It’s not cheap, and you have to get to the Howard Beach station first. But it is a fast connection, and the easiest way into Manhattan when the A train is out of service.
This could be an interim solution, to be used in emergency situations: extend the Rockaway Park shuttle to Howard Beach, and allow riders to connect to the AirTrain for a reduced fare. Making this happen requires very little other than the cooperation of the MTA and the Port Authority. What do you say, Governor Cuomo?