How to make the Hong Kong Airport Express worth it

As Frugal Fliers, we usually stick to public transit leaving the airport. Unfortunately, many cities offer tourist transportation options to airports that are more expensive than traditional methods (such as the AirTrain in Newark and JFK, Chicago’s Blue Line when leaving O’Hare or Heathrow Express to name a few).
Plenty of open seats on this train

Hong Kong’s MTR offers the Airport Express. At HK$110, it’s more money than the bus system or other MTR trains, so we approached it with a skeptic eye. However, they offer several amenities that make it worthwhile and a big time saver versus the bus.

For us, we used the Airport Express only when arriving in Hong Kong, since we used the Cotai Water Jet from Macau for our departing flight.

Here’s how to save money:

MTR fares can usually only be loaded to Octopus with cash. The exception is at the Airport Express counter when leaving customs and the vending machines just prior to boarding the Airport Express, which all take credit cards.

When traveling with two or more people, ask for a group ticket at the Airport Express counter. For the two of us, this brought the fare down to $85 per person. Groups of four pay as little as $70 per person.

A helpful display shows when you're getting close
Research the free Airport Express Shuttle Bus Service. There are five free routes from Kowloon and four free routes from Hong Kong Station that connect to nearby hotels. You don’t have to be staying at the hotel to get off there, so check if your hotel might be near a hotel with a stop. Ours was on the list and the minibus dropped us across the street. Pro tip: Try not to lollygag too much after getting off the train. Shuttles depart about five minutes after each train and we almost missed our shuttle because we struck up a conversation with a local man who was recommending attractions.

The ease and efficiency of the service made it worth the few extra dollars that we would have saved had we taken a lengthy bus ride.

For those of you using the service to the airport, consider the added benefits of:
On board a shuttle bus to our hotel
  • Free MTR connections when using the same Octopus card to continue on.
  • Free in-town check-in. This allows you to drop off your luggage and check in for your flight at the Airport Express station up to a day before your flight. This leaves you free to explore on your final day without dragging luggage all over town.
  • As an added bonus, if you used a taxi (fare of HK$40 or more with receipt) the same day you’re heading to the airport, there’s a 50% discount on Airport Express fares. You may find it hard to use this discount if you’re checking in early, but some may find it worthwhile.
How to make the Hong Kong Airport Express worth it How to make the Hong Kong Airport Express worth it Reviewed by Brandon on July 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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