My Flight is Landing Where?

If it’s your first time visiting a foreign city, you may want to pay close attention to where that flight is actually landing. In some world capitals, even the main airport is a long hike from the center, especially Narita for Tokyo and Seoul’s shiny airport, which is more than an hour away by bus or train, in Inchon.

The big problem though is when your flight to, say, Paris isn’t going to the Paris airport. Last month Budget Travel magazine ran an article on where some of those budget European flights land and how long it’s going to take you to get to the city center from them.

For example, that Air Berlin, RyanAir, or EasyJet flight to London will actually land 32 miles away at Stansted. The train to Liverpool Street station takes 45 minutes and will cost you 21 pounds—about $33.

A Wizz Air flight to Munich is actually touching down in Memmingen, 63 miles away. It’ll cost you almost 30 euros to take the express bus to the city.

Going to Barcelona? The budget airlines flights marked as such actually go to Girona, which is 62 miles away. The 75-minute bus ride after you get your luggage will cost 12 euros.

Most of Latin America is not developed enough that this is an issue—budget airlines are a rarity outside of Brazil and Mexico. The big one to watch out for though is Mexico City. Many airlines (including Spirit and similar Aerobus) fly to Toluca instead, which is an hour outside the city on a good day with not much traffic. The public transportation options are very limited too even if your Spanish is good.

Sometimes this extra hike can be worth it if the fare is low enough after factoring in all the extra fees. Or if you’re on some kind of package tour where you’re all piling into a vehicle together, then no worries. Otherwise, you’ll need to run the numbers with a calculator to see if the savings add up.

Have you gotten an unwanted surprise when traveling to a foreign city?

  1. Alex

    When we flew from London to Paris with RyanAir. We actually flew from Stansted to Beauvais. Our transfers were twice as long as the actual flight, plus the extra money for the transfer.
    We now just pay the extra money for a flight actually landing in the destination that we want.

  2. Luke

    We flew to Memmingen from Dublin last year on RyanAir. After considering the cost of transit to Munich for 2 of us, we decided to book a rental car on the Ryan Air website. Getting the rental car for 4 days ( 90 Euro) ended up cheaper than the round trip fare for transit from Memmigen to Munich and allowed us the freedom to see a lot of a areas that we would not have had otherwise.

  3. Bhikehike

    A key congressional supporter proposed setting aside enough money to find hike and bike pilot projects across the nation with up to $75 million each.
    I live in Hamilton Ontario and this city gets a bad rap from the rest of Ontario. Most people associate it with the steel industry, smog, pollution, etc. It is actually quite beautiful. Thanks for sharing your visit.
    Good luck on the Triple Crown Rick! I have yet to complete it myself, but I will be hitting up Akamai Pass this weekend. Hey Rick, sounds like you need to hang out with these 3

  4. Frequent Flyer

    What might be true for LON, MUN, BCN and MEX is not necessarily true for all low-cost carriers and cities like New York, Berlin or even Paris.

    In many cities even the largest international airports are fairly far from the downtown; so JFK did not seem to be closer than EWR to me, and getting into the downtown of Paris from CDG took almost 2 hours (and 6-8 Euros).

    On the other hand, while visiting Berlin we arrived to the low-cost Schonefeld airport (SXF) which is also pretty far of the downtown, but we made it in 45 min. for 2 Euros. :)

    However you got the point again, I guess there are some rules travelers should always follow, like “check the actual airport on the booking page before the payment is done”.

    • tim

      Newark and JFK are about the same really, depending on how well you hit the train connections. Some cities’ main airports are very far, like the Korea and Japan ones (and soon to be Quito). You’ve got to be a savvy traveler and pull up a map sometimes because the booking site won’t tell you that.

      • Howard

        Any info on the Canadian airports? I am flying to Toronto next month

  5. Mnaos dk

    London Heathrow is the best in Europe…….Dont go to Gatwick…. too small and too far away from London…

  6. Gianna

    Avoid De Gaulle airport…i had a lousy time…

    • Anna

      i agree with you. i had a miserable time last week..

      • Santos

        Come on guys its not that bad…

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