Bangalore International Airport - A Guide
About the airport
Bangalore International Airport is the new gateway to the city of Bangalore, India. The airport replaced the old existing HAL airport and took over the commercial operations on the night of 23 May 2008. It is an airport constructed on par with international standards and state-of-the-art facilities and is situated approximately 40 kms from the city center.
The new airport is far more better than the old airport and provides the passengers with better facilities and amenities, though it feels cramped when it is crowded. The airport looks and feels very modern and chic both from inside and the outside.
The airport is conveniently located north of Bangalore on the Bangalore - Hyderabad National Highway (NH) 7. Reaching the new airport located about 40 kilometers outside the city can be quite tedious and a harrowing experience. But thanks to the various transportation options available and the excellent approach roads, one doesn't need to worry about getting to the airport safely and in time. However, 2 hrs is the minimum time one must keep on hand for reaching the new airport. There are many factors that may extend your travel time to the airport such as bad roads (some parts of the city), rains, traffic jams (especially during peak hours) and other various factors.
The approach road to the airport is definitely one of the best in India. The road is very wide and has dedicated lanes for different vehicles and also has adequate directions and signs to reach the airport. Another good thing is that there are speed limits set on this road for preventing accidents or any untoward incidents and to also ensure smooth flow of traffic. Any vehicle voilating the speed limit and/or the traffic rules will be recorded instantly, thanks to the traffic cameras placed on the entire stretch of the approach road (but bad for those who always break rules or are in a need for speed). The approach road has been embedded with reflectors and placed along the entire approach roads are reflector markers for a smoother journey to the airport at night. For entering the airport from NH-7, just get on to the trumpet interchange which is a part of the approch road and follow the conveniently placed directions and signs along the interchange and you will land up right in front of the airport terminal. Also, note that the trumpet interchange is not to be confused with the Hebbal interchange/flyover which is crossed much earlier while getting to the airport (some do get confused).
There are also radio taxis and car rental services available and these will cost a lot and will prove to be expensive and are avaiable at the taxi stand. Passengers and visitors can choose any one of the many taxi/car rental services available such as Meru, EasyCab or any other general 'city cab/taxi' (taxis) or Avis, Budget, Hertz, Akbar travels (car rental). Meru radio cabs and EasyCabs charge Rs. 60 for the first 4 kilometers and Rs. 15 thereafter for every additional kilometer and the waiting charges are free for the first 10 minutes and Rs. 10 for every additional 15 minutes and a single journey just to the city center can cost as much as Rs. 600. Night charges of up to 50 percent are applicable between 10 pm and 6 am. The charges can be paid at the end of the journey by cash or credit card and a receipt will be issued. Car rental services can be availed at Rs. 1200 for up to 25 kilometers for standard premium cars such as innova and honda city models, but you can choose any model available (charges as applicable). The cars can be sel-driven or cheauffer driven. Also available is limousine service with a dedicated chauffer at a fixed price. Taxis and car rentals can also be booked online or on phone in advance.
Passengers and visitors and also use the public transportation options to reach the airport or reach the city from the airport. There is a dedicated bus stand outside the airport terminal, where one can check the bus numbers and drop/pick-up points and get into the relevant bus. Tickets prices are preset and are not as high as taxi charges and the price has to be paid to the conducter on the bus, who will then issue a printed paper ticket. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has put into service air-conditioned volvo buses and well as non air-conditioned buses for convenient travel. The a/c airport shuttles are called 'Vayu Vajra' while the a/c buses operating within the city are called 'Vajra' These are the best way to reach the airport from the city or vice versa and also travel within the city. The airport shuttles follow a pre-determine route and stop at various points and have space for keeping the luggage. There are also non a/c buses operating between the airport and the city and also within the city and may be crowded during peak time. The a/c buses are very comfortable, not crowded and also have ample space for standing in case all the seats are occupied. Travelling within the city is very cheap by BMTC buses and the a/c buses are a must try. There are bus stands all over the city with area name where these buses can be got on to. The bus tickets can also be booked online. For more info on this, you can log on to: www.bmtcinfo.com
Two-wheelers are also allowed to enter the airport area and the parking charges at the two-wheeler parking facility is Rs. 20. However, autorickshaw (autos for short) cannot enter the airport area or the trumpet flyover. Passengers and visitors wanting to get to the airport by auto can get down at the beginning of trumpet flyover and catch an airport shuttle bus to the airport for a minimal charge od Rs. 10.
Chater helicopter services are provided at the airport by 'Deccan Aviation' and 'Birdie'.
Outside view (Curbside)
Outside the terminal, there are parking services available (more on that later), quite a few food and beverage stalls and the pay-and-use toilets are also provided for those who want to relieve themselves at a minimal cost of 1 rupee and don't want to spend 80 rupees entering the airport and using the toilets located in the arrival hall, which is high for entering the airport terminal for a single visit. The pay-and-use toilets are absolutely fine and clean and one need not hesitate to use these toilets which are extremely light on the pockets.
