Article written by Martina on 2017-02-25
If you think that all international airports look basically the same and you have already seen it all, you're probably wrong. Try visit New Delhi Indira Gandhi International airport and let me know about your experience. This is mine:
It was the first time I was travelling alone, but I thought I knew what to expect; passport control, baggage pick-up, finding my hotel driver, hotel check-in, shower, sleep, etc. This plan almost went well. My friend asked me to stop and buy him something from duty free shop so I was a little late for baggage pick-up and when I arrived to baggage carousel there was something similar to my suitcase, but not my suitcase. I really did not want to believe that there isn't my suitcase but somebody else's one which made me starring at the carousel for few more minutes. In that moment I was counting the value of my things and I was really worried about my rotating hair brush. Then I finally realized that my suitcase won't appear so I took the one from belt and checked the name and destination of its owner. She was supposed to travel somewhere else in India, so there was a little chance I or airport authorities would be able to find her. I was trying to explain my problem to some guy in uniform who somehow managed to set me a rendez-vous with a woman who accidentally took my suitcase. It was supposed to take place outside the airport and when I finally got there and got my suitcase (and also rotating hair brush) back, I was so overwhelmed with joy, I forgot, that I should find my driver inside. I took my suitcase, turned back and wanted to go back inside until I was stopped by a military looking man with a machine gun. I decided to try second door but there were two military men with the same setup and I just was not able to persuade them to let me go inside because I desperately needed to find my driver who was standing somewhere there with the card with my hotel name. I decided to ask the military men for at least finding the driver from Double Tree by Hilton hotel and I also wrote him short note. That also did not help. When I almost started to cry with a plan to persuade them by tears, the mysterious woman appeared out of nowhere and asked me what is wrong and she, till today I don't know how, managed to get me my driver.
Do you know the situation when you are expecting someone to arrive and you go to the airport to pick him/her up? You will just enter the arrivals hall and wait, possibly holding the paper with funny name on it to make the person. It's definitely not that easy when you want to pick someone up in New Delhi airport. There you have to buy an entrance ticket. I wouldn't have believed it until I experienced it. You also have to provide all kinds of information in order to let you in and go through metal detector. I felt that I really earned this opportunity to wait on the airport.
If you are thinking about having just the electronic boarding pass when departing from New Delhi, forget it. Tough guys with machine guns will stop you and they will want you to show them your paper flight ticket or boarding pass. My friend, who went to see off his parents to the airport, because they were not experienced travellers, made a fake boarding pass for himself just to show it to tough guys, but he forgot about the fact, that he would have to leave the airport with the same door. He told me that it was very difficult to persuade them to let him leave.
This all happened about three years ago and could not be true today, but I would bet that there are still people with machine guns standing in front of the door, because it's Incredible India.