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10 airports with quick and easy access to the city

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When it comes to getting passengers to and from their flights, these 10 airports realized they needed more than good signage and moving walkways — they thought bigger. Each one has a transit solution that allows people to move back and forth with ease to a city they’ve travelled a long way to see.

1. Amsterdam Schiphol, Netherlands
The beautiful thing about Schiphol airport, besides the fact that it’s the home base for Dutch megalith airline KLM, is that there is a regularly serviced train station right underneath it. Once you arrive, all you (and the 40 million other passengers who visit Schiphol each year) have to do is head down the gently sloping moving walkway to catch a train into the city — or to any other city in the Netherlands and beyond, for that matter.

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2. Incheon International Airport, South Korea
As the world’s eighth busiest airport, Seoul’s air-traffic hub saw 49 million passengers pass through its gates in 2015 (it’s also the world’s forth busiest airport for cargo traffic). With that many people rushing around, having a fast, reliable transit service is a must so they built a ultra-fast maglev train connecting the airport to the city’s subway system at Yongyu Station — it leaves every 15 minutes and is free. 

Photo Credit: Minseong Kim via Wikimedia Commons

3. Moss Airport Rygge, Norway

As Norway’s first and only high-speed train, you’d expect the Flytoget Airport Express Train at Moss Airport Rygge to get you where you want to go quickly — and you wouldn’t be disappointed. Departing every 10 minutes, the journey to downtown Oslo, which would take about 60 minutes by bus, takes less than half an hour. You can buy your ticket right in the airport for about $30 and be in the city centre in no time (well, 19-22-minutes time to be exact).

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4. Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada
After a few growing pains, Toronto’s UP Express is finally picking up speed. The train service that links Toronto Pearson International Airport to Union Station (and Toronto’s subway and Canada’s train network) is comfortable, convenient and now only costs $12 for a one-way ticket to the heart of downtown (down from its initial $27.50 price tag). Complimentary Wi-Fi and specially designed racks for roller bags all add up to an enjoyable 25-minute ride.

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5. Zurich Airport, Switzerland
There is something about getting off a plane and being able to board fast, reliable public transit right there at the airport that makes you think, “This city knows what’s up!” Well, Zurich, we’re looking at you — and are very pleased. The Glattbrugg tram service (Number 12) runs from the airport to the downtown Stettbach station every 15 minutes and costs less than $5.

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6. Changi Airport, Singapore 
Options are always appreciated and Changi Airport has plenty when it comes to ways to getting around. There are public bus stops in the basements of Terminals 1, 2 and 3; the 36/36A bus (around $3) arrives at 6 am and keeps going until midnight, taking its hour-long journey into the city. Conveniently, there are also electric trains (MRT) at Terminal 2 and 3, which hook into the city’s public system and are much faster (but can get a little crowded).

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7. Portland International Airport, Oregon
Not only is Portland fast becoming one of the hottest destinations on the west coast, but it’s also got one of the best airport-to-downtown transit solutions in the U.S. The MAX light-rail train waits for passengers right outside the front doors at Arrivals and is designed so you can roll your bags straight on — no heaving necessary. It costs only US $2.50 for a 40-minute ride to the city centre, so it would be silly not to use it.

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8. Heathrow Airport, England
Being able to zip from London’s Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station in just 15 minutes means even a three-hour layover could turn into a fun turn around London Town. The Heathrow Express is London’s latest airport-to-city train service and while it costs a pretty penny — £35 return — it’s well worth it to see a few sights in between flights.

Photo Credit: Richard Sharrocks/iStock

9. Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden
Super punctual and speedy, you’d expect no less from a Swedish train service and that’s exactly what you get with the Arlanda Express, zooming you from Arlanda’s Arrivals to Stockholm’s city centre in 20 minutes, traversing the 40-km journey in style. It’s not cheap — about $35 for one way — but it’s Sweden, so you just do what you have to do.

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10. Hong Kong International, Hong Kong
Every 10 minutes the Airport Express makes its short journey (24 minutes) from Hong Kong International to Hong Kong Station. There are a few stops along the way (such as the transfer to Disneyland Resort) but it’s the most convenient way to get downtown. Your c. $30 fare will also get you a free shuttle service to your hotel and a 24-hour bag check at their two stations.

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Whether one of these city airports is your final destination or just a quick layover, take advantage of these their top-notch transit systems to get out and explore the world…one airport at a time. Happy trails!

Tune into CBC for amazing airport stories Fridays 8:30/9NT on Hello Goodbye.