At the end of July the New Delhi airport opened up the brand new Terminal 3 for international flights. Here are my initial thoughts regarding the new terminal after flying out and back in on a recent trip.
- High ceilings: There’s a wonderful spaciousness about the new terminal and the much higher ceilings, especially in the check-in and baggage claim areas, greatly help this.
- Lots of carpet: The spacious departure and arrival piers have a curious flooring choice – carpet. Not just any carpet, but patterned wall to wall carpet that seems thicker than carpet I’ve seen in airports. A rolling bag didn’t roll as easily on it due to the extra friction from the thickness. I wonder how well the carpet will hold up over time with all the traffic walking on it.
- Long, wide walkways: Departure gates in the previous terminal were all mostly in the same small area. In Terminal 3 the gates are spread out across the super long walkways making up the departure pier. It can be a long walk from the food court in the departure hall to your gate.
- No post office: Unlike the old terminal, Terminal 3 has no post office in the main departure hall before you go through immigration and security. Perhaps there will be one if the future, but for now get your final post cards mailed off before you show up at the airport. (Update: according to the airport’s interactive map a post office is now listed in the T3 Departure Main Hall.)
- Less free wi-fi: Previously the international terminal offered 60 minutes of free wi-fi provided by Airtel. Terminal 3 now offers free wi-fi for up to 20 minutes through Aircel. After 20 minutes it’s available for a fee, but I couldn’t determine how much as the wi-fi wasn’t working the day I flew out.
- Different currency exchange: In the international baggage claim area of Terminal 3 there are two choices for exchanging foreign currency into Indian Rupees – Thomas Cook and Central Bank of India. The latter option is new and seems to replace the State Bank of India which was the recommended place in the previous terminal since it didn’t charge the commission which Thomas Cook did. I wasn’t able to confirm it, but I think the Central Bank of India doesn’t charge a commission either.
- Outside pickup: If you have a taxi waiting to pick you up on arrival, the driver will now be waiting just outside the arrival hall rather than inside the hall like before. That’s no fun for the driver if the weather is hot.
- Rough around the edges: Terminal 3 is a great upgrade over the previous terminal, but there’s still some work needed to complete everything. Not all of the restaurants and shops were open when I flew out, and I couldn’t find any ATMs in the international arrival hall even though they are on the map. I’m assuming all of this plus other little details will be complete by the time the Commonwealth Games come to New Delhi in early October.
Check out the official Delhi airport website for more information on Terminal 3.