It’s a wonderful evening. Cloudy. A slight drizzle that may not drench you even if you are out in the open for few minutes. Believe me, it’s Chennai.
I packed my bags for a 3 nights/ 4 days trip to Beijing, China.
Agenda of the trip to Beijing, China
The main agenda of the trip is as follows:
- Visit the manufacturing facility of SANY Heavy Industry Co. Ltd.
- Attend the 2017 Beijing International Construction Machinery Exhibition & Seminar (BICES 2017)
- Participate in the ceremony to launch the 6000th rotary drilling rig by Sany
- Attend the dinner hosted by Sany as part of the celebrations
- Visit the Great Wall of China and
I booked an Uber cab to the airport. Got a confirmation that the cab will arrive in 8 minutes. Waited for few minutes and the app didn’t show any movement. With suspicion, I called the driver and he was not interested in the trip. Oh Uber! Why you do it to me now and then? Why don’t you punish and remove such drivers from your team? Or, why you can’t match only the interested parties? I was forced to cancel my booking.
I had to go for a fresh booking. And, got a confirmation again that the cab would appear in 6 minutes. I didn’t want to wait again; I immediately called the driver. Thank God, he said he was on the way.
Went through Chennai traffic, just enough to irritate you while you are rushing to the airport, but not too much to bother your plans.
Arrived at the airport with still about 70 minutes to the flight departure. Luckily, the entry gates were free, no long winding queues you would normally see during early morning, particularly Monday morning.
It was a Jet Airways flight (9W831), from Chennai to New Delhi. Check in was a breeze being a JetPrivelege Gold member. The attendant wished me happy journey and said the flight was delayed by 35 minutes. Instead of rushing through the gate, now I am staring at 100 minutes wait before boarding the flight.
Jet Airways gave me a complimentary access to the Travel Lounge at the airport. The lounge was cramped and crowded for its size. But, it was better than waiting in the common lobby. Spent the next hour in the lounge and had some light refreshments.
The flight finally started boarding at around 7:30 pm & took off around 8:15 pm. It was approximately a journey time of 2 hours and 45 minutes from Chennai to New Delhi.
Arrival at New Delhi
The flight landed in New Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport at around 11:00 pm. Collected my baggage and came out of the airport. I collected my passport from Sany representative, which I had sent for visa stamping in New Delhi. Met few other co-travelers of the group.
The next flight was Air China flight (CA948), scheduled