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Delhi International Terminal 3 - Arrival & Departure (with photos)


Old Dec 14, 10, 11:12 pm
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Delhi International Terminal 3 - Arrival & Departure (with photos)

I just made my first trip to the new Terminal 3 at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. Knowing that there are some people who would love to know what the new terminal looks like, I managed to snag a few pictures during my arrival and departure this month.

Anyone who has flown in or out of the old Terminal 2 at DEL knows that it was pretty old and antiquated, so I was excited to be able to see the new T3 once it finally opened. My expectation was that it would be an acceptably-average international terminal with decent facilities. Overall, my expectations were met but not really exceeded.


Arrival

Upon arrival, it feels just like most other international terminals: Long hallways, moving walkways, well lit and generally bland. The terminal is fairly large, so your walk could be quite long if you're lucky to land at one of the gates at the remote end of the terminal (t's not as big as HKG where a tram ride is required, but it's long).




As you reach the end of the hallway, the flight transfer desks are on the right side of the hallway just before elevators/escalators take you down to the immigration & customs halls (No picture available, unfortunately, as the pic I took was way too blurry for posting). I think this may mean that airline transfers may be possible at DEL without needing to immigrate into the country (this is only my guess, so someone would likely need to confirm).

Following to the left, you take escalators (or elevators) down to the immigration hall. The hall itself is pretty big, but it felt undersized and not well laid out for the number of people waiting to have their credentials checked and stamped. If you're a foreigner, you'll line in the queues closest to the escalators; native Indians and other passports line up in the queues further down the hall. You'll notice a distinct lack of foreigners in my photo, which made my check-through relatively quick... only 10 minutes with 3 people in front of me. Expect the immigration process to be slow and painful, and make sure to take both your passport AND the customs stub at the bottom of your immigration form (you need to surrender the stub as you exit customs).




After making it through immigration, the baggage claim and customs check is next. Nothing incredibly impressive or different about this hall. The number of carousels has increased over the old T2, money exchange is available here, and the usual facilities and services are still here. When I arrived there was a foggy haze in the room; I wasn't sure how the inside of an airport could be foggy, but Delhi is pretty hazy during the winter months.




Straight ahead is the way out and customs. Same story as always: Red lane is for declarations; Green lane is nothing to declare. As you exit there will be people asking for the customs stub from the bottom of your immigration form. They will likely be plain-clothed people.




Once you're out of immigration, the greeting hall will be packed with drivers from various hotels and taxi services. They all have signs with the logo of their hotel or service and your name... good luck finding your Waldo among the mix!

The greeting hall has c-stores, food, ATMs and other basics. The walk out of the hall and to the parking garage is a bit of a hike, but you'll enjoy the walk after a 15-hour flight!



Departure

I heard the original gripes and news about traffic jams on the new national highway from Delhi to the airport when the new road opened, but I haven't heard anything recently. My trip to IGIA wasn't too bad as my driver knew a "short-cut" by following exit signs off the highway for "Terminal 1" instead of "Terminal 3." It turns out that there's a well-paved back road that connects them, and the traffic was almost nonexistent.

Upon arrival to the airport, you'll go through your first security step before you even step in to the building; a security guard will ask to see your passport and a paper copy of your itinerary. The itinerary must show your name, date of travel and flight info (the guy in front of me didn't have that info on his itinerary, so he had to go to door #8 to obtain a paper copy... he made it to his flight just fine, if only a little delayed).

After the doc check, you walk into a large departures hall with many rows of check-in desks. TV signs are selectively placed to direct you to the correct row for your airline (they go through most of the letters of the alphabet, so be prepared for a short walk). Check-in is the same process as it always has been, but the new desks and relatively cleanliness and space of the hall are big improvements over T2.






After check-in, emigration is next. This step is lightning-quick compared to immigration. Nothing interesting to see here. Moving right along...

Next is security... where the real inefficiencies of Indian bureaucracy shines through in true technicolor! They have a decent number of security checkpoints, but any line you pick will be a minimum 45 minute wait. The picture below is courtesy of my blurry cam, but the sea of people should give you an idea of how busy this area is. The blur is not indicative of the speed of the process.

Things to keep in mind for security: Be patient. Laptops get their own bin. Everyone goes through both a metal detector and a very thorough pat-down, with men and women getting their own lanes for both.




After the inquisition, you're free to move about the terminal. The next few pictures give an idea of the flow and layout of the common area.


