The Delhi Airport

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#1 Jan 30th, 2006, 06:20
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  • phobal is offline
#1
I'm doing this because I love airports and I hate seeing a new thread about Delhi Airport popping up every day. This is a wide-open thread; I want to get the forum’s input, ideas, and criticisms. From there, I’d do a final revision then post the ‘official’ Delhi airport thread which could hopefully be sticky’d.

OVERVIEW
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI, IATA: DEL, ICAO: VIDP) is located in Northern Delhi and is a gateway city for India and a hub airport for Indian Airlines and focus city for Jet Airways, Air Sahara, and Air Deccan.

The airport boasts two runways and four passenger aprons, served by three separate terminals:
  • Terminal IA - Indian Airlines and Alliance Air domestic flights.
  • Terminal IB - Jet Airways, Air Sahara, and all other private carrier domestic flights.
  • Terminal II - All international flights.
Like many Indian airports, IGI has outgrown itself but is not in need of expansion, but instead, demolition. That being said, however, the airport’s terminal serves its purpose quite well and I really have nothing to complain about other than the odd rodent, lack of food outlets at reasonable prices, and exceptionally uninspired duty free shopping. If you’re a yuppie, you’ll hate the airport and its lack of first class lounges, but if you survived India on your own, this would simply be the tragic end to a magnificent trip.

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL
When you have the pleasure or arriving at 2300hrs at the earliest, you'll disembark, walk through a swing gate down to customs. Once you go downstairs, you'll see plasma TV’s all over the place with red flashing text stating "DO NOT PAY BRIBE" and you can take comfort in knowing that stories of Indian customs inspector corruptions are myths, if not overblown. There are two lineups, one for Indians, and one for foreigners.

Once you clear customs, you learn why I am an advocate for packing light. Although baggage carts are free, every piece of off bound luggage must be x-rayed, and those pieces they deem suspicious will result your bag being marked and searched in secondary. For those of you who didn't check luggage, you can walk right on through into India.

INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL TRANSPORTATION & SERVICES
First off, I want to dismiss any myths that you may hear about people trying to rip you off once you walk out of the customs hall. This is true to an extent, but if you walk with confidence rather than fear, you won't get anything. In fact, while waiting for my ride in the waiting area of the terminal, my buddy and I were chatted up by a family doctor who was at the airport to pick up his brother that he hasn't seen in 5 years. If your first steps into India are those of fear, you will go nowhere and have a miserable trip.
Outside the customs hall
A convenience store is located to the right of the exit of the customs hall, selling the usual bottled water, newspapers, and overpriced snacks. Beside that is an ATM and beside that is the prepaid taxi booth. A left luggage facility / cloak room is located in a shack behind the premium car parking lot and IIRC, costs 5rs per piece per day. A railways booking office is also located in the arrival area, right beside the money changer. The guys in the tourist information booth will be shouting at you offering flyers, ignore them.

Transportation options
It is highly recommended that you secure a chauffer to pick you up and take you to your hotel, but if not, you can go to the pre-paid taxi booth which will charge you just as much as a pre-arranged ride. A ride from the airport to Paharganj will cost about 750rs.
If you're brave (or experienced) enough to haggle for a ride, the exit is to the back right or left once you're walking out.
It is said that a bus runs from Terminal II to central Delhi 24 hours a day. Any more info on this?
INTERNATIONAL TO DOMESTIC CONNECTION
Unlike ORD, an International to Domestic connection does not involve a quick walk through security and laptop lane. The distance between the International Terminal and the pier of domestic terminals is 8 kilometers, but a free shuttle is offered to the domestic terminals. You can catch this bus from the bus-stand, located outside the exit to the RIGHT as if you were walking out of the customs hall.

Your luggage will NOT be checked through, and you will be required to lug it on the bus. But of course, there is space on the bus for luggage.

DOMESTIC DEPARTURE
Upon being admitted, you must present your paper tickets to airport security. There’s hearsay that you cannot enter 4 hours prior, I never experienced this, but I guess it’s because I’m white. When you arrive, you’ll notice a few x-ray nodes before the check-in counter. If you have checked luggage, you’ll have to get your bags scanned and tagged. From there, you head to check in, which works the exact same way as check-in at any US or EU airport.

