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Arriving By Plane

Arriving in Moscow
The vast majority of foreign travelers arrive in Moscow at Sheremetyevo Airport's Terminal 2. Sheremetyevo was built for the 1980 Olympics, and for a city of 8 million-plus, it's tiny. The building has a reputation as a seedy place prowled by even seedier taxi drivers. It's not quite that bad, but customs can be an ordeal, smoking is ubiquitous and the taxi drivers are aggresive.

When you get off your plane at Sheremetyevo you will be herded into a dingy basement to stand in the passport control line. After your passport is stamped, you will collect your bagage and go through customs. Passport control takes a minimum of 20 minutes for foreigners. Customs ranges from no time to all day. (See the front and back of a customs declaration form.)

When you leave customs you will emerge in a crowd of taxi drivers tripping over themselves trying to offer you a ride into town. If you don't want to haggle, there's a taxi desk in the center of the arrivals hall, but of course, for a higher price. If you do try to bargain and don't speak any Russian, count on paying upward of $35. Native Russian speakers can get the price down to at least $15. The taxi ride to or from the city center should run about a half an hour to 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

There's no metro stop at the airport, but there is a regular marshrutnoye taksi, a minibus that runs along a fixed route for a fixed fare and allows passengers to get on or off wherever they want, that will take you to Rechnoy Vokzal, the nearest metro station, for 50 cents. A slower bus service runs less frequently but is cheaper.

Most flights to desinations within Russia and the former Soviet Union are served by Moscow's other four airports:

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Sheremetyevo Terminal 1
Is located on the opposite site of the runway it shares with Sheremetevyo-2. Vans and buses running from the Rechnoi Vokzal metro station to Sheremetyevo Terminal 2 usually continue on to Terminal 1. Taxi and bus rides to Sheremetyevo-1 are 5 to 10 minutes longer than to Sheremetyevo 2. Prices are about the same.

Bykovo
Is connected to the center of Moscow by suburban trains that run to Kazansky Station. It is the smallest of all the Moscow airports and only serves domestic flights. At the airport you can pick up the train at a station about 400 meters from the terminal. Leaving the city, trains headed to Vinogradovo, Shifernaya or Golutvin usually stop at Bykovo. Taxis to the center usually cost between $20 and $30

Domodedevo
Vans run between Domodedevo and the Domodedovskaya metro station. The ride costs 50 cents and usually lasts about 30 minutes. Taxis to the center usually run from $20 to $30.

In addition, there is an express train that leaves every two hours from Paveletsky Station on the circle line to Domodedovo airport. A one-way ticket costs 26 rubles (about 90 cents) and the ride takes roughly 45 minutes. Additionally, passengers can check in their flights from Paveletsky Station to avoid unnecessary hassles at the airport.

Vnukovo
Vnukovo Airport is connected to the Yugo-Zapadnaya metro by a 50-cent minivan ride. A taxi from Vnukovo to the city center runs between $20 and $30.

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