Beijing Capital International Airport three terminals are connected via a free airport shuttle bus service that goes in between at 10 minute intervals and it is available 24/7, plus there is also an automated tram service that goes between Terminal 3C to Terminal 3E (Both domestic and international travelers check in at T3C and international flights are handled in T3E. You also get to the baggage claim via the automated tram from terminal 3 E to 3 C on arrival.
Terminal 1 of the Beijing Capital International Airport is the 2nd largest Airport in the World at present after terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport but is the most busiest Airport in the World. Terminal 1 is the main International Gateway to Beijing (also has some domestic flights) since 2008 and has a 986,000 square meter area and inside are the international check in counters, various duty free shops, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and airline lounges. It also has free airport wifi and It features a main passenger terminal (Terminal 3C), two satellite concourses (Terminal 3D and Terminal 3E) and five floors above ground and two underground. It is the main hub of the State Airline, Air China and a major hub of China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines. Is has an automatic tram that connects Terminal 3C and Terminal 3E (and also to the baggage claim area if arriving). It is connected to Terminal 2 and 3 via a free airport shuttle bus and has a Beijing Subway Stop and an Airport Express Bus service to Beijing.
It is located 32 kilometers south of Beijing at Chaoyang District
the old Terminal 1 is servicing domestic routes and is where most of the local chinese airlines (some also have domestic flights at Terminal 2) have their domestic flights to and from Beijing to the rest of China, It was built in 1980 and currently has 16 airplane gates and has a 60,000 square meter area. Inside are various shops and restaurant and the domestic counters. It is connected to Terminal 2 and 3 via an airport shuttle bus. It is the main hub of China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Grand China Air, Deer Air, China Eastern Air and Tianjin Airlines domestic routes. Terminal 1 is located at Chaoyang District, about 32 kilometers south of Beijing Downtown.
It also has free airport wifi. It lies a 15 minutes walk to terminal 2 (or via the free shuttle bus)
The Airport expressway that takes you from beijing downtown to the Beijing Capital International Airport in 40 minutes was made in 2004 and it provides easy access to the private and public vehicles going to and from the Airport to Beijing (you can also ride the Beijing Subway to and from the Beijing Capital International Airport terminal 2 and 3) of which it has 3 lanes on both directions and there is a fixed toll of 5 RMB for light vehicles going to the airport (the other way is free). It is connected to Beijing via the 3rd Ring Road.
When you take an international flight to Beijing, many flights arrive in the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) at the new Terminal 3 (T3).
After passport control, before collecting your luggage, you have to take the connecting
monorail to the T3C station, the center of the huge Terminal 3, and that is where the luggage arrives at.
If you arrive in Beijing from an international destination, and have a connecting domestic flight, look at your ticket closely to make sure which terminal the international flight arrives at and which terminal the domestic flight leaves from.
If you arrive at Terminal 3 (T3) of the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) and have to transfer to Terminal 1 or 2, take the shuttle bus which leaves every 10-15 min from a bus stop on the street just outside the T3 arrivals hall.
Terminal 1 is about 20 minutes' bus ride from Terminal 3, out to a main public highway and then an exit to Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is adjacent to Terminal 1.
Make sure to allow sufficient time to make this transfer!
The official BCIA website below lists the terminals for all airlines.
The cheap way to get into the city from the airport (till the subway extension is available in 2008) is to take one of the airport shuttle buses. There are 5 services, going to different parts of the city.
All you need to do is to hop out at the terminal stop and then connect via subway or public buses to the place you wish to go.
The 1-way fare is 16RMB (circa Jun 2007). Look out for exits 11 and 13 at the Arrival Hall and pay the fare at the ticket desk. Upon that, proceed to the right bus and take your seat. (Free seating). The bus will leave once the bus is filled up.
Journey into the city is about 30 minutes, baring no traffic jams or accidents along the Highway.
Beijing Capital is today the busiest airport in the People's Republic of China. The airport is the main hub of Air China and China Xinhua Airlines. It is located to the northeast of the central districts, 26 km from the city centre. Most people use taxicabs to reach town from the airport. Get your travel agent to get you the Chinese name of your hotel so that you can let your taxi driver read where you want to go. A taxi from the airport should cost between 70 - 120 RMB. You will have to pay the fee shown on the meter (make sure the driver uses it) plus 10 RMB toll for the airport expressway. Don't leave Beijing on the May Day holiday, it took me nearly 3 hours to reach the airport.
It sits a bit of a ways outside of Beijing, but is still close enough to serve the city. Figure a fifteen minute ride by cab from the airport to the city, factor another 10 to 15 to get to the city center.
The airport iteslf has two terminals, with a third one scheduled to open a year before the Olympics in 2008.
Getting around inside the airport is remarkably easy, and there is enough English writing to make sure foreigners don't get lost. Plenty of shops fill up the modern terminal 2, as do dining and ticketing centers.
Just a warning for first time travelers though. Getting into Beijing is easy, getting out is going to cost you. As with most airports in Asia, you must pay a tax to leave. Be sure to save some money to pay your way out. The airport will have more information about the current tax rate, but it was a lot more than I expected on my first trip back in 2001. Keep $50 on you (in Yuan) at the airport, and you should be able to make it through alright, with some dough to spare.
Getting the layover in Beijing for six hours was a tough assignment. I could have gotten a VISA for China and go into town or stay in the Terminal 3 that is huge by all standards. I opted to save $120, the cost of the VISA and stayed in the Terminal that is so large and should have many shops and restaurants. My six hour stay in the terminal 3 was in Mid March...it was freezing and I just came from the tropics, so I had shorts on. It was cold. There was plenty of duty free shopping as I past the time away 1 hour and then decide to use the free internet. I was tired though and cold, so I decided to treat myself to food. I thought for a big airport that they would have more variety and chain store but no...most are local and not well run....the food look horrid and over priced...I tried it anyway and threw away ten dollars for a bowl of noodles and a beer. The national beer , Tsingtao was cheaper than a cup of coffee or tea. (weird) Anyway the restaurants were open air meaning it was cold also. The only other place was a Pizza Hut that just open but doesn't serve pizza at ten in the morning, Basically there was not much to do at the huge complex and I had three hours to go, but it was cold with the marble floors and I just couldn't sleep eventhough there were many empty seats to make a bed.
The Beijing airport is big, with excellent conditions. We use the taxi to go to the city, because it was late and did not know the locate of the hotel. Not expensive and becomes more comfortable.
However, our driver spoke no English, did not know where was the hotel and the phone number was wrong. It was a mess, so I recommend that you always have on hand the hotel phone to communicate with each other in Chinese.
The way back was in a bus, that makes the transfer between the airport and city and has determined collection points. More economical, comfortable and just a short walk.
The most convenient way to reach city center from airport or vice versa is by taxi if you are a couple or 3 people. Taxi will cost about 100 Yuan including highway toll. The taxi stand is easy to find on airport terminal exit. If you have too many luggages, you may need to take some inside the car since some taxis may have narrow trunks.