Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bangalore airport 2.0

last weekend was an opportunity to ring out the old and ring in the new.
i was returning from chennai on friday and was supposed to land at the new airport - on day 1 of its operations.
but, due to elections in other parts of karnataka, the opening was delayed by a day.
so, mine was among the last flights that landed at the old airport.

I had many complaints about the old airport - in terms of passenger convenience, once you get into the airport.
but no complaints - in fact all admiration for the little book stall - sankars - that i used to partonise regularly.
small shop, but a very good collection of books- and an ever ready and informed person at the cash register, always ready to help.
i bought a book - other than the usual magazines etc - when the person told me that they do not have space at the new airport.
the ride back home took much longe rthan usual - close to an hour and a half - maybe a ploy by the new airport to get people used to long commutes..

on sunday, had an opportunity to go to the new airport to receive my niece.
decided to try the airport shuttle service, rather than drive.
the ride to the airport was by a volvo bus - that took an hour and 20 minutes in the afternoon.
being a new landmark, one could see many people picnicing there!

it was spacious in terms of parking spaces, the foyer, the arrival area etc.
but overall, it gave an impression of an international standard small time airport..
from the number of people i could see - it will soon be crowded.
the airport is still under construction and getting stable in terms of services and facilities.
maybe that is airport 2.0 - like web2.0 - constantly evolving and ever in beta.
this is reinforced by the 'mechanical' problems with the starircase / aerobridge that made passengers wait a couple of hours inside the aircraft, bagge belts that took more than 40 minutes to deliver baggages and even the parking gate, that would not let anyone out of the parking lot for more than a couple of hours.

the return trip was not by volvo - as they are only once an hour and it would have been a long wait.
the driver was new to the route, and took a wrong turn - and nearly got lost.
the only other passenger - apart from us - had to navigate. that and the traffic, made the return trip more than an two hours and fifteen minutes.

as i talk to persons who have been using the new airport in the last few days, the initial impression seems to be positive.
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