First thing you get to after security... Duty Free!


View of the common hall. Taken from the 2nd floor.


Another (better) shot of the hall, again taken from the 2nd floor. The Coffee Bean is visible in the back-left.


The hall is a HUGE improvement over T2. The shopping and services in the hall are more numerous and better, and there's room to breathe!

A few quick notes on the departure hall: There's food on the 2nd floor, and even a kid's play area. The 2nd floor is also home to some lounges, but the oneWorld lounge is still not yet open (more on this later). Signage is okay (the TV flight boards are a little small and scarce). Free WiFi is available, but you must have an India-based mobile number in order to receive an SMS with login information.


Since the oneWorld/Kingfisher lounge is not yet open ("soon" is the most common answer I hear, but end-of-Feb was feedback from an AA FA), so lounge service is at the "Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf" cafe in the center of the hall, near the windows. Walk past the counter and you'll see a roped-off area in the back (see pic below); a server will take your invitation and escort you to a seat. Food and beverage is menu-based (see pic below), but they do have some beer available if you ask. It's not so much a lounge as it is a free cafe. With that said, the place was quiet, service was quick and extremely friendly! The fact that lounges are now air-side is a remarkable improvement for IGIA (and a relief for travelers everywhere)!


A picture of the "lounge" area. Not bad, but no showers.


Le Menu


As you get close to boarding time, the servers at the Coffee Bean will let you know when your plane is ready for boarding (they'll even wake you up if you've dozed off). The walk to the gates won't take too long, but it will feel like an endless journey as the size of the hallways makes the place feel cavernous. I flew out of Gate 1, so my walk was pretty short. International departures have their own quarantined gates that have extra security checks used at the discretion of the airline. There are no services in the holding pen, so only plan to go there close to boarding time.




Overall a marked improvement over the old T2. This new terminal is definitely a much more appropriate entry gateway for India.
puckstop is offline
Old Dec 14, 10, 11:19 pm

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Thanks for the report; although it may not be as nice as some other airport terminals, it's a huge improvement over what I experienced at DEL in April 2009. woukd love to go back and try out the new terminal!
FAA1996 is offline
Old Dec 15, 10, 5:46 am

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Originally Posted by puckstop View Post
Upon arrival to the airport, you'll go through your first security step before you even step in to the building; a security guard will ask to see your passport and a paper copy of your itinerary. The itinerary must show your name, date of travel and flight info (the guy in front of me didn't have that info on his itinerary, so he had to go to door #8 to obtain a paper copy... he made it to his flight just fine, if only a little delayed).
Does this mean you cannot see people off or wait inside the terminal?
GodAtum is offline
Old Dec 15, 10, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by GodAtum View Post
Does this mean you cannot see people off or wait inside the terminal?
Pretty much. The inside of the departure hall is restricted to travelers only. You're allowed to wait outside of the departure hall or in the arrivals hall as alternate areas. This has been the standard procedure at DEL for a number of years.
puckstop is offline
Old Dec 16, 10, 1:16 pm
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Thanks for the report... Surprised you felt comfortable taking these photos - I thought India has a very strict 'no photography at airports' policy?
Genius1 is offline
Old Dec 17, 10, 10:36 pm

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Nice, but that is one awful looking carpet in the last picture.
yyzvoyageur is offline
Old Dec 17, 10, 11:02 pm

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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
Thanks for the report... Surprised you felt comfortable taking these photos - I thought India has a very strict 'no photography at airports' policy?
Not for the last decade or so. Absolutely no issue with photography at civilian airports. Many carriers however continue to make the now long outdated announcements about photography restrictions.
B747-437B is offline
Old Dec 19, 10, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
Not for the last decade or so. Absolutely no issue with photography at civilian airports. Many carriers however continue to make the now long outdated announcements about photography restrictions.
Why is that? I thought Indian authorities doesn't like that to taking a pictures. I thought they can allowed to taking a picture at entire T3. I wasn't sure about this one. Can they will have a approved from security guards to taking a photography? Is that absolutely no problems at all?
N830MH is offline
Old Dec 20, 10, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by N830MH View Post
Why is that? I thought Indian authorities doesn't like that to taking a pictures.
Let's just say that the pictures were taken discretely and without specific focus on security-related or highly sensitive areas. You can't really see the actual security checkpoints, only the lines... which is kinda par for the course at IGIA!
puckstop is offline

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