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Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

Needham
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4 posts
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Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

Currently this airport is a mess. You should leave for the airport 4 hours before departure time. Yes, 4 hours. When you get to the airport, you will find chaos. Go directly to a line which ends at a security scanner and the plastic tape that goes around each piece of checked luggage. This step is critical and you can go to any line. Then you go to your airline check-in counter. Then you go through immigration. Then you go to your gate where you carry-on may very well be searched. We flew on American Airlines, and its personnel were very helpful. We waited many minutes at each line. The airport is an exasperating experience which you cannot avoid. Good luck.

Paris, France
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1. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

The hardest part is walking into the airport as your ticket and passport are checked at the door. Only people with tickets are allowed in airport but Indian travelers come with family, friends, whole village or so it seems and they are all at the door saying goodbye which takes forever. It is all very sweet but you wish they would not do it THERE. Plus there is little space for cars to park at the curb and no sidewalk to walk on due to construction. So you end up walking on the street between standing cars, taxis, buses, rickshaws... (no cows or camels) blocking traffic, with your luggage which is always huge due to all your purchases. Better go with a sense of humour and view it as a cultural experience. I saw some improvement last time (feb 13) as Air France has a new counter in a new but not yet finished area and their own machine to scan luggage and tie the security tape on. British Airways is the worst with Jet Airways not far behind. So definitely 3 hours ahead eventhough last time all was done in 1 hour 1/2 but it was a first and not something I will take for granted.

Needham
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4 posts
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2. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

I love your comment about going to the airport as a cultural experience because it gives the confsuion such a palatable context. Merci.

Mumbai, India
Destination Expert
for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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12,640 posts
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3. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

In short, even if you have to fly into Delhi, fly out of Mumbai.

- Deepa

UK
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4. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

I've flown out of IGI 5 times now and only ever saw real chaos once, in peak tourist season (2 January last year). Outside departures is EXACTLY as described above- a churning mass of people- even at 3.30am. Inside they've now opened the new check-in areas on the extreme left and right. However, the information screens were not working so I had to wander around to find my check-in. The desks on the far right are for Air India flights (or they were the day I was there) and can be accessed by a new set of sliding doors, which the heaving masses didn't seem to have noticed! So there's my tip- to get into departures without the pushing and shoving, head for the door on the far right.

There's now a Nirula's and a watch shop in the departure lounge, and soon to be a duty free- it used to be quite bleak and empty apart from the Coke stands.

Due to building work they had squeezed immigration into a tiny space, about half the size it was before and there's all kinds of queue control measures, but it was not a long wait when I went through. The duty free in the area before security is much better now. They've also blocked off the two "side" gates, so everybody goes through the same security check to the same departure lounge, which is much simpler (before some gates were on either side and accessed through separate security).

The new toilets, incidentally, are marvellous- spacious, clean and quiet. If you can find them, you might want to hide there for a while if it's all stressing you out too much! There are ladies in there to give you a hand towel and demand a tip though, so keep Rs10 spare.

UK
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27 posts
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5. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

oh no! now im dreading check-in in 3 weeks time when I fly home to UK from Delhi.

I should be there hopefully 5 hours before flight (if train is on time)

Im beginning to think that wont be enough!

UK
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25 posts
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6. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

Don't worry. You are not travelling in peak season so are unlikely to hit a big crush. The terminal is not huge so it won't take you longer than 5 minutes to find your check in desk even if the boards aren't working. Just remember:

- show your ticket at the entrance

- go straight to the luggage screening machine just a few metres from the doors and get your check-in baggage security checked

- find your check in desk

- get a tag put on your carry-on baggage at check-in

- complete your immigration form that you can either pick up at the check-in or will be handed to you by one of many helpful staff

- go through immigration

- beyond immigration is the main shopping part of the airport, before security. You can take water bottles through security.

- make sure security stamp the tag on your carry-on bag after it has been screened; you will be asked to show this stamp at boarding.

Et voila.

On a good day all this can be completed in 30/40 minutes and you'll be left lounging in departures for hours with nothing to look at but expensive watches.

UK
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7. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

ok 'rajkumari_again' thx. You have restored a little bit of confidence!!

8. Re: Indira Gandhi International Airport/New Delhi

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