Flying domestic in desh

It was ages since I had been to Bangalore’s domestic airport. Recently, we had to make a quick trip out of Bangalore and chose to fly. I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole different airport than what I remember of it from the 90s, when I had been there last. The whole airport was quite clean and fairly organised. Now, we went on a Wednesday afternoon when it is least likely to be crowded, so I have no idea how it is on weekends and other peak hours. I have heard people liken it to local bus-stands!!

Now a days, there are many airlines competing to ferry the masses within India. There’s Air Deccan, Kingfisher, GoAir, Jet Airways. Some of these operate very cheap, like the SouthWest airlines in the US. So, a lot of people are able to afford and travel by air. Not to forget, a lot of people make a decent dough to afford it too. All of this, a good thing. I got this pic on the right in a forwarded email from a friend and couldn’t believe the billboard competition in the sky, literally. Just goes to show how much of a market there is for flying here.

Image Courtesy: Forwarded Email

After getting off of the taxi, this is the domestic terminal we came to.
The waiting lounges all along the gates. This was more than sufficient on a Wednesday afternoon, but I really wondered how it would be on a Fri evening or Sat morning, especially because of the comparison of the airport to a bus-stand.
The air conditioning worked moderately, so the temps were on the warmer side. I prefer it that way, than see tons of energy being spent to keep everybody cold when it is quite hot outside.

A small shop for snacks. It has definitely lost the look of the old government-type coffee shops.
Unfortunately, I didn’t use the restrooms to see how they were. After all, in an Indian government setup, I think, the restrooms say it all. :)

The view from the waiting lounge.
The waiting ‘Kingfishers’. Kingfisher is not a low-cost airline and chooses to keep it quite nice for its customers. We flew Kingfisher and were impressed with their timing, service, and their overall working ability. The insides of the Kingfishers are pretty good too and makes flying a pleasant experience.
As we took off, here’s a shot of good ol’ Bangalore.
There’s of course the new Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) coming up in Devanahalli. And when that becomes functional, the current HAL Bangalore International Airport is going to shut shop. I hope they put the existing airport space to good use then. Personally, I would love it if they continue to use the existing set-up for a domestic airport. However, that is not going to happen. Now, what remains to be seen is how we are all going to get to the airport that is all the way in Devanahalli, especially when some of us have to only take a 45 min flight to someplace. Yes, they are planning on an elevated exclusive expressway to the airport. We will see! We have to also account for the time lost in security checks, boarding, alighting, etc. It maybe wiser to just drive down to these towns and cities than fly! What with the freeways being quite good?!


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