After more than three years, it appears that downtown check-in is finally returning to Hong Kong.
Lamentably, the last time I was in HK was October/November 2019; that was an unusual time to be in town. There had been anti-Beijing protests for months, primarily regarding an extradition treaty to China, but in general about the erosion of human rights in the Hong Kong special administrative region.
As I had been traveling between there and Shenzhen/Guangzhou a lot, I’d often stop at Sheung Shui station, close to the border. The goal? To buy a Hong Kong SIM card, so that the great firewall wouldn’t affect my e-mail access.
This photo, of the Sheung Shui MTR (commuter rail line) station from October 2019, captures a small part of the tension:
At least the arrivals hall seemed standard issue:
And let’s not forget what was brewing in China at the end of 2019.
Even though there are no dates set for city check-in’s return to Kowloon station or Tsing Yi station, part of that has to do with not being able to find (or wanting to pay enough to?) employees. Hong Kong’s Central district check-in is a big deal for the city. After all, the Airport Express train from Central is only 24 minutes to HKG ….
By the way, other cities that offer downtown airport check-in include Taipei and Kuala Lumpur. Tokyo had it back in the day, at a place called TCAT; in fact, before September 2001, you were even able to pass through immigration there, before heading to Narita. (link in Japanese)