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The primary air transportation hub of the Delhi National Capital region, Indira Gandhi International Airport is located 10 miles to the southwest of the city’s central district. It’s now South Asia’s most important and busiest airport, with its present capacity of up to 45 million annual passengers totalling over 25 per cent of the region’s air traffic. The complex has its own rail station, set in Terminal 3 and offering 20-minute trips to Delhi’s main station. Public transportation is augmented by buses and taxis, as well as comfortable, economic self-drive via car hire in Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport along the eight-lane Delhi Expressway direct to downtown.
Who to Book With
Carzonrent is the authorised provider of car rental and limo services at the airport. Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and several other rated car hire firms have depots on the complex, with a selection of vehicles able to be rented in advance online, ensuring a quick getaway.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- A current home country driver’s licence
- The credit card you used for the reservation
- Your passport confirming your ID
- Your booking confirmation slip
Although driving in India, especially in its crowded cities, is an adventure rather than an experience, confident drivers should find it doable. Negotiating the city’s streets is confusing and takes time, and can be a noisy, stressful experience, with lane discipline lacking and constantly-honking horns. Cows, motorised rickshaws and pedalled rickshaws are the highlights, and parking takes place anywhere it can. Roads everywhere can be good, bad or indifferent, with potholes standard except on the urban fast highways and toll roads. Petrol stations are common in the cities, but far less so in rural areas, and card payments may not be taken, with cash the best way to pay.
Arriving passengers can choose between self-drive, car hire with a driver, limo hire, taxi, local bus or the recently-installed Metro train service to the city’s main railway station. Trains are the fastest mode of transport as they avoid Delhi’s crammed streets, buses are the cheapest mode but are not recommended for solo female travellers and taxis are relatively safe, but car rental is the best option if you’re planning to travel around the region.
The newish Delhi Metro, India’s first modern rapid-transport rail system, is now extended to the airport, giving a convenient, 20-minute service for those heading to the city centre. Single fares on the Airport Express Line are less than £0.30.
Taxis at the airport are recognised by their yellow-and-black livery. They can be found outside the Arrivals areas of the terminals and, although they are metered, it’s best to agree on a price for your journey before it begins. Air-conditioned cabs are rare and attract a surcharge on the average price of around £0.20 per mile. Radio taxis can be hired at the stand outside Terminal 3’s Arrivals exit, cost at least twice the regular rate, but their vehicles are newer, more reliable and air-conditioned. The journey takes up to an hour, dependent on traffic. Taxi trips here are cheap by Western standards.
Indira Gandhi Airport to Delhi city centre is about £3
Indira Gandhi Airport to Agra is about £35
Indira Gandhi Airport to Vrindavan is about £15
Buses linking the airport with Delhi are provided by the Delhi Transport Corporation and run regularly from 05:00 to 04:50, stopping at numerous places along the way. The bus stop is outside Terminal 2. Bus number 392B takes up to 1 hour, 30 minutes to reach the city centre, dependent on traffic and time of day and costs less than £0.50. The buses can get very crowded, making them best avoided by lone female travellers. Bus is by far the cheapest form of public transport here.
Terminal 1 and 3 are in use, with Terminal 1 dealing solely with domestic flights and Terminal 2 covering international flights as well as more domestic routes. Air India is the major carrier, offering countless domestic flights in addition to routes to London, New York, Paris, Chicago, Toronto and Frankfurt. British Airways flies to London-Heathrow, as does Jet Airways, while KLM flies to Amsterdam and Lufthansa offers a route to Frankfurt. Annual passenger throughput is nudging 36 million.
Outside Terminal 3 is a multi-storey car park that accommodates 4,300 vehicles, with automatic ticket dispensers, pay points and provision for long- and short-term parking. Travelators move passengers seamlessly to and from the terminal. Premium ‘Park ‘n Fly’ daily or long-stay bays cost around £10 and are available at both terminals’ car parks, with hourly parking costing around £1.
Wi-Fi internet access is provided across the airport and is free for the first 20 minutes, although a mobile phone number is required to access the service. Charges after the first 20 minutes are around £1.20 per hour.
There are information desks in both terminals.
Service Centre: +91 124 337 6000
Passengers with reduced mobility are offered wheelchairs, designated parking bays close to the terminals, ramps and lifts, special seating areas, adapted toilets and assistance throughout the entire check-in process, if required. Disabled travellers should contact either their airline or the Airport Management Office with their requirements in advance of arrival.
Restaurants and Bars
The airport offers a choice of fine dining, quick service eateries, coffee and liquor bars, and sweet and ice cream outlets. In Terminal 3’s airside lounge is the Smoke House, serving international dishes, and South Indian cuisine is found in both terminals’ Arrivals areas at Vaango. The Grid Bar in Terminal 3’s Domestic Departures lounge offers snack, drinks and a smoking area, and in Terminal 1’s Domestic Departures lounge you’ll find Fresc Co with its international cuisine.
Plaza Premium Lounge
ITC Green Lounge
Amex Platinum Lounge
Money and ATMs
Currency exchange counters are available in terminals 1 and 3, and six Citibank ATMs are found in the landside and airside areas. A branch of ICICI Bank is located in the Terminal 1 Arrivals area.
The nearly new Terminal 3 is a shopaholic’s delight for its huge duty-free area and good number of gift, souvenir, fashion, accessory and designer boutiques such as Versace and Boggi, all set in one of the largest retail spaces in South Asia. Terminal 1 has its own shopping attractions, including Metro Shoes, Swarovski and Ethos, and not forgetting Parcos with its perfumes and cosmetics.