Breeze Through: The World's Best Airport Transport Systems

Passengers at the terminal aboard the SNCF train

3.25min read

Published 28 December 2016


Getting to and from the airport is a major part of any business trip. While it might be second nature to hail a taxi, many cities are bolstering their public transport systems to get passengers to and from the airport quicker while cutting down on traffic congestion. While plenty of global destinations are getting onboard with transport to and from their terminals, these cities have it down pat ...

RER & TGV, Paris

Charles de Gaulle happens to be one of the world's busiest airports, transporting upward of 65 million passengers every year. With so many people flying in and out of its terminals, it only makes sense to have one of the world's best train networks in an out of the terminals as well.

There are dozens of TGV trains departing from Charles de Gaulle that provide direct service to cities across France and Belgium. So many in fact that many flights will code share with TGV trains to get passengers to their final destination with as little trouble as possible. If you're travelling to Paris though, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for the RER. It's the only train that goes into the city. Luckily there are local and express services departing regularly. And they'll only set you back approximately $12AUD.

Airport Express,  Hong Kong

Ranked as one of the most convenient door-to-door services in the world, the Airport Express service in Hong Kong is extremely convenient. Aside from offering express trains departing from the terminal every 12 minutes to both Kowloon and Hong Kong, there are a number of added services that make it especially useful for business travellers.

At both the Kowloon and Hong Kong stations, there are free shuttle services ready and waiting to whisky travellers to many of the main hotels. There are check-in ticket kiosks for major airlines available at both stations (to print boarding passes), and frequent train travellers will receive 200 Cathay Pacific (and DragonAir) Asia Miles for every four rides! A one-way ticket is approximately $18AUD, with Octopus cards available that cut that price nearly in half.

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NS, Amsterdam

Finding your bearings in any new destination can be difficult, but Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is making things a little bit easier with their comprehensive and convenient train system. A direct line to Amsterdam Central Station departs from the main arrival plaza. If you're travelling further afield, you can also easily book international tickets on services operated by Thalys, ICE International CityNightLine and Eurostar.

Trains to the city run every 10 minutes, making them one of the quickest and easiest way to get to the city. Depending how long you'll be in the city, you can cut your travel costs by springing for a three-day travel ticket that covers the Schiphol train and unlimited transport on Amsterdam's public transport network (GVB).

MAX, Portland

When it comes to public transport to and from major US cities, your options can be few and far between. However, Portland is paving the way in providing reliable, clean and friendly airport transport services that also happens to be extremely cheap!

A single trip ticket is just $3.50AUD, which will take you from Portland International to the city centre in approximately 40 minutes. There are also stops at Beaverton, Clackamas, Gresham, Hillsboro, Milwaukie and North/Northeast Portland. Generally trains run every 15 minutes, with tickets available for purchase at the stations (and via an app on your smartphone). They are valid for two and a half hours and will cover transport on all trains, buses and streetcars in the city.  

Beijing Airport Express, Beijing

With more than 11 million people calling Beijing home, it's easy to see how traffic congestion can be a problem. Getting to and from the airport can be a test in patience, particularly if you're running late. Enter the Beijing Airport Express train service.

Running from Terminal 2 and 3 of Capital Airport, this train provides express service to the downtown area. It's so express, there are just two stations, Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao. From here, it's easy to hop on the Beijing Subway to get you to your final destination. It takes approximately 30 minutes from the airport, with windows and booths readily available to purchase your ticket. A single trip runs around $5AUD.

UP Express, Toronto

Not only is the UP Express one of the world's newest airport transport systems (commencing in 2015) but it's also North America's first dedicated airport rail link. Services are available every 15 minutes and will get you from Pearson International Airport to Union Station in just 25 minutes.

Not only is the journey smooth and clean (thanks to new-generation Japanese trains), but passengers are treated to a number of little 'in-journey' extras. This includes complimentary WiFi onboard, generous legroom and a dedicated magazine for your reading pleasure. When the service debuted, fares were a bit steep, costing approximately $28AUD one way. Though, the rates have come down quite a bit since. A one way ticket from the airport to Union will cost around $12.50AUD.

CTA, Chicago O'Hare

When it comes to comprehensive transport systems, it's hard to be Chicago's CTA. As the USA's second largest public transport system, it well and truly covers the city and 35 of the surrounding suburbs. This all comes as good news for business travellers that want to get around sans rental car.

If you're travelling through O'Hare's domestic terminals, you'll find underground walkways to the train station. If you're travelling through the international terminal, there is a complimentary people mover available to the station. Services from O'Hare International to downtown Chicago will take 50 or so minutes, but services depart every five minutes and a ticket will only set you back $7AUD. Spring for a three-day pass at $28 and all of your transport through the city is taken care of!


Prices are approximate and correct at time of writing.

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