If you’re visiting Hong Kong with your family, you’ll probably stay somewhere in the city. (Check out fellow TDAD Sheeraj’s experience with his family). While you can accomplish this in a variety of ways, I highly recommend you take the Airport Express from Hong Kong Airport. My last trip to Hong Kong, flights thankfully paid for with American Airlines miles, confirmed my opinion that it supercedes all other options into the city.
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Why you should take the Airport Express from Hong Kong Airport
The first, best reason to take the Airport Express? A taxi (or hired car if you roll like that) is your only other viable option. If you’re traveling with your kids, you likely don’t want to deal with the stress of a bus. A taxi can be a good option, we’ve done it for convenience’s sake. However, we did it at 5:30 in the morning, before rush hour. If you want to get to Hong Kong Island by car in the middle of the day you risk a very slow and painful ride. A taxi will put you out about $400-$500 Hong Kong Dollars ($50-$60 USD).
For convenience sake, the Airport Express trumps all other options. It takes you into Kowloon in 24 minutes, Hong Kong Island (Central) in about 30. It costs $100 per person ($12.50 USD). Not cheap, but many Hong Kong hotels have free shuttles from the Airport Express stations in town so that will save you some money. I tend to take a taxi from the Airport Express stations, though, since those free shuttles can get a little crazy!
Airport Express gets even better for your return trip. Many airlines (and likely the ones you use to fly back to the US) offer in-town check in. That means you can get your boarding passes and check your bags in the city and not worry about dragging them to the airport. This makes life so much easier, especially for my family as we drag along two kids under five. In-town check in doesn’t cost any extra and the lines are shorter to boot.
How to take the Airport Express from Hong Kong Airport
Getting to the Airport Express is fairly straightforward. Either take a taxi, free shuttle bus (if your hotel offers), or MTR to Kowloon or Hong Kong Station.
Finding the Airport Express at the airport couldn’t be easier. Follow the signs, buy a ticket at one of the kiosks (its electronic and you use it to tap out when you exit), then wait for the train. Trains depart at 10 or 12 minute intervals depending on the time of day. If you have an Octopus card, which I again recommend, it’s even easier, just make sure you have at least $100HKD left on there.
The Airport Express offers luggage carts at both ends of the trip, which makes life convenient (although you don’t have to walk that far). I’ve never had trouble finding seats or space for my carry on luggage on the train either, though expect more luggage into town since people won’t have it checked in.
Like I said above, in-town check in makes life super easy. You need your ticket or Octopus card to tap in to get into the check in area, though you aren’t charged at that point if I’m not mistaken. Most airlines have a cut-off time for checking in in-town. Cathay Pacific, for example, allows you to check in up to 90 minutes before your flight.
I’ve walked through Hong Kong Station quite a few times outside of when I’ve used the Airport Express. I can’t recall a single long line for in-town check in. Any lines I’ve witnessed definitely pale in comparison to lines at the airport. Check in your big bags and let them magically teleport to your home baggage claim!
Thanks to the power of miles and points earned through credit cards like these Travel Rewards Cards, my family and I got the chance to go back to Hong Kong for the second time in two years. Every time I take the Airport Express, I’m further and further convinced it’s the best way to get to and from Hong Kong Airport.
What’s your experience? Have you used the Airport Express, and did you find it as convenient as we did? Let us know in the comments!