Bangalore Airport Experience

Bangalore HAL Airport. 29th April 2008. 10.30 PM

I had to pick up my wife, who was scheduled to arrive by the 10.10 PM flight. She had given me a missed call around 9 PM, indicating flight was ready for take off.

I was before the Bangalore One office close to the Arrival. Having been to the Airport several times before, I knew Parking inside was a nightmare. So, the strategy was to wait till I got a call and then drive in and pick my wife up. I had done this successfully before.

I saw a pile up on the Airport Arrival Road leaving to the Arrival Terminal. Vehicles were queued up right from Airport Road. The right turn into the Airport Arrival Road had been closed - this keeps getting closed and open according to the whims and fancies of the concerned folks!

I hung around on the side of the Airport Road awaiting the missed call, which was not forthcoming. So, I decided to park my car on the roadside and walk up to the Arrival Terminal. This was about 5 min.

I saw the queued up vehicles on one side, as I walked. It was evident that the primary cause of this jam was vehicles parked on the Airport Arrival Road - mostly taxis. Where else would they park - would be the question to ask! I found a large LSG's Airline Catering vehicle, caught in the midst of it.

The area before the Arrival Terminal was chaotic, to say the least. There was incessant honking from one vehicle or the other. This rose above the engine sound as vehicles crawled inch by inch, either to leave the Airport or to find a parking or to pick or drop some one. To add to this was people - drivers waiting with placards for guests, relatives and friends waiting for their loved ones, airport staff trying to move the luggage trolleys, security guards waving before behind barricades.

Vehicles were rampantly parked, right under "No Parking" boards. There was a tow vehicle, from which emanated the sound of someone yelling for these vehicles to move. The pleas went unheard. I didn't see any sign of towing, since this would have been virtually impossible in that traffic!

It had rained earlier in the evening. Thus the weather was pleasant.

It was around 11.30 PM when my wife finally emerged from the Airport. On asking, how the 70 minute flight took 2 and a half hours, she said, "Oh, the flight moved for departure and then was stuck in the queue to take-off. It finally took off at 11 PM".

Now I could really sympathize with the vehicle drivers - if the flight itself got delayed by 1 hour due to traffic jam in the air (or the surrounding area), then what to say about limited roads in Bangalore?

Seeing this, one thing was clear to me. The alternate Airport was a must. If not for anything else, at least for better waiting experience in the Arrival!

As we walked back to our car, I was wondering if my car was still there or had it been towed away! On finding it in the same place I had parked, the next worry was, was there a Parking sticker. Fortunately there was none. It had been less than a month, since my two wheeler was towed, while shopping in the Reliance Fresh in Marathahalli. The area before the shop was "No Parking". On asking the cop, where I was supposed to park, he said "Oh, find a gully somewhere". If a shopping chain like Reliance a) got the license to run and b) have the gall to run a shop with no parking, what do we say about common mortals!


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