Flying To and From Beijing

Beijing Capital Airport (北京首都国际机场)

The busiest airport in China is located about 20km north-east of Beijing’s city center. The ultra-modern Terminal 3 opened in March 2008 and is now where many foreign airlines (mainly Star Alliance and One World Airlines), as well as Air China and Shanghai Airlines, depart from. While the older terminals are nothing special, the new terminal features an amazing design and is well-equipped with facilities. Beijing Airport did have a terrible reputation for flight delays. The new terminal should improve the situation.

Terminal 3 is separated from Terminals 1 & 2 by a fair distance (at least a fair distance by road), so it’s best to double check which terminal your flight leaves from. A free bus currently runs between Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 & 2, for those who need to make a transfer or who go to the wrong terminal by mistake.

Beijing Capital Airport Website: http://en.bcia.com.cn

Transport to and from Beijing Capital Airport

By Subway: A 27km rail link from Beijing Airport to the city center was opened in July 2008, in time for the Beijing Olympic Games. The train starts/terminates at Dongzhimen station (interchange with Line 2, 13) at the north-east of the Second Ring Road and stops once at Sanyuan Qiao station (interchange with Line 10) at the north-east of the Third Ring Road before making stops at both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital Airport. Note that the route is a loop: Dongzhimen – Sanyuan Qiao – Terminal 3 – Terminal 2 – Sanyuan Qiao – Dongzhimen.

A one-way journey costs ¥25 and takes about 18 minutes from Dongzhimen to Terminal 3 and 25 minutes to Terminal 2. Trains leave roughly every 15 minutes. The first train departs Dongzhimen at 6am while the last departs at 10:30pm. From Terminal 3, the first train leaves at 6:21am and the last train of the day departs at 10:51pm.

By Bus: There are five bus lines that travel from Capital Airport to Beijing. There are staff who will help you choose which one to take if you can’t work it out yourself. Tickets on all buses cost ¥16. The most useful lines are as follows:

Line 2: Capital Airport – Xidan Civil Aviation Mansion. Stops at Sanyuan Qiao, Dongzhimen (can change to the subway here) and Dongsishitiao Qiao (can change to the subway here). From the airport the bus runs from 7am until the last flight. From the city the bus runs from 5:30am-9pm. The bus from the city does not stop at Dongsishitiao Qiao. Buses run every 15 minutes.

Line 3: Capital Airport – Beijing Railway Station. Stops at Yuyang Hotel, Dongdaqiao, Chaoyangmen (can change to the subway here) and Yabaolu. From the airport the bus runs from 7:30am until the last flight arrives. From the city buses depart from 5:30am – 9pm. Buses from the city follow a different route and can be caught either at the railway station or 50m east of Dongzhimen subway station on Dongzhimenwai Dajie. Buses run every 15 minutes.

See the Beijing Airport website for other routes.

By Taxi: Beijing Capital Airport has a very well organized taxi rank which is manned by attendants. Queues can be quite long in the late evenings, but during the day there is hardly any queue at all. A taxi to the center costs around ¥80, plus a ¥10 highway toll which should be added to the final fare shown on the meter.