Planes, trains and automobiles – I’m generally a fan of the second over the other two. I like the leisurely pace, the chance to view pretty scenery. And most of all the chance to get up and easily move around.
I especially love taking trains to an airport and do it in every city I can. They are faster than a bus or a shuttle, you don’t have to worry about traffic. And they generally take you within steps of the ticket counter.
Here are three I have ridden that I recommend.
I was in luck last year when I attended a conference for the Society of American Travel Writers in Denver in April. (It snowed the entire weekend, much to the dismay of the Visit Denver folks, but I loved it.) The new train had just opened days before.
It couldn’t have been easier. After grabbing my luggage at Denver International Airport, I looked for signs for the Transit Center, exited the terminal, took a long escalator down and right out to the station platform for a train to downtown Denver.
I purchased my fare for $9 at a ticket kiosk and boarded the train car for a comfortable ride, just 37 minutes from the airport to Union Station. Travel tip: If you’re not in a hurry, go in and have a drink in one of the bars or restaurants of this 100-year-old landmark referred to as Denver’s living room.
From there it was a short Uber ride to my hotel, saving me lots of time and money for the 23-mile trip from the airport. There were plenty of racks for luggage. I didn’t notice them, but read there are outlets for charging your devices. The trains depart every 15 minutes, starting at 4:30 a.m. and running until after 1:00 a.m.
2. The Metro from Washington’s Reagan International
If you’ve spent much time in DC, chances are you’ve ridden the Metro. My daughter lived there for a few years and didn’t even need a car, as she went everything on the train. Fortunately for visitors, the Metro goes directly to Terminal B and C. For A, you do have to exit and board an airport shuttle to take you to Terminal B/C. If you are flying in or out of Terminal A, be aware you will have to allow extra time.
Another note of caution, escalators can often be out of order in the train stations in D.C. When we were there last we read an article about why that is, but in any event, you may want to check on this website whether the escalator or elevator is working at your station. No one wants to lug a huge suitcase up dozens of stairs. The fare depends on the time of day and the distance.
3. MARTA to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
The motto for MARTA is it’s smarta. I do agree it’s the best way to get to the airport, once you can get to a station. Unlike DC’s extensive system for its train, the one in Atlanta is much less so. In fact, many people only ride it to the airport. Like me.
From the Midtown area or Buckhead, it’s about a 30-minute ride to the airport. And when I say to the airport, I mean you stop in a covered area, go down an escalator, through a turnstile and you are in the airport. No waiting in the line to upload or worrying about the traffic getting there.
I’ve generally always gotten a seat, no matter what time of day it was. I’ve heard a few people listening to loud music, and had one almost-encounter with a kinda crazy guy. But if anyone ever tries to talk to me, I just say, “I don’t speak English.”
The fare on MARTA is $2,50 one-way with free bus transfers. You buy a card in the airport before boarding.