Having chosen the cheapest flight to Beijing on a budget airline, I landed in Beijing Capital International Airport in the middle of the night. At that time, I had two options. Either spend 100 RMB on a taxi ride to the hostel or stay in the airport until 6 a.m. which is the time when the Beijing Airport Express opens and I can take a train to the city for 25 RMB.
I decided on the second option to spend the night in the airport to save some money. Even if I took the cab, I don’t think I would be able to check into the hostel anyway.
If you have watched Tom Hanks in The Terminal, you may remember this scene where he moved the chairs in the airport to form a makeshift bed. In reality, this isn’t a practical approach because you wouldn’t want to do anything that give the security officers an opportunity to chase you out of the airport.
If Singapore Changi Airport is considered a 5-star airport, I would rate Beijing Capital International Airport as a 3-star airport. Sure, you won’t find the beautifully themed decorations and high tech equipment, but the airport is more than adequate to serve its purpose.
Apparently I was not the only person willing to stay in the airport to wait for the first Airport Express train to start.
In a small airport, I’m surprised to find a police buggy in the airport.
It’s also amazing how the local Chinese can sleep in the airport. The chairs have fixed arms that are really low but yet the locals manage to squeeze their bodies in between the arms and the seats to take a nap.
I was not sleepy so I walked around the airport to see what else was there to see. After grabbing a drink and a snack, I found this machine along the walkway. What happens is that by slotting my passport into the machine for scanning, it prints out a receipt with a wi-fi password to get free wi-fi access in the Airport. Sweet!
Guest what I tried to access once I got my wi-fi access? Facebook. And yes, I forgot there’s no access to Facebook behind the great firewall of China.
Soon it was 6 p.m. and the Beijing Airport Express has commenced its service. I bought my ticket for the ride and proceed to the first train in the station.
I find that the Airport Express train is quite similar to the Airport Express train in Hong Kong. Quite comfortable and spacious, no complains here.
Overall, I’m happy that the airport provides free wi-fi access. However, I don’t think I would book another red eye flight to Beijing and stay in the airport till morning again because there’s nothing much to do.