Saturday, April 28, 2007

Experiences of pickup / drop at Delhi Airport

Due to some relatives arriving for a family tragedy, I spent some time at Delhi airport, both domestic and international. Some experiences from the departure and arrival locations.
Let me start with the most positive experience. I had to pick some people up from the international terminal (Indira Gandhi International Airport). It seemed pretty smooth as silk if you are willing to pay up a bit. First park your vehicle in the car park (Rs. 120 if you want to park in the premium car parking), and then pay Rs. 60 for each entry intro the arrival lounge. Ideal, you wave to your visitors as they arrive and take them to the car parking. Only problem is that the premium car parking is pretty small. The regular parking is pretty decent as well.
Next is the departure from international. This is also fairly convenient, you drop your visitors at the gate. Trolleys are available without a problem, and as long as you don't stay too long there, the traffic police and the cranes do not disturb you. However, and this is where I have seen people behaving strangely, they actually stay there for extended farewells, even though space there is limited. I have seen a few even arguing with traffic police, something that I would not believe could happen in a lot of other countries.
Now comes the incredible domestic terminals. These are special, especially during peak times. First, on the route to the domestic terminal, you see a number of cars lined along the road, with a driver waiting for a call to pick them up. The route is not exactly very broad, and with these cars lined along the road, the traffic route into the terminal gets more choked. Makes me wonder, are these people so stingy that they cannot afford to pay the parking fee or are they so self-centered that they really do not care?
The parking in the domestic terminal is a mess. Given the number of flights, the number of vehicles using the parking has increased tremendously while space has remained same; and this is where things get frustating. Everybody in the Government was aware of the increase in flights, and yet a contract to modernise the airports took so much time; with so much politicking. As a result, discomfort to people using the airport has increased, and measures to improve things will take much more time.
Leaving people at the domestic terminal departure is still fine; but the arrival could do with a lot more improvement. Twice in succession it has happened that I am looking at the arrival billboard, and while the airline arrival is still not confirmed, the people that I came to pick came out. In addition, the arrival open area seems like a fish market, with so many people packed into a small area. They really need to increase the area available. The improvement from a few months back is that you have more stalls with things to eat and drink, something desparately needed if you are waiting in the heat.
Experiences inside the airport is another matter, with a separate story.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:55 AM