Compared to the mess that was Shanghai, Beijing was a snap getting in and out of while not nearly as pretty and modern as some of the other main airports in China like the modern newer airports in Xiamen, Xian or Lhasa. The passport control was busy and the customs are through, but they process you in a reasonable amount of time. The airport had everything that you would expect, except for one very notable flaw; there is no train into the city, which is unfortunate. They do a have a expressway that goes straight into Beijing from the airport, so the cheapest way to get to Beijing, if you are a single, is to take the bus, the problem with this is that you have no idea where they are dropping you off, so you are at the mercy of the taxis from there and they are quite mercenarily in the pricing if they know you don’t know the lay of the land. The terminus for the airport bus into Tiananmen Square was at the Raffles Hotel, so they charged us as much to go 2 miles as we paid to 30 KM from the airport to Tiananmen Square 30 Yuan. The Taxis were quite expensive compared to other parts of China, at over 100 Yuan for the 20 minute trip., the cost was right around 100 Yuan with a foreign exchange rate of 7.66 to the US dollar works out to around $13.00
As would be expected the largest presence at the airport is the national carrier Air China, as Beijing only has one airport, the regional carriers are all here as well, such as Xiamen Air, Southern China Air, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and Sichuan or SCAL as they are abbreviated. Beijing is serviced by all the big airlines as well from the west, like JAL United, American Cathy Pacific and many other international flights flying in and out of Beijing Central Airport.
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