How to use the Beijing Airport Express
The Airport Express Train (Beijing subway) offers the fastest way into downtown Beijing. The trip takes just half an hour, and there’s a train every 10 minutes (more often during peak hours). Carrying nearly 40,000 passengers each day, the Airport Express is also one of the world’s busiest trains!
Taking the Airport Express is easy. Just follow the signs in your terminal to the Airport Express Station. If you’ve arrived at Terminal 1 from a domestic flight, you’ll need to walk or take the free Cross Terminal Shuttle to Terminal 2. At the station, you can buy your ticket from the manned ticket office (cash only), or the ticket vending machines. For the vending machines, you’ll need small notes or coins, so it’s easier to use the ticket office. The ticket is 25 yuan, which is about four to five US dollars.
Pro Tip: Instead of buying a one-way ticket, buy your Beijing Transportation Smart Card (aka Yikatong) at the Airport Express ticket window. You will need to pay a 20 yuan deposit, and add about 50 to 100 yuan. Soon you will be able to use Yikatog on Apple pay. You can use this smart card throughout the city, for all Beijing public transit, taxis, public phones, and even to shop in some stores.
To board the train, insert your one-way ticket or swipe your Yikatong, and enter the waiting platform. Be sure to keep your ticket, as you’ll need it to exit the station!
For central Beijing, most visitors will get off the train at Dongzhimen station. If you bought a one-way Airport Express ticket, you’ll need to buy a new subway ticket if you transfer to another subway line. If you have funds on your Yikatong, you can use that to pay for your next subway ride.