Posted in Travel - Beijing

Airport Review: Beijing Capital International Airport – Terminal 3

I’m back!  Sorry for the lack of posts in the past few weeks but real life and work have taken over and put blogging in the back burner.  Anyway, in the past month I get to go to Hong Kong twice, Manila and Cagayan de Oro.  Jetsetter?  Nope.  Just for training and a wedding (not my own).   The airport of choice by my airline?  BCIA Terminal 3.

Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3 is one of the biggest airport in terms on land mass.  It’s the combined Terminal 1-5 of London Heathrow.  The terminal is divided into 4 main buildings: transport centre (parking, light rail and commercial), domestic terminal (T3-C), international terminal (T3-E) and VIP terminal (T3-D).  This terminal opened early this year after only 4 years of construction.  They want visitors attending the Olympics to be awed by the structure which is shaped like a dragon.  Several airlines have made this their home including Air China, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Emirates, Thai Airways, United Airlines, All Nippon Airways and some local airlines (More info here: http://en.bcia.com.cn/flight/infor080710.html).  Transport to and from the airport is plenty and you can choose either by bus (RMB16), airport express (RMB25) or taxi (RMB80+ including RMB 10 toll).

My opinion:  Terminal 3 looks and feels like Hong Kong International Airport and maybe because they have the same architect.  Immigration check is a breeze compared to the nightmare I had at Terminal 2 a few years ago.  Seats are plenty and comfy that you don’t need to fight for space.  Wifi is available at a cost which I still can’t figure how much let alone use.  Duty free shops and restaurants are few and far in between as you near the gate because most of them are near the train terminal exit and before the train terminal entrance.  There are more shops at the domestic terminal than the international terminal which is a shame.  All in all the shops are forgetful and pales in comparison against the shop at HK airport.  You have several options to choose from in going to and from the airport with the affordable airport express as the fastest during rush hour.

So, if you get stuck at Terminal 3, you could probably sleep on one of the seats, have a stroll with your loved one from one end to the other, get a massage or look at the shops at the main area.  It’s not a bad place for a long layover but I’ve yet to find an airport with a cinema or arcade or other recreational activities which make layovers bearable.

Happy flying!

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