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India/Nepal Airport Information

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Since I can never seem to find the information that I am looking for online regarding airports, below is what I found during my trip in February 2008:

Delhi: The international airport was not as big or as crazy as I had imagined. Not big at all, really, when compared with US airports like Newark, JFK, Atlanta. Lots of lines--to get through the door, to get your luggage scanned and tied, to check in at the airline counter, immigration, security, more security, several pat downs. Allow enough time to clear all these hurdles. No airlines except Air India seem to have permanent counters, so it's like a treasure hunt finding your airline. Only the large airlines have jetways; otherwise, it's shuttle bus service. There's not much inside in the way of services: a few shops, a few food carts/counters, two airline lounges (outside security), and one table-service restaurant (outside security). There is smoking in the table-service restaurant only. The domestic terminal is in three separate buildings about 30 minutes from the international terminal. There's a bus between the two (which we didn't use) or hire any taxi ($3 or $4 US). There is no smoking in the domestic terminals that I could see. No airlines have jetways, so it is necessary to take a shuttle bus to/from the planes. The buses don't seem to board until the exact time that you think your flight should leave, so don't get antsy!

Agra: Small airport, with one shop, post office. There were spots for a bank and a restaurant, but neither was open when we were there. It seems that only Indian Air and Kingfisher fly to/from here. It's on a military base. Locals we spoke to even seemed surprised that it was open to commercial traffic (I think it may have been closed for awhile). You can't smoke inside, but it would be easy to pop back outside (not as much initial security here as at other airports, nor the crowds).

Varanasi: Small airport, with a few small shops, post office, table-service restaurant (outside security). Inside security, there is nothing but seating and restrooms, although men carry around snacks and drinks for purchase. No smoking inside, but available in the table-service restaurant.

Kathmandu: The international airport is decent, with several shops, including two duty-free. There is no sit-down restaurant inside security (or outside that I could see), but there is a counter serving sandwiches, etc. There is smoking inside--pretty much anywhere. There is a computer/internet café with several laptops, and some TVs to pass the time. The domestic airport is next door, but in a separate building (walkable). It also allowed smoking inside, and had three small shops, as well as TVs.

Pokhara: Small airport, with table-service restaurant (outside security) and combination snack/souvenir shop inside security. No smoking inside.

New Delhi Railway Station: A total zoo--inside and out! But what a great experience! If you purchase e-tickets online, you can go straight to your platform. Double-check your name (for seat assignments) on the papers plastered to the wall near the platform. We weren't prepared for this station, and got the runaround from supposedly official employees who told us we needed stamps on our tickets and ran us up/downstairs and across the parking lot like maniacs (unnecessarily). I'm not sure what the scam was--but it was worth the $5 we paid to have a porter carry our luggage on his head, wait on the platform with us, and stow our luggage overhead on the train (get there early, or they run out of space). Food, drinks, and newspapers served on the 2-hour ride between New Delhi and Agra. Fairly comfortable ride in air-conditioned chair class. Did not use the restrooms on the train, which was probably wise. No smoking. Not a bad way to travel a short distance, and quite inexpensive ($15 for 2 one-way tickets).

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