Most people would think there’s no need for a post on Airports- they’re the same every where in the world, right?
But In the last few weeks I have discovered that what I take for granted with airports in India, is actually unheard of in other parts of the world
For instance- only passengers with a valid ticket and airport staff / security can enter the airport- and this is true for airports across India. Your family members or friends who drop you at the airport will not be able to escort you to the check in counter/ boarding gate/ anything beyond the entry to the airport.
At the entrance to the airport, your ticket/ itinerary/ boarding pass (which must have your PNR or booking ID, the date of travel and your name stated clearly on it)- whether printed out on paper or in an email on your phone or your laptop or an e-boarding pass will be checked.
You will need to have a valid photo ID with you. A driver’s license is not always acceptable, especially for international flights, so it may be best to carry an Adhaar card or a PAN card (for Indian citizens) or your passport (for foreign citizens traveling through India).
How long before your flight should you get to the Airport?
Airports in India tend to have heavier security than many other countries, so if it’s an international flight, you are advised to arrive 3 hours before departure time. If it’s a domestic flight, you can arrive 1 ½ hours before departure time and that should be sufficient.
Always check if your flight is leaving from Terminal 3 (also known as “T3”), or from T1D (the old domestic airport). This information is not always printed on your ticket/ itinerary, so it’s worth your while calling the airline and checking this information.
Most domestic and all international flights fly out of T3, but a few domestic flights still fly out of T1D. In case you land up at the wrong airport, don’t worry, T3 and T1D are actually very close by so you should be able to make it in time to catch your flight.
Mumbai should be more straight forward, but even so it’s better to check with the airline in case your itinerary doesn’t state which airport you will be departing from.
In Mumbai, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (also known as Terminal 2, or Sahar airport) is for international flights. The domestic airport is also known as Santa Cruz Airport or Terminal 1.
In this case however, the two airports are far apart, and traffic in Mumbai can be horrible, so it’s well worth checking with the airline on where you will be flying out of.
Taxis (when exiting the airport):
Prepaid Taxi from the Delhi Police booth inside the airport
This is by far the safest and possibly the most economical option at Delhi airport. As the name suggests the fare is calculated for you and you pay the full fare in advance at the booth . The booth itself is located inside the airport after you finish collecting your luggage and go through the green channel (for international flights) but before you exit.
The downside to this arrangement is that these yellow and black taxis that are provided for this arrangement are normally very old and not very comfortable at all.
Radio cabs: Meru/ Cool Cabs/ Mega Cabs
These are different from Uber and Ola (the Indian equivalent of Uber) in that they are radio cabs. The driver is an employee of the company. In Delhi there is a booth for two radio cab companies located just as you exit the doors of the airport. Please note that you must approach the booth, let the person manning the booth know the address you would like to go, and he will assign a waiting cab driver and taxi to you. In this instance, you pay the cab driver the fare on the meter, and not the booth. Giving the person manning the booth your address might seem strange, but it's a safety precaution for both you and the driver, as the company will keep track of which driver drove which passenger where.
In Mumbai Cool Cabs and other taxi companies may have a pre paid taxi booth located inside the domestic airport, well before you exit. Interestingly, some of these companies may have the option of a female taxi driver. If you would like to make use of this facility, you must say so clearly when you request your taxi, i.e. before you make your payment at the pre paid taxi counter. This is particularly useful if you are a lone woman visiting the city for the first time.
If you have the Uber or Ola App (the Indian equivalent of Uber), please feel free to use this. This is certainly a very economical option and it is very convenient but it is not as safe as the Delhi police booth or the radio cabs.
I hope these tips have been of some help to you. For further information, please do contact me via email or telephone.