My Trip To India And Australia: Part 9 – Indira Gandhi Airport
Leaving India was an incredibly Byzantine experience. Let me explain why I feel that way.
First, I checked out of the hotel and left for Indira Gandhi Airport five hours in advance. That sounds like overkill, but it wasn’t. It was absolutely required because when I arrived at the airport, I had to present my passport and my itinerary (Hint: Always print out your itinerary before you leave for the airport) to an Indian solider who was armed with an assault rifle just so that I could enter the airport. Behind him was another solider with an assault rifle scanning the crowd. Neither of them smiled. I would have taken a picture, but I figured that taking pictures of guys with machine guns would be a bad idea.
Once inside, I checked in and got my boarding passes. One for the flight to Dubai, and the other for the flight to Melbourne. That was easy. I then next had to follow this sign:
That seems straightforward. But the reality was that I had to go through passport control. Now you’re likely thinking “Passport control to leave a country?” Yes. In India you actually have to go through a passport control to leave. Thus I had to line up for 35 minutes to do so. There were two lines:
One line for the riff raff like me:
One for first class travelers:
After some questioning and poking around my passport, which comprised the same questions that I had to answer to get into the country such as “why did you come to India?” and “where did you stay?”, I was deemed worthy enough to leave the country. Bizarre.
This is what my passport looks like:
The red one is the stamp that allows me to leave the country. The blue one is the one I got when I came into the country. Once I was past passport control, I had to go past security. Not a big deal. I was in and out in a few minutes.
Total time: 90 minutes from the time I entered the airport to the time I exited security. Thus validating why you should leave for the airport really early.
Now the terminal does have a lot of upscale shops. Here’s a few examples:
Now upstairs there’s a food court. Though given I was at the airport at 1AM, most things were closed. Though I did find a coffee shop that was still open to grab a coffee and some food:
I also noted a that they actually had a smoking room. Seeing as I come from a country where smoking in public is almost verboten, that was kind of a shock:
Plus, if you travel with a laptop, you get a place to charge it:
I did do some shopping. My trusty Rotring pen ran out of ink. So I got a couple of refills for the red and black in here:
Now this airport seriously needs a WiFi upgrade. It was flaky and unreliable. That pretty much makes it useless for travelers who seriously need it. Now you can get it for free if you give up your mobile number. That’s a fail because if you’re roaming, you’re going to get a few expensive text messages. In my case, the better option was to use Skype WiFi to get online. But that didn’t help me as the WiFi was so bad, it made posting this way more difficult than it needed to be.
Oh, the people who run this airport might want to update the decor at the gates as the 1970’s are way past over. Thus it makes their decor no longer cool.
So now I will board my flight and head to Dubai. I’ll have a few hours to hang out there, so I will leverage that to fully document the that airport. Stay tuned for that in the next few hours.