DRAMA at Delhi International
Generally speaking, giving yourself 2 full hours at the airport ends up being more than sufficient. Having done this in over a dozen countries, you begin to ease through the formalities with grace. And then you fly out of Delhi, India. And you’re like what the eff just happened?
You have an 8:45pm flight. You get to the airport by 6:30. To simply enter the door of the airport, you have to provide a printed itinerary. [Failure #1]. Then to print an itinerary you have to wait for 20 minutes for your airline desk to get through the five other procedural formality failures in front of you. When you finally check in, it’s already 7:30. What you don’t realize is that this is when the madness is really going to begin. You fly though immigration (despite the questioning and scowls) because thank goodness! you require “Special Assistance” due to the children who are following behind you. Then you wait for 30 minutes in the security line only to wait for another 20 to just go from the point you put your stuff on the conveyer belt to putting your boots back on (note, not your shoes – apparently boots can conceal things but shoes are totally safe). What you aren’t told ends up biting you in the ass multiple times over. 1) After being told to put your phone in your bag, it turns out that actually, you must take ALL electronics OUT of your bag. [Failure #2]. 2) There are separate lines for men and women to be frisked but after being ushered to a totally different area (and confused as all hell), you’re made to wait for an eternity because for every 2 “gents” frisking lines, there is only 1 “ladies” and apparently the “ladies” frisker is on break. [Failure #3]. And 3) it turns out that the nice little bag tags given to you at check-in aren’t optional, if each bag doesn’t get stamped through security, you ain’t getting through security. [Failure #4].
After being frisked, corralled like a sheep, given misinformation, being separated from your family, and asked for your passport/boarding pass 3 times, you begin to wonder if someone is going to tell you that you have to do a one-handed cartwheel while rubbing your stomach in order to pass the test (which, would have been [Failure #5]).
As you walk away from security, nearly high-fiving the other passengers who just went through the same madness you did, you pass by a man who says, way to keep it together Mom and Dad, to which I smile and internally reply, if you could hear my thoughts, you wouldn’t be congratulating me right now.
All said and done, it’s 8:30 and FINAL CALL is flashing when you go check the board to confirm your gate number. So you run. And then you realize that gate 14 is at the VERY end of the terminal. And the terminal is like a mile long. Not even the 10 people movers inside could get you to your gate on time. But they do, barely making your flight. And now you’re extremely sweaty. And ready for the beer they so kindly deliver (no water, no juice, just beer is offered).
On a fun note, the bathroom gender signage at Delhi International Airport is simply fantastic. Shown below is one example, where a striking Indian woman is luring in her guests by seductively biting her veil. As the Mister pointed out, aren’t these signs a bit confusing – if you were a man, which room would you choose to enter???