Helpful Tips When Departing India

So flying out of Bangalore is interesting.  At one hand they have an amazing system for passengers who take Uber to the airport so passengers arriving via Uber and departing via Uber can easily make it the section of the airport they need to.  However in many ways, it fails the basic common sense approach that I’ve ever seen.

Bangalore Airport is an international airport that serves multiple major carriers.  You’ll need to arrive early to get through security for your flight but also to get through immigration (yes to depart).  All told, it took me over 2 hours from getting to the check in line and through security that it was unbelievable. 

Arrival at the Airport

So getting to the airport is easy.  There is a clear system where the cars that drop you off can do so easily and the cars that will pick you up and take you into the city are clearly defined as well.  Upon arrival, I was really impressed with how easy it was to find the Uber “loading zone”.  There were even signs on the ground that showed you exactly where to go.  I also liked the fact that it was easy to get a signal for your Uber unlike in Mumbai where you’re stuck under layers of concrete so a signal for an Uber is unlikely at best. 

Bangalore Airport

If arriving at the airport for departure, you’ll need to go through the normal security check at the door.  You’ll need to show your passport and boarding pass (or proof of a ticket) to get through the door.  Once through, you’ll be able to go to the check in counter. 

One thing I noticed for my flights in India is that I was never able to check in online because I used an overseas credit card.  Basically, I was required to check in at the counter because they needed to check my passport and the credit card I used for payment.  That took about thirty minutes. 

Security and Immigration

So after you check in, you’ll need to go upstairs to go through immigration.   I don’t know how to put this nicely but I have NEVER seen anything more ridiculously stupid in my life.   I don’t understand why immigration officials would take that much time to get people OUT of their country.  Now I understand why they would ask the purpose of your trip or how long you intend to stay when you ENTER the country, but why does it matter when you leave?  Also, instead of taking photos of people entering the country, they took photos as they were exiting.  Huh? The line to get through was obscene. 

On top of that, there were times when an immigration official just got up and left even though there were people (myself included) in line to go through his station.  I seriously don’t know if that’s the way things are done here but all of us waiting in line were left wondering if he would come back because he just got up and left without warning.  In case you were wondering, he didn’t come back. 

Also, it should be said that they had a lot of officials working since there were a number of international departures around midnight.  I think almost every immigration desk was open and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that when exiting a country.  Usually, it’s 2 or 3 officials who check the arrival stamp and then stamp the departure date next to it.  So the lack of speed wasn’t due to understaffing. 

After that is security and at least that went as smoothly as can be expected.  Of course you need to take your electronics but you also need to take out any charging cables as well.  If you’re going through security, you might want to keep all your charging cables in one bag so that you can pull them out quickly.  Otherwise, you’ll need to remove them and the bag will have go back through the scanner (which is just an aggravating waste of time when you’re in a hurry). 

All told, I arrived at the airport 3 hours ahead of departure but by the time I got through immigration and security, I only had 15 mins before boarding.

Final Thoughts

I wasn’t impressed with the system they have at Bangalore.  I’m not sure if this is the same process at other airports in India but I have to assume that it is.  I guess it seemed like the process was reversed and by taking all this time, it was causing for a lot of stressed flyers who were worried about missing their flight.  I can only imagine what the process must be like departing from a major city like Mumbai or New Delhi.  Bottom line: give yourself a lot of time to get through security. 

Leave a Reply