Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The flight to Germany.

Chennai. That's the Amazing Airport of Today.

My wife went to Germany on Sunday, and for lack of a direct flight from Bangalore, she had to go through Chennai.

The Bangalore airport is less equipped than the Majestic bus stand. (Which, for you non-aware readers, is the central bus stand in Bangalore, and currently has more people than Texas) There is too much traffic both inside and outside, and the politics of the airlines inside is visibly annoying.

Flight out of bangalore, Air Sahara, 6:40 pm.

Bangalore, 5:30 PM, Cubbon road: It's a bloody sunday but there's still a jam. Driver (read: me) takes most unknown road with passenger mentioning that she wants to take the flight to Chennai, not drive there. Driver ignores comments and heads towards goal of reaching airport before 6 PM.

6:00 PM: Reach airport. Find out that queue for baggage x-ray is encircling the airport - er, no, but it was massive. Noted that Jet Airways XRay machine was empty. (Do the airlines own the xray machines? I thought it was a police or CISF job, not an airlines, so why the difference?)

6:10 PM: I find parking after burning down someone's car (just kidding). Sunila (the passenger in question) (also, my wife) finds huge queue at check in counter too, but it moves fast.

6:15 PM: I walk into terminal to see a sea of people. Sunila is arguing with the check in counter, who says it's too late since flight is just about leaving (Note: Boarding not yet announced)

6:30 PM: Boarding pass usurped. Goodbyes happen. She's in the security area, where half the population of the world is currently located.

6:55 PM: Sahara has not yet announced Boarding. Sunila checks to see if the time on the ticket is for 2006, just in case.

7:05 pm: Ok, we're boarding. Like Normal people, everyone tries to push everyone else out of the line or "jugaad" in. Sunila watches because she's not the Normal sort.

7:15 PM: Sahara has given her a first class seat. A big thank you, inspite of the HUGE mess at the check in counter. Maybe that's what prompted it, but gratefulness is there nevertheless.

7:45 pm, Chennai airport: Air conditioned terminal. You can "feel" the aircons, and in the sweltering heat it's a lifesaver. She has a neck problem, so asks an airport employee to help with the baggage. Two burly men arrive, and carry the baggage to the international terminal. (Thank you, whoever you are)

8:10 pm: In international terminal. Shops everywhere, and lounges. Places to sit down and wait. Places to eat, even though a sandwich plus coffee = Rs. 80. Clean environment and very little noise. The loos are clean. Announcements are crystal clear - unlike Bangalore, where they use a hissing snake to make announcements.

9:50 PM: Lufthansa says there's too much baggage, off by around 1 kilo. Which is how Lufthansa is, we expected that. Sunila then goes to an "excess baggage" counter. I've never even heard of this kind of thing in other Indian airports! (someone tell me I'm wrong) She finds out that all she needs to discard is a packet of Tea - which finds its way to an old man who asked, very nicely, if he could have it instead.

1:50 AM: Goodbye said to Chennai airport.

My wife wants to move to Chennai just because of the airport. I don't think she's going to like the auto drivers very much though. But the airport, she said, was world class.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

happened to be here by chance..:) I agree with your wife chennai airport is heaven...except if they could speak a lil better english, if they had a better atm, if they had better entertainment system..:)


3:24 PM, January 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree but chennai airport is far better than mumbai or delhi in terms or directions...

4:23 PM, June 16, 2006  

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