Once you have your boarding card in hand, the habit would be to head through security. In Delhi, this is fine because of ample waiting space past security, but in all other Indian airports, you can’t check-in until your flight on FIDS reads “SECURITY”. You are not permitted to clear security until your flight is within 30-45 minutes to d-time and the FIDS for your flight sates "SECURITY". And believe me, this rule is enforced. No need to worry, however, there are plenty of seats in the domestic check-in area.

Before you check-in, be sure that all of your carry-on pieces have bag-tags attached. From there, same routine as back home. Bags on the belt, keep your boarding card in your hand at all times, put all loose articles in trays, but you can keep your shoes on. Once your carry-on item clears, it will be stamped. Be sure you get your bag tag stamped; otherwise you’ll be denied boarding.

Be sure to eat plenty before coming to the airport, the one place where you can get any sort of water, tea, or snacks just gouges you, almost at a Western standard.

Listen carefully for boarding information. Don’t be an ass and try to line-up first. Be aware that your carry-on pieces are subject to random searches. From there, you’ll be taken by bus to your aircraft. Last time I checked, seating is pre-assigned, so there’s no need to shove to the front, your seat will still be there. With 9W at least, carry-on limits are strictly enforced, so there’s no need to flip out over overhead bin space, unless you’re on a RJ.

INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE
Prior to being let in, you have to present your paper tickets, or if you’re e-ticketed, your ID. All checked luggage must go through the x-ray nodes. Being that Air India has a monopoly over the screening, this will take a long time. Once scanned, your bag will be ‘secured’ by means of a nylon strap. From there, you can wrap your bags in plastic for RS. 100. This service is stupid and you don’t need it, as security guards watch the baggage handler’s every move from the bag hall to the ramp where your bag is loaded.

From here is the check-in. typically going through the lineups is a CSA who checks your documentation prior to checking in. Check-in is the same, unless you get a smart-asesd Air India agent checking you in. Unlike domestic flights, once you have your boarding card, you clear customs and security.

Once you are done that, you clear immigration, which generally moves fast if everyone’s paperwork is in order. After immigration is a STD/ISD telephone booth and a brutal attempt at duty-free, unless you find a mickey of smirnoff for US$20 a steal of a deal. There’s also a Subway and one other restaurant. I recommend you stay here for as long as possible, as once you clear security, your trip to India is over.

With security, be ABSOLTUELY SURE to get your stamps for every carry-on piece or you will be denied boarding. Once you clear, you are at your gate, awaiting your departure call. Again, don’t be an ass, and crowd the gate when the gate agent makes a pre-boarding call. There’s plenty of over-head space on a wide body aircraft, and your seat isn’t going anywhere. In fact, if you’re the last one on, you get dibs on the open seats.

OTHER USEFUL THREADS
All about Domestic Flights - http://www.indiamike.com/india/showthread.php?t=12074
Cheap airfare musings - Finding a good fare to India -- 2005

Quote:
This is a draft; please feel free to add on any information that you feel should be added on, and feel free to criticize any incorrect points/assumptions that I made. Also, please refer to the post below for certain areas I really need information in. Thanks!
#2 Jan 30th, 2006, 06:22
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#2
I need your help to fill in the following topics

DOMESTIC TO INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION
-Specifically where the transfer bus can be caught
DOMESTIC ARRIVAL
-Terminal, prepaid taxi, and services
NEARBY ACCOMMODATIONS
-Especially budget hotels.
#3 Jan 30th, 2006, 06:26
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#3
This post is intentionally left blank.
#4 Jan 30th, 2006, 08:39
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#4
Great thread.
.
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread, even if you are not in India.: Have you seen Jonathan Spollen?

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#5 Jan 30th, 2006, 10:35
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#5
>>>>Transportation options
It is highly recommended that you secure a chauffer to pick you up and take you to your hotel, but if not, you can go to the pre-paid taxi booth which will charge you just as much as a pre-arranged ride. A ride from the airport to Paharganj will cost about 750rs.

If you paid Rs750 for the Paharganj ride from the prepaid taxi counter then you have been ripped off!!! If you use the government run taxi counter then the cost would be about half of that atleast. The prepaid taxi is run by a private operator (which is essentially a normal car run as a taxi) as well as the government run normal taxi (the black and yellow taxi which is much cheaper). And if someone wants to travel even cheaper then there are the autorickshaws that you can get from outside the airport too. The ride will not be too comfortable as it is a three wheeler semi open cab like the tuk tuk in Bangkok.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Aadil.
Climb high; climb far;
Your goal, the sky,
Your aim, the stars!!!
#6 Jan 30th, 2006, 11:53
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by phobal OVERVIEW
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI, IATA: DEL, ICAO: VIDP) is located in Northern Delhi
Northern Delhi ? I feel its location can best be described as South-West Delhi.
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#7 Jan 30th, 2006, 12:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHIMLA Northern Delhi ? I feel its location can best be described as South-West Delhi.
You are correct! Revised.
#8 Jan 30th, 2006, 12:31
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#8
Quote:
DOMESTIC DEPARTURE
Upon being admitted, you must present your paper tickets to airport security. There’s hearsay that you cannot enter 4 hours prior,
Don't know about Domestic, but International travellers can't enter the Airport more than 4hrs before. You're directed to the passenger lounge 30Rps across the road, It's a comfortable place to spend a few hours, Telephones, Internet, Drinks, Restaurant,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
#9 Jan 30th, 2006, 13:28
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#9

details of hotels near domestic terminal

Hi
I am pibikay a senior citizen.e have to stay overnight near delhi airport to catch connections.Can you recommend any decent a/c hotel near the domestic terminal with restaurant/Last year U stayed in ahotel near the airpor and which is hosted in the india travel mart site.Room OK but no restaurant.Thanks every one
#10 Jan 30th, 2006, 16:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pibikay Hi
I am pibikay a senior citizen.e have to stay overnight near delhi airport to catch connections.Can you recommend any decent a/c hotel near the domestic terminal with restaurant/Last year U stayed in ahotel near the airpor and which is hosted in the india travel mart site.Room OK but no restaurant.Thanks every one
this is something i'm trying to figure out
#11 Jan 31st, 2006, 01:45
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by seventies'hippy Don't know about Domestic, but International travellers can't enter the Airport more than 4hrs before.
This isn't really true. If you argue with the security guards, they simply give up. Maybe you have to be a bit of an asshole about it, but it works. However there are lots of other reasons not to sure up more than 4 hrs before your flight.
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#12 Jan 31st, 2006, 03:17
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by seventies'hippy Don't know about Domestic, but International travellers can't enter the Airport more than 4hrs before. You're directed to the passenger lounge 30Rps across the road, It's a comfortable place to spend a few hours, Telephones, Internet, Drinks, Restaurant,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
If you have a ticket for a flight then entry to the lounge across the road is free (or it was on the last few occassions I used it). There is a small sign which mentions this but most people fail to spot it and buy a ticket. The security man will initially tell you to get a ticket but if you tell him you are flying and show your ticket he will let you in.
#13 Jan 31st, 2006, 06:07
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#13
I don't know why you would want to enter the intl' terminal 4 hrs before, majority of checkin counters aren't even open. A bar that can get me nicely ripped before a super-long haul is a great idea.
#14 Jan 31st, 2006, 07:29
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arrival hall facilities:
if you, like I needed to make a phone call upon arrival, there are three pay phones on the right just before you exit the hall and venture outside. but i ran into the problem of not having any coins (only notes). The convenience store on the right refused to give me change and told me to make the call at the telephone booth (north of the arrival hall) which was privately owned and was charging a rip-off 10 rupees for a local call, whereas the public phone would have only cost 1 rupee. in the end, I got change from a local.

You can also get your pre-paid SIM card in the arrival hall. I remember an AirTel booth on the first right. As for changing money, its on your left (and remember to keep your receipt because sometimes you will encounter times in your trip when you are asked to produce evidence that your money is 'legal')
#15 Jan 31st, 2006, 12:34
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shere If you have a ticket for a flight then entry to the lounge across the road is free (or it was on the last few occassions I used it). There is a small sign which mentions this but most people fail to spot it and buy a ticket. The security man will initially tell you to get a ticket but if you tell him you are flying and show your ticket he will let you in.
The sign says 'Only if you are within one hour of being able to go into the terminal it is free,' this month (Jan 06) that was the case


Quote:
phobal ,,,I don't know why you would want to enter the intl' terminal 4 hrs before, majority of checkin counters aren't even open. A bar that can get me nicely ripped before a super-long haul is a great idea.
Sometimes circumstances dictate, But the bar across the road is quite civilised,,,,,,,,
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