Hong Kong International Airport and the associated Airport Express rail link have a great feature that I've used many times: in-town check-in.

For those who don't know about it, the principle is simple:

  • You get to one of the Airport Express stations in town.
  • You perform check-in there.
  • They take your bags and tag them exactly as you would do at the airport, and get them to the airport and onto your flight.
  • You board the train to the airport without any bags
  • You walk directly to exit controls/security, as if you had no bags at all.

I've also done one better:

  • Go the Airport Express station early
  • Drop your bags
  • Exit the station and go eat in a good restaurant of your choice
  • Go back to the station and hop onto the Airport Express

This is especially useful when you have a late flight (many long haul flights from Hong Kong depart around midnight) and would rather have dinner in town at a decent time.

Are there other cities/airports where this service is available?

  • 1
    Related FlyerTalk thread: flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/…
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 5 at 19:52
  • 2
    The Van Nuys FlyAway bus terminal serving LAX was built with in-town check-in in mind, but it never materialized.
    – gparyani
    Sep 6 at 7:11
  • 2
    @gparyani I was indeed thinking only about the ability to drop one’s bags (ideally hours in advance) in a location other than the airport and have them take care of getting them to the airport and into the flight. Without checked bags nowadays you can usually do online check-in so you don’t really need a physical location to do so.
    – jcaron
    Sep 6 at 7:23
  • 1
    @jcaron That's true, but for international travelers, most airlines still require those who've checked in online to go to the counter to have their documents (e.g., visas) checked. A business traveler who has a meeting right before an international flight would want to go to a local ticket office to complete this check before attending their meeting, and then head for the airport and straight to security/exit immigration. Most airlines no longer advertise the ability to check in at a ticket office but still maintain it because business travelers use it.
    – gparyani
    Sep 6 at 7:27
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    Shanghai as of about 2011. Probably still. || "I'm sorry sir, you've missed your flight". [Stand on ceremony check in staff 2 minutes after nominal close time.] || 'My bags are on the plane'. - 10 minutes frantic action trying to get my bags OFF the plane. Failed. 'Come this way sir'. Through flight staff security and customs channel. Great fun. Sep 6 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Creating a community wiki answer to consolidate the existing answers -- anybody can edit!



  • Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (BKK): City Air Terminal at Makkasan station
  • London-Heathrow (LHR): Paddington station
  • Madrid (MAD): Nuevos Ministerios station
  • Moscow-Vnukovo (VKO): Kievsky station
  • Tel Aviv (TLV): Tel Aviv-Central station


  • Tel Aviv (TLV): In Tel Aviv and/or Haifa (HFA airport terminal), check seasonal announcements.

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