New Delhi IGI airport is biggest and busiest airport in India. Daily thousands of passengers arrives at New Delhi, many of those travelers are 1st timer at Delhi. In New Delhi .In this post I am trying to share a comprehensive guide of Delhi airport arrivals and also share all possible mode of transport to city and some common scams which you (specially foreign tourist) should be aware of.
Delhi airport have 3 terminals.
Terminal 1> Domestic flights of Indigo* and Spice Jet**.
Terminal 2> Domestic flights of Goair*** and Indigo*
Terminal 3> Domestic flights of Spice Jet** ,Indigo*,AirasiaIndia ,AirIndia ,Vistara and all international flights of all airlines.
Do keep in mind that
*Indigo domestic flights operates from all three terminal.
**Spice Jet domestic operates from T1 and T3 .
***Go air domestic operates from T2 on
Rest all domestic airlines only from T3
When anyone arrives by an international flight will arrive at T3,process is same as any International flight arrivals ,immigration ,baggage and then custom. Non Indian passenger need to fill arrival card which most probably given in aircraft ,if not then you can get at immigration hall.
Currently after disembarking and before immigration have to go through document verification (Air Suvidha Self Declaration Form, Vaccination Certificate/RT PCR) .
Some time when aerobridges are busy then flight parked at remote bay and passengers are ferried to terminal by bus,every thing is same but you wont find smoking zone then,after entering terminal 1st comes international transfer and then immigration.
After immigration you will arrive Delhi Duty free,after Duty Free baggage area.There are ATM,Forex at baggage area and you will also found them at arrival hall after custom.
Delhi airport also offers complimentary WiFi,to connect with it you have to login using your mobile number then will receive OTP,if having a non Indian mobile number and didnt receive the OTP then visit help desk situated at there and they will provide WIFI Coupon .
After getting baggage you will pass custom and arrives at Arrival hall. After lockdown when flight restarted they had started scanning baggage of every passenger so expect an additional 15 min or more for that .If you have connecting domestic flight on same PNR (and having boarding pass for domestic phase) then entering arrival hall take right turn and walk around 50 ft , you will see domestic transfer on right side ,if connecting flight is of Air India or Vistara then you can drop your baggage at their baggage transfer desk and proceed to departure level taking elevator, if other airline like Indigo or Spice then have to take elevator and drop your baggage at baggage drop/check in counter at departure level or may have to change terminal using transfer bus or cab and recheck in at particular terminal.
If have connecting flight of different booking then have to walk till last of the arrival hall further and then take elevator to departure level.
Arrival hall also have a Airtel Sim shop near Gate no 5.In recent time read lots of negative reviews about that shop,after reading those I can say that if possible avoid that shop,you can get Sim at any of the authorised Airtel/Vodafone store at city near to your accommodation.
The Sim available there will cost you around rs900-1000 with data and voice calling plan but in the same time that is available in market for less than 400.If it would have been only inflated rates then still it was ok but it looks the staff are involved in some scam too,1st many tourist shared that the sim they got was a blank sim means no plan was uploaded even after taking 900-1000 and they have to recharge it again, many shared that the sim never get activated and above most note change scam ,means someone gives 2 note of rs500,the staff immediately changed one rs500 to 50 and shows that its only 50,the tourist are mostly tired after a long journey so thought he may have given wrong note and again give rs500,its shameful but happening frequently .The Sim in India cant be activated on the spot ,it can take 2 hr to 24 hr to get activated only after document (Passport copy) is verified by operator so even buying at airport is not much useful ,you can buy after arriving city .Also in general condition you are not allowed to enter arrival area so its not easy (or say cheap) to reach Airtel Shop to raise a complain, have to buy entry ticket at rs 200 to enter.
*May be after lots of complain from visitors (and even I had complained to Airtel and DIAL with proper channel) the service has improved a lot, in recent months didn’t come to know about any note swap or blank sim ,its good if the concerned authority had taken the matter.
Arrival hall also have many cafe/food places, sweet shop, ATMs, Forex, Lounges and chairs to wait. The plaza premium lounge transit hotel is situated at arrival hall, if you have long gap between flights then can use that, they have private sleeping rooms with attached bath.
If your flight is from T3 and have long layover then can use Holiday Inn Express transit hotel,the hotel have domestic section having a welcome kiosk at arrival hall,if you had booked then after custom have to report here and staff will escort you to hotel,if not booked in advance then also you can enquire there about availability .They offers rooms on hourly basis also.
There are 2 Plaza Premium Transit Lounge and Hotel for transit passenger ,other than lounge they have sleeping rooms and bath facility also (extra payment).
There are few food outlets at both ends of arrival hall.There are food court outside the terminal too but keep in mind that if you exit terminal then you cant enter arrival hall again,if having next flight from T3 then have to take elevator to upper level.
If your connecting domestic flight is from different terminal then you have to transfer accordingly.
T2 is just in front of T3 ,hardly 5 min walk with trolley. After exiting from T3 just follow the sign, have to turn left after the pillars ,pass the food court and then to T2. May check my another blog about transfer between T3 and T2.
Terminal 1 >
Terminal 1 is 7 km away from T3.There is a complimentary AC bus service for inter terminal transfer ,bus operates 24 hr with regular interval, journey time is around 20 minute, if having sufficient gap between flights then can be used, sometimes it can be crowded. You have to get your complimentary ticket from helpdesk kiosk showing every passenger arriving boarding pass, departure ticket and id proof, if missed to get then have to pay rs 25 on board .The Kiosk is situated near pillar number 9 and boarding point is near pillar 9 and 10.
You can use cab too for inter terminal transfer, all option will be shared in next part where will discuss how to transfer to city.
Arrival and transfer discussed, now lets see options to reach City. Though till now discussed all about Terminal 3 but for transportation option will share about all three terminal.
Taxi are the most important mode of transport from Airport specially when some one is travelling with family and baggage,
Prepaid (green-black)is the most common taxi used by passengers arriving 1st time or don’t have proper idea about address they have to go. All three terminals have prepaid taxi, At T3 kiosk are after exit crossing one lane, at T1 and T2 just in front of arrivals, you just have to tell them the area or location, they have fix rate of each area, you give money (no card accepted) and they assign you a cab and give you a receipt, find your taxi park nearby and go, its the simplest option you have. The cost to travel to New Delhi Paharganj / Cannaught place should be around 600-700.Keep in mind that prepaid taxi are non AC, not well maintained and majority are old Maruti Omni van . In recent year some travelers had reported few scams with the prepaid cabs. One is 500 rs note scam, passenger gave one or two 500 or any other big note and the person at kiosk change the note with 50 and ask to give more, just beware and be alert. Another scam is hotel close/curfew scam ,this reported mostly late night when there are hardly anyone on road, they try to convince you that hotel you booked is permanently closed or the area your hotel is situated is under curfew due to riots, when the tourist is convinced that this may be the case they take them to a fake tourist office who are no more than a scammer ,then the scammers will offer you inferior rooms at highly inflated rates and also tourist looses his confirm booking We should also accept the fact that not all taxi drivers are scammers but there are few who try to ruin the name of all for just few bucks. As there is no way a foreign tourist can get an active Sim at arrival so cant contact hotel directly by self in case of such emergency. Ironically this prepaid cab is operated by Delhi police but still these case happens. Just beware of these.
There is one prepaid booth inside of Terminal 3 at arrival hall too but better to avoid them as any problem happens finding the cab then you wont be able to re enter the terminal.
Meru and Mega cabs are official metre taxi of Delhi airport, at T3 have kiosk just outside arrival near Pillar no 15 and 16 exit at all terminal. They offers AC mid segment Sedan, vehicles are well maintained, you just have to tell the person at kiosk about your location and he will assign a taxi for you, you have to pay after completion of journey as per metre reading ,they are safe and less prone to scam but little expensive than prepaid cabs .Though taxi company says on their website that card is accepted but on the ground only cash mostly.
At T1 and T2 only Meru is available.
These are always readily available so no need to book in advance.
>App based cabs>
Now a days app based taxi ,UBER/OLA are preferred mode of cabs specially among domestic travelers, most of the time its abundantly available, there are specific area assigned for Ola/Uber pick up and its 1st come 1st served based. The system of getting a ride through Uber/Ola at airport is different, here when you book a cab will receive only OTP not vehicle details, there are separate queue at pick point for different type of booking (like Uber Go, Sedan etc) ,just join the queue as per vehicle booked and get into the vehicle, tell driver the OTP and ride will start, now don’t have to wait for any particular cab to arrive.
At T3 the pick up area is ground (L0) of multistory parking, its just 2-3 min walk from exit ,its well signed ,only negative i found that during summer time its very uncomfortable to wait for cab due to heat and humidity but ok when can saves some bucks .Pick up point for T1 and T2 is just outside, wont have problem finding them.
Keep in mind that rs 150 will be added in your Uber/Ola bill as airport parking/entry charge. If arriving at T3/T2 and travelling solo and wants to save some bucks then take complimentary shuttle bus (from Pillar no 11-12 at T3) to Public Transport Centre and then take Ola/Uber.
During my last few arrivals at T3 (specially during evening to late night) I found quote by UBER/Ola highly inflated ,I was checking for Gurgaon Sector 49 and both were regularly quoting between 800-1000.In normal days even after adding rs 150 parking/pick up charge it should be around 500,so without wasting time all time i took metro to Aerocity and then Uber ,always it cost me between During non metro operating hours can take free shuttle bus to PTC and then Uber/Ola but in my ex325-350,
Blu cab is new app based cab service started few months back. It has all electric vehicle fleet. It is also app based just as Uber/Ola, can be booked through app only. They have pick up point on Level 1 of same multi level parking where Uber/Ola have. They have only sedan in their fleet and as it runs on electric so no CNG cylinder is their boot space means more space for luggage.
As per Blu Cab they don’t increase rates as per demand means anytime of the day their rate for any particular destination would be same. Though I personally didn’t used their service but checked rates, showing 499 which is same as normal fare what it should be to my destination (325/350 +150),in future will certainly use their service from airport when travelling with baggage.
>Ladies driven cab>
Sakha cabs offers women driven cab service, it has been recently introduced, it has service only from T3 and booking desk is situated near pillar no 16.
>Car Rental >
There are few company/Kiosk at arrivals which offers car rental (with driver) on Hour/Km basic and for out station tour, they can be used if needed for a day in Delhi or want to transfer other cities and in case of not pre booked with any agency in advance then can go with them. wTI cab, Carzonrent are among them, these rental company have booking desk inside arrival hall of T3.
>Self Driving>Though self driving is not suggested for a foreigner arriving for vacation in India due driving conditions but if some domestic traveler need to hire self driven car then carzonrent offers this at airport, they have kiosk at T3 arrivals, earlier had a kiosk at T1 but now a days I don’t see them, can call on the numbers and I am sure they can provide at T1 also. Zoomcar is not authorized to offer car at any terminal. If booked zoomcar in advance, they will dispatch the car at Aerocity metro station (for arriving at T1) and Public Transport Centre (For T2 and T3).
>Hotel Pick Up>
If not comfortable in any of the above option then you can ask your booked hotel for a pick up, all hotel provide this facility and good option if arriving 1st time and/or late night, driver will we waiting at arrival hall or near exit gate. The cost of the hotel pick up will be higher than any above option and also varies as per the standard of hotel, a general formula is the higher level hotel the higher the cost. Certainly it would be most costly option but also most hassle free.
>Airport Express Metro>
This is the fastest mode to reach city center (Cannaught place) or New Delhi railway station.it operates between 4:30 AM to 11:30 PM. It take 19 minute to reach New Delhi railway station from T3.The metro station is situated just in front of T3 and you can take airport trolley to platform. There are ticket counters at Metro station where you can buy single journey token or smart card as per need, if planning to use metro during your stay in Delhi also then better to buy smart card .If staying at any hotel in Cannaught place then can take metro to Shivaji stadium and then walk or take auto to hotel. If staying at Paharganj then can take metro to New Delhi and then can take auto to Paharganj, hardly 1 to 2 km depending upon your hotel. Airport metro also connects to Yellow line of DMRC at New Delhi and Pink line at Dhaula Kuan so can change at these stations to reach different parts of Delhi.
At New Delhi metro station change to different line is easy with a short walk but at Dhaula Kuan its a long 10-15 min walk internally through a walk way, both metro station are completely different but connected through a walk way.
If arriving at T1 and wants to take Airport Express metro then have to transfer to Aerocity metro station, there are regular feeder bus between Aerocity metro and T1 @RS30 per pax, operates between 6 am and 11 pm.
Terminal 1 also have metro station which is on Majenta line,for travelling to South Delhi and West Delhi this line is better, this line operates around 6 in morning to sometime above 11 in evening.
You may check which metro would be better to reach your location and plan accordingly. If needed to change terminal for metro then can use inter terminal shuttle which would cost rs25 per pax.
You can use http://www.delhimetrorail.com/ planner or google to check the route .
*Though Airport metro is world class, not crowded most of the time but keep in mind that after coming out of metro station at New Delhi/Shivaji stadium you have to face famous Delhi auto drivers and touts, have to bargain with them little bit to reach your final destination. Also keep in mind that lines other than airport express can be heavily crowded during morning/evening rush hour so may not be a comfortable option during rush hours, also beware of pickpocketers in other lines.
Delhi Transport Corporation operates Low Floor (so called AC ) buses to ISBT Kashmirigate/Sarai Kalenkhan/Anand Vihar.The bus to Kashmiri gate (EX 4) operates 24 hr, starts from T3 then T2>T1>Dhaula Kuan>CP>New Delhi railway station>Daryaganj>ISBT,This bus has limited stop and fast service. Rest buses are available from New ATC Tower or PTC/Centaur Hotel, not a tourist friendly service with someone with heavy baggage and have less frequent and also not operate during night, these are ordinary DTC service so can be crowded also.
If arriving at mid night when metro don’t operates and have to go New Delhi railway station or ISBT then Ex 4 is good and safe option .It starts from pillar number 18 at T3 and bus boarding point at T1D basement if arriving at T1,if arriving at T2 then have to walk to T3.
Haryana Roadways operates Volvo to Chandigarh from Airport at regular interval, it starts from Public Transport Centre near Centaur Hotel, free shuttles are available from terminal to PTC ,no need to take cab. Shuttles are available from same boarding point from where inter terminal shuttle operates.
>Punjab Roadway/PEPSU >
Just recently Punjab roadways also started its service between Delhi airport and various cities of Punjab including Jalandhar.These buses also starts from PTC but when coming from Punjab drop passengers at Terminal 3.
Though Auto/Tuktuk are most common mode of transport in Delhi but due to revenue generation model of privately owned Delhi airport its not allowed to pick/drop (or say enter) from Terminals. At T3 and T2 its not possible to get auto but at T1 you can get, just walk towards IGD metro station and near metro gate you will find auto .Not suggested for long distance travel but if arriving at T1 staying at Mahipalpur/Aerocity then may use them.
If arriving at T2 and T3 and wants auto to reach Mahipalpur or nearby area then take complimentary shuttle to PTC and there you will find Auto but again have to bargain as there would be limited number of Auto waiting.
Cloak room/Left Luggage facility>
There is cloak room facility also at T3 (not avilable at T1 and T2),this may be beneficial for those who have long lay over and wants to visit city for a the time.The cloak room is situated at L1 at metro building in front of T3.It operates 24 hr.There are few eateries also at metro building to grab quick snack.
Few things you should always keep in mind.
>In any case dont accept any ride from anyone who approach you after exit and offers cheap/economical ride.Always take cab from official booking point.
>Beware of riot/curfew/hotel close down scam.There are some problems in every city,Delhi being the capital of world largest democracy protest are common,few times violent too but in my memory of last 10-15 year there has been not a single day where curfew has been imposed at any of the area where tourist stays like Pharaganj,Cannaught place,Karolbagh or South Delhi.
>There is nothing like “Government Tourist Office” which can book hotels or cab for you,those all are fake and scammers and unfortunately they are in hundreds around CP/Paharganj.
>There is only one government tourist office which is typical government office,wont book anything for you,just an information desk,also operates only during typical government office hours,not late night or early morning. https://www.google.com/maps/place/IndiaTourism+DELHIemail@example.com,77.2185457,18z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x390cfd35da864b8f:0x97d01718f1f60123!8m2!3d28.628766!4d77.21964
>Few Usefull websites>
I had also made a detail video of Delhi airport international arrivals. It was shot Precovid19,though now a days there is some extra step involve pre immigration but after that every thing is almost same.
Video for transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2
Hope I had touched all relevant topic for a 1st time traveler arriving Delhi airport.
Other than scams at Airport there are few common scams going for years at New Delhi railway station and also around tourist attractions, I had wrote a detail New Delhi railway station guide including probable scams ,can click here to visit.
Thanks for reading