How to get from the airport in India to your destination
01 Sep 2021
After all the organization to travel to India, you should not arrive unprepared at the airport in India. So what's the best way to get from the airport to your destination? After a grueling flight, with heavy luggage and in a completely new world, there's nothing better than having a clear plan. Instead of sitting on your suitcases outside the airport and being asked from all sides where you want to go, you can head straight for the means of transport of your choice.
In this article, we will help you decide which option is best for you at the airport in India. For this purpose, we provide information on the five largest international airports in India: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai.
Have you already thought about exchanging, changing and withdrawing money in India?
Taxi at the airport in India
Taking a taxi from the airport in India to the place of your choice is the most convenient way to travel. At all airports you’ll find counters where you can book a so-called prepaid taxi. The advantage is that you can choose your destination directly at the counter and pay a reasonable amount for it. This saves you having to negotiate with the taxi driver. If you still want to take on the challenge, there are plenty of eager regular taxi drivers - don't worry!
The counters for booking a prepaid taxi are usually still inside the airport building. In Mumbai, you'll find them before you even have to go through customs. In Delhi, the counter is located in front of the airport. So keep your eyes open for counters!
During booking you can decide whether you want an air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned taxi. At the airport in Bengaluru, you can even ask explicitly for a female taxi driver - this is a great option if you are travelling alone as a woman and still feel a bit insecure when arriving in India.
If you are staying in a hotel, guesthouse or hostel first, then you should ask them about the possibility of picking you up from the airport in India. This is definitely the easiest option.
Uber/ Ola App
A popular way to book a taxi at the airport in India is through the apps Uber and Ola (the Indian equivalent of Uber). Both companies are active in all five cities. Apart from just airport pick-up, these apps can be useful for getting around Indian cities.
Check out all you need to know about Uber and Ola in India here!
First, of course, you need the app and, in the case of Ola, an Indian number. If you don't have an Indian SIM card yet, you can't use Ola. With a German number, you still have the option of Uber. If you don't have Uber or Ola, you can book a taxi in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai at an Uber/Ola counter. These counters are also useful if you don't have internet or data.
The Wi-Fi at the airport in India is sometimes only accessible through a code (OTP) that you receive as an SMS. However, these OTPs can only be sent to Indian numbers. Therefore, you should not assume that you will have Wi-Fi in any case. If you have a data package from your mobile phone provider in Germany, then this option is not a problem.
With Uber, you can book a ride up to 30 days before arrival. You will get the specific information about the name, number plate and location of the driver in the app at the airport in India. You can pay for the ride in cash or with the credit card stored in the app.
At the airport in India, certain parking spaces or parking decks are often designated for Uber and Ola Taxis. In Mumbai, this is parking deck P7 at Terminal 2. In Delhi, the third ramp at Terminal 3 is reserved for Uber and Ola. In Chennai, follow the signs to Ground Transportation. In Kolkata, you will find the counter and pick-up point for Uber and Ola at the Arrival Lower Level. The Uber zone in Bengaluru is behind Café Coffee Day, the Ola pick-up point is behind the BMTC bus stop near parking deck P2.
Metro and Trains at the airport in India
Most large cities in India are trying to connect their airports to the metro by expanding it. Delhi and Chennai have already succeeded. However, the metros and local trains do not run at night.
In Delhi, the Orange Line (also known as the Metro Express Line) has a direct connection to Terminals 1 and 3. The metro runs there with high frequency, you can be in New Delhi in 20 minutes and pay a maximum of INR 60. If you have to travel further by long-distance train, the metro will take you directly to New Delhi Railway Station.
The spotless Chennai Metro will take you from the Chennai Airport Metro Station to the city with equally high frequency and at the same price (max. INR 60). If you don't want to carry your luggage to the station, there are shuttles to the metro station at the airport.
In Bengaluru and Kolkata, the airports are connected to the local train system. Trains run from the BLR Halt Station to the suburbs of Bengaluru. The station in Kolkata is called Bimar Banda Station. Connection to the metro network in Kolkata is planned soon, but has been delayed due to COVID.
In Mumbai, neither the metro nor the local train system is connected to the airport. The nearest stations for local trains are Vile Parle Railway Station and Andheri East Railway Station.
Busses at the airport in India
Getting from the airport in India to the place of your choice by bus is very cheap, but also difficult, especially with a lot of luggage. Moreover, they do not run at all or only to a limited extent at night.
In Delhi, several bus lines leave from Terminal 3 in front of the Centaur Hotel. To get to Terminal 3, you may have to take an Inter Terminal Shuttle.
In Mumbai, BEST state buses depart from Terminal 2. In Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai, buses leave from bus stops just outside the airport.
In Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, there are even auto-rickshaws to the airport. However, we would not recommend this option with luggage. It's still good to know if you need to pick someone up from the airport and you don't have to go far.
We hope this article has helped you decide on the best mode of transport from the airport in India to your destination. Once you have arrived and settled in, you can start exploring the beauty of India.
Written by: Tanja Holbe
Cover Photo: Taxi at the airport (Credit: Atharva Whaval - Unsplash)
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