As for the parking facilities, you can choose any one of the five options available. Long-term parking can be used if you are driving yourself to the airport and are returning either the same day or the next day and the charges are Rs. 60 for every 4 hrs, Rs. 300 for the first day (24 hrs) and Rs. 200 for every additional day. The other option general parking, which can be used if you just want to visit the airport or if you want to drop or receive someone and is priced at Rs. 60 for the first two hours and Rs. 30 for every extra hour. However, if you choose not to park the vehicle for two hours and have parked the vehicle for only 1-1/2 hrs, you will be losing Rs. 30 for the unused time. The next options are drop off and pick up area (free for the first 10 minutes and Rs. 80 for every additional 30 minutes - so don't forget to keep a tab on your time), premium pick up area (Rs. 80 for the first 30 minutes and Rs. 80 for every extra 30 minutes. You've got to watch the time if you don't want to end up paying extra bucks) and the Valet parking service at a cost of whopping Rs. 150, which is not worth and is charged as per the long-term parking charges. While exiting the parking area, one can pay the charges at the toll-booths and will receive a nicely designed receipt and a guide to the airport map and the transportation options in the form of a pamphlet that is extremely useful and informative.
One can also get cool and clean drinking water and if you are hungry, you can also grab some quick snacks at the many food and beverage kiosks - Nukkad (if you want some South Indian cuisine), Kaatizone (North Indian cuisine, provides hot and delicious rolls/frankie to snub your hunger), Gangotree (North Indian Cuisine, whips up some delicious and traditional chats and other snacks). Also situated are Subway, Baskin Robbins and Café Coffee Day (CCD for short) if you want to have some quick, delicious bites at Subway, ice-cream to cool you down at Baskin Robbins and hot/cold beverages and snacks at the Café Coffee Day. The items are moderately priced and are not very expensive.
Located on the outside of the terminal are hotel, airline, visitor ticket, taxi and car rental, tourism information, foreign exchange (forex), police and CISF and post office counters. Passengers and visitos can visit these counters for availing any of the services and help that they wish to. Also, passengers wanting to purchase a ticket at the airport can do so at the airline counters. Located outside the terminal is also an ATM machine for those in need of some quick cash and for passengers and requiring to exchange money can easily do so at the forex counter. For passengers or visitors requiring secure help can visit the police and CISF counter for immediate help and assistance.
There are also one retail outlet 'Odessey' located outside the terminal building. It sells books, music, gifts and souveniers.
The terminal definitely looks snazzy on the outside, but looks even modern from the inside. There are many facilities available for departing as well as arriving passengers. The chec-in area has many check-in desks to ease the check-in process and reduce the check-in procedure time for passengers. Also available are check-in kiosks where the passengers can check-in and obtain their boarding passes, but is applicable for only those travelling with no baggage or just one hand baggage and also depends on the airline. Currently, there are just a few airlines providing this facility. Immigration and emigration processes as well as the transfer process are smooth and hassle-free.
The terminal has many retail and duty-free shops, food and beverage stalls and domestic and international lounges. While the food and beverage items are priced moderately at the stalls located outside the terminal, the food and beverage items inside the terminal are a bit steeply priced and are on the higher side. The airport terminal has many facilities to help the passengers. The information centers located at various points inside the terminal provide the passengers with information, in case. Though there are restrooms and baby care facilities at many places inside the airport, the restrooms provided are not adequate in number and are not up to international standards. Passengers can use the baggage wrap service to secure their baggage for a fixed price at the departures area.
If you want to eat something, you can head to any one of the food and beverage shops inside the airport terminal. There is also visit the kingfisher sports bar if you want to fill yourself up and have some good beer!. There are duty free shops both at the departures area as well as the arrival area. Plenty of shopping facilities for the passengers.
As of November 2009, the airlines operating from the airport are:
- Air India (operated by Air India Regional)
- Jet Airways
- Indigo Airlines
- Go Air
- Indian Airlines
- Kingfisher Airlines
- Paramount Airways
- Deccan Aviation
- Air Arabia
- Air France
- Air Mauritius
- Gulf Air
- British Airways
- Oman Air
- Malaysia Airlines
- Sri Lankan Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Tiger Airways
- Thai International Airways
There are many other airlines planning to start services to and from Bangalore. Air China will be starting service between Bangalore, Shanghai and Tokyo in December 2009.
Here are some essential info and tips to make your journey smoother:
- Time to reach the airport from the city center: Minimum 2 hrs to be spared
- Plan your journey accordingly and check the flight times with your airline.
- Check and keep your travel documents with you well in advance.
- Try to keep your luggage as light as possible. Travel light.
- User Development Fee (UDF) charges levied by the airport authorities: Domestic outbound travellers: Rs. 260, International outbound travellers: Rs. 1070. Already included with the ticket and need not be paid at the airport.
For more info, visit: http://www.bengaluruairport.com (Official Website)