Traveling through world’s best airport — Indira Gandhi International !?!
Ok! Here I am writing about my experience travel through the World’s Best Airport, Indira Gandhi International, New Delhi.
So, traveling has been a great joy for me especially in the past 2 years, my family has travelled to international cities including Amsterdam, Bali, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Los Cabos, Lucknow, New Delhi, Singapore, Vancouver and Whistler!!!
While Vancouver and Whistler were via Road Trip the rest have been through air travel, in which I passed through the security checkpoints, either via checkin or layover, of San Francisco International, Dubai International, Changi International— Singapore, Hong Kong International, Zurich International, Sao Paulo Domestic/International, Rio De Janiero International, Indira Gandhi International (IGI) and Domestic — New Delhi, Schiphol — Amsterdam and probably missing a few.
This past month in February 2017, I went to India to attend my brother’s wedding, and my handbag was had significant amount of jewelry, but not a whole lot to raise alarms. During arrival at IGI we had a connecting flight from International to Domestic, although the domestic flight was through International terminal, hence passing the security again.
Now, here I am who wears literally no jewelry in order to avoid the beeping security alarm and zoom through the women’s line while my bag goes through the other open scanner belt where my family was. The security detects I am carrying too much ‘metal’, which I should take out separately which I think was fair and make my bag go through another run in the scanner belt, between this the security passes my bag to the belt wibbles wobbles it so if there were any lose items can easily fell off, and while they were doing so, they order me to open ALL my jewelry for their display!!! I go a bit defensive and tell him that I am going to open packet at a time (I had maybe 4 pouches/packets and one large envelop). It was painful and I felt the security was enjoying the process, and I was sweating that I will lose some of the ‘metal’ in this interrogation!!! Me and my husband tried to make this a point that just before arriving to IGI, we went through Frankfurt security and San Francisco security checkpoints and did not had this experience, and the security guy straight out told us that the scanners at the other airports are not strong enough and if we are carrying scissors, or nail clippers we will get through at Frankfurt and San Francisco. Anyhow after displaying him all my possessions I was off clear and on my way to Lucknow…. But not happy at all, in agony that I had to display my personal possession in public to a security guard so that I am not a terrorist?
In about 2 weeks I am back at IGI for Departure so I can reach my home-sweet-home to San Francisco Bay Area, California. And obviously was mentally prepared for the torturous security again, but here life gives me another spin at different kind of bad experience. We have a flight back via Swiss airlines, we reach the Airport 4 hours early, but the checkin does not starts until 2.5 hours remaining, to avail early checkin we are standing in line for about 40+ minutes, the checkin starts, at the counter the two ladies checkin in for us ask my husband, “Sir, do you have batteries in your checked in luggage?”,
Him: Asks me, I say “Not that I remember”.
Lady: “Ma’m are you sure you don’t have any batteries?”
Me: Thinking carefully, I remember a small gift (given to my son) which has 3 AAA batteries installed in it. I didn’t know about the context of the question so I thought to be helpful and said that there is a gift which has AAA installed in it, the gift is secured in a plastic bag.
Lady: Ma’m you will have to take it immediately out and carry it in your handbag.
Me: Why was this information not published, while we were waiting 40+ minutes in the line we could have easily managed to remove the batteries?
Lady: Ma’m you have to quit the line and take the battery off and then come back for checkin.
Obviously not a very pleasant experience but we had to comply, came back home searched the whole darn internet but couldn’t find the battery requirement where I have to uninstall the batteries from a device and carry in carry-on instead of checked in luggage. Every where the requirement is to have spare batteries in the carry on, not the ones installed in a device. (And let me add to find a small gift like that in 4 gigantic checkin bags is not an easy task)
Here is the doc specifying the battery requirements, which clearly indicated that we were within the compliance when carrying the battery secured in a device: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/Airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf
Anyhow the 10–20 minute checkin became 1+ hour thing, going through immigration was another pain, probably will save the story for some other time another blog.
Came to the security line, again the same experience but with extra rotten cherry on top. The security officer says I have too much metal and will have to open ALL bags, this time however the lady guard came around and began tossing and turning the boxes and the jewelry inside it, which was really the worst experience, someone touching my private property almost felt like an interrogation without a warrant.
Anyhow we were off of the trauma after a few minutes. That was most certainly not a very pleasant experience flying through World’s Best Airport…
Had a layover with the same bag at Zurich, they detected jewelry too, asked me to put it out of the bag in a separate tray — went through the scanner once, and that’s it zoom I went though to my gate…no interrogation required…