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The long drive between Korea's Incheon International Airport and Seoul is now a thing of the past, following this week's opening of the new Incheon-Seoul AREX airport express train.
Two services are available. A high-speed service stopping only at Incheon and Seoul will take 43 minutes and cost around $11 per trip, but departs only every half-hour.
A slightly slower train departs every six minutes and stops at all ten stations along the line, but costs just $3 one-way while the trip takes only 10 minutes more, so you'll still be in downtown Seoul or ready to check in at Incheon in just under 55 minutes.
(By comparison, the $13 'limousine' bus service takes at least one hour even in light traffic.)
The all-stations service will also work out better for travellers who need to change to the Seoul subway, as some of the airport line stations are interconnected to the metro.
As with many other airport express services, passengers can check in for their flights (currently limited to Korean Air and Asiana Airlines) and drop off their luggage at Seoul Station.
This not only saves you the hassle of carting your bags to the airport – you can check out of your hotel in the morning, check in for your flight and then spend the rest of the day in Seoul before heading off to Incheon for your afternoon or evening flight.
Seoul Station also includes an immigration lane for pre-screening of outbound passengers, who can then breeze through a special lane at Incheon Airport.
Travellers with access to Korean mobile Internet providers SKT and KT can enjoy free wifi Internet en route.
South Korea plans to add new superfast 180kph KTX trains to the route by 2013 to connect Incheon to outerlying provinces for the benefit of local travellers.
This will also slashing the non-stop Seoul-Incheon journey from 34 minutes to 28 minutes. Because, you know, we all really need an extra 15 minutes at the airport...
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