The first time was after landing on the red-eye from AZ and needed to get to a cousin in Far Rockaway. I took the Air Train to the Howard Beach subway stop and followed his directions to the station from where he picked me up. The helpful red-jacketed worker helped me fill my Metrocard with enough money and pointed me in the right direction.
My second time traveling the Air Train was to get to the airport. Since I had my big suitcase and carry-on, my lovely nephew (after assisting me to walk, with all the bags, cross-town from Grand Central Station) got me onto a LIRR train to Jamaica at Penn Station. At Jamaica I successfully followed directions to the Air Train and arrived at JFK International Airport without any problems.
Here are some pictures: