Monday, 26 February 2007

About a Queue: Delhi Aiport Departures

We're back safely. In the course of the next few weeks, I'll be updating this site with more news about our trip and am hoping to collect views from the rest of the team on the trip, in the hope of providing you with different perspectives of the brief and very full trip.

There are a few things to do before getting back to work - I took just short of 600 pictures which need to be whittled down to a sensible number. I'm going to aim at cutting to 200, which I think is still a fairly reasonable number and still probably too many for anyone to be interested. Fear not, I'll only put a few up here. My home is bit of a jumble; washing done and drying, shoes ready to be scrubbed and put out to dry and a pile of post to tackle. It was only a week! How did that all happen?

Delhi Airport
Now there's an experience! As I mentioned in my last entry, we had to leave for the airport at 3am, so we were up at 2am. My room mate, Sue Jackman, and I were ready quickly, so with time to spare, slept again 'til we needed to be downstairs. Then vehicles were packed and off to the airport for around 3.35am. (The reason for all this time keeping will become evident soon). Delhi airport only permits passengers in the through the doors, so we had to find our way through the crowd outside to the entrance, where we were permitted to enter once Libby had shown them our ticket. Then we joined the first queue, to get our bags scanned and labeled. From that queue we joined the next queue for checking in. This one snaked alarmingly, but we had buckets of time and so chatted as we moved. Once checked in we turned to go through security. It was now 4.35, an hour since arriving at the airport. As we were flying at 6.55am, Richard wondered (aloud) what we'd do to kill time...
We joined a few of the many queues for passport control. Half the group in one and the rest in another. Our queue did not budge. Not that the other queues were making much progress. It was no competition, but we came second, getting through that exercise in an over an hour. Time, it appeared was marching on and it was now closer to 5.45am and we still had a queue to go! The final hand baggage check which took us an hour and a half and meant that we not only missed boarding time, but the gate closing time and the scheduled take-off time. During all this, there was a shift change and so a brief period of time when no-one was being screened at all! There was very little panic though, as we were aware of the many people behind us in the queue also waiting to get onto our plane.
By the time I got to my seat it was 7.30am and apparently still between 150 and 180 people to clear the security checks! Certainly the plane was quite empty. We left at 8.30am. There was more calmness than I have known at any of the many airports I have flown from.

Tomorrow, the first of the photos...

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