Up to now, in order to get from central Beijing to the airport, passengers without a Yikatong public transit card had to buy their Airport Express Single Journey Ticket at Airport Express stations only — for central Beijing, this was restricted to the Airport Express parts of Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao. This is going to change, fortunately, on 01 July 2015.
Beginning that date, Beijing, Beijing South (Beijingnan) as well as Beijing West (Beijingxi) stations will also offer the Airport Express Single Journey Ticket for sale. This will be particularly good news for those who need a quick rail-to-air connection. (Passengers arriving at Beijing North (Beijingbei), Beijing East (Beijingdong) or Huangcun stations, or any other station around Beijing, will unfortunately not be able to benefit from this offer at the moment.)
They will, however, be available only at designated locations:
- Beijing Railway Station: Main ticket office at the station square — in other words, not at Exits A or B
- Beijing South Railway Station: Passenger Service Centre by Railway Exits 3, 5, and 7 — in other words, those by the eastern exits (for the Subway, these are the “B set” exits)
- Beijing West Railway Station: Dedicated ticket office by Railway South Exit 2 (for the Subway, these once again are the “B set” exits)
When you buy the Single Journey Ticket, you must also decide where you will transfer onto the Airport Express, as this will be pre-loaded onto the card and can usually not be changed. If your closest connection will be on Lines 2 or 13, this will be Dongzhimen; otherwise, if you will transfer from Line 10, this will be Sanyuanqiao.
Ticket sales will end early. These Airport Express dedicated counters will stop ticket sales at 21:00 every day. Tickets you have bought are only good for that very day for travel.
However, the advice to many is still to get a Beijing Yikatong transit card — and ensure you have enough available credit. This is the best way to skip the queues!