It’s frustrating getting out of India, even in the big airports like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
Last Friday, I nearly missed my flight to Singapore and Sydney, no thanks to the idiotic Immigration Department at Chennai airport.
I waited in line for a little more than an hour to get through Immigration.
There were hundreds of people in two queues but the immigration counters were manned by four in one queue and six in another. And they were so painfully slow, taking more than a minute per passenger.
Worse of all, there were several senior officers standing nearby and talking among themselves, as if nothing was happening. It was clear they knew that the process was taking a long time, and there was the possibility that some people might miss their flights if they didn’t speed things up.
But they blithely carried on talking, causing lots of aggro and frustration all round.
It is all the more amazing considering that this could have been so easily solved, with technology being so readily available to speed the process of checking passports and other things.
Getting to the check-in counters is another story altogether!
Most airports are too small to handle the large crowds, so only travellers are allowed into the terminal. But first you have to bulldoze your way through the normally dense crowds, show your passport and ticket to some cops (which is fair enough).
Once you’re through immigration, there are more checks, but the irritating thing is that once is NEVER enough at Indian airports. You’d have to show your passport and boarding pass at least three times!
Not only that, you got to have a baggage tag with each hand-carry luggage. And each of them has to be scanned at least twice and then rubber-stamped by an officer. If the tag is not stamped somehow, it’s too bad for you because you’d have to go through the process all over again, no questions asked.
Indian airport authorities obviously don’t trust their scanners because at some airports, they do physical checks of your luggage just before you board the bus to the aircraft!
What a hassle this is!
But what’s even more amazing is that this has been going on for years, and the airport authorities and government obviously do not care about efficiency.
They probably consider it a privilege for you to be in India rather than the other way around.
I love India, but this airport madness drives me insane!