 4 pm–6 pm from the city).
Sadly, at this writing numerous taxis at the airport were grossly overcharging. If you must take a taxi, your best option is to call Főtaxi or Buda Taxi from a pay phone and order one. Főtaxi has a toll-free number, so you don't need to use a coin or phone card. Both companies are trustworthy and offer fixed rates from and to the airport; destinations in Pest cost around 4,000 HUF, in Buda at least 4,500 HUF. Always get a receipt.
Most travelers—locals and tourists alike—use the Airport Minibus, which provides convenient door-to-door service between the airport and any address in the city. To get to the airport, call to arrange a pickup at least 12 hours before your flight leaves. To get to the city, make arrangements at the Airport Minibus airport desk and wait nearby until the driver calls out your address; the wait is usually about 10 minutes. Service to or from either terminal costs 2,300 HUF per person; the discounted round-trip fare is 3,900 HUF. Credit cards (AE, MC, V) are accepted. Since it normally shuttles several people at once, remember to allow time for a few other pickups or drop-offs.
Airport Minibus (1/296–8555.)
Főtaxi (1/222–2222; 06–80/222–222 toll-free. www.fotaxi.hu.)
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