Day 1 – BIAL

The Jet Airways B737’s wheels barely touched the tarmac when it rose its nose and took off. My introduction with the new Bangalore airport on its first day after inauguration almost came to an end before it began. A bird hit with an earlier flight forced my plane to take off at the last moment of its landing to effect a wide round turn and land again.

Once on the ground, we were made wait for at least 20 minutes idling on the taxiway. Apparently neither the ATC nor the airport authorities were were clear on where to park our plane and were tossing the ball between themselves.  Finally sense prevailed amongst one of them and we were ushered to aerobridge No 1. I was wary of alighting into aerobridges. A forthnight ago, I had alighted the same plane at the old HAL airport. I was sitting at the end of the aircraft and hence proceeded to the rear exit. A step ladder was being attached and the steward at the rear urged my to exit by the ladder. As I stepped out, I heard the airhostess announcing that the exit would be through the aerobridge from the front. By the time I was down on the parking bay, they removed the ladder and I was suddenly alone, looking like an idiot, while the rest proceeded to make a dignified exit through the aero bridge. Thanfully, there was no such mix up here. In fact there was none on the ground to bring a stepladder. The aerobridge 1 was never used. Probably that is why we were stranded between it and the entry into the exit corridor of the airport. We were crowded into a small room after coming down an escalator. The door was locked and there was nobody to open it. Someone started to knock the door, shouting wildly as the room was getting crowded thanks to the down sliding escalator. 10 minutes later someone opened the rear door that led us back onto the parking bays. We were led along the shuttle bus lines to another door through which we entered the exit lobby.

At the luggage belt, we waited almost 30 minutes before we could collect our bags. Apparently, they were allowing only one luggage train at a time and with three other flights arriving just ahead of us, we had to contend with the wait till our little train arrived. A cursory visit to the wash room revealed chaos. The loos were clogged and stinking….on DAY ONE!!! The automatic taps at the sinks were already out of order. We stepped out into a chaotic exterior which revealed 4 lanes for vehicles. The first lane was meant for A/C Renault Logan Airport Taxis that seemed to be idling for the want of passengers. The second lane was for vehicles used by arriving passengers and the third and fourth for departures. It was pure chaos as passengers were confused where to stand.

The ubiquitous Bangalore cops with their hats were looking totally out of place idling here and there. The driver of the car that came to pick me up noticed me and asked me to stand where I was. Apparently he too had no idea where to take me. It took him half an hour to get the car. Apparently, he had parked the car a long way and could not drive directly into any of the lanes. He was made to go out, drive about 4 km to the end of the airport approach, turn around and enter the lanes. For such a modern and supposedly well designed airport, I had to walk across the lanes avoiding cars and other vehicles to reach my car even as the driver was waving frantically at me. The security personnel were urging him to move on.

Finally I made it out of the swanking new Bangalore International Airport. The next day, I read the news of the chaos called BIAL. Vijay Mallya is pissed off. There are no televisions, announcements are unclear, there were too many retail outlets and too less stock and the ATC was bungling with the arrivals and departures.

I returned to the airport six days later. It took me 60 minutes from Indiranagar to Hebbal and another 40 minutes from there. The parking was a mess. There was no order or method. Cars were stopping everywhere and people alighting anywhere, moving into the departure terminal dodging vehicles. There were quite a few cars parked on the side of the approach road 3KM away. Probably these people were going to pick up someone and were avoiding the chaos in the airport. The check in was smooth and so was the security check. The Taste Of India outlet provided a delicious Bisi Bele Bhaat at an outrageous price. They were collecting Airport Tax from International passengers and the toilets seemed to work this time. Only my flight was late as usual.

On the whole, it was a bad experience when compared to the new airport at Hyderabad. Now that was one good experience.

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2 comments so far

  1. Vidooshak on

    Have you noticed how the mainstream media has absolutely NO news about the chaos at BIAL after it opened? All the news items are from *before* May 24, simply warning us about how the opening was so shoddily planned. Since then, it appears that the clout of L&T, Siemens and others involved with the chaotic new airport have prevailed upon the newspapers to maintain silence. On the other hand, a Google Blog search reveals pages of posts about the “joy” of flying out of India’s Silicon Gully

    Now that Deccan will fly the VIPs in choppers, even those IT honchos will stop protesting against the government apathy.

  2. BIAL Communications Team on

    Hi ,

    Thank you for your interest in Bengaluru International Airport. Your comments and feedback are appreciated, we are taking your feedback given on your blog seriously and will take steps to improve. If you have any queries on the airport do feel free to get in touch with us.

    Regards,

    BIAL Communications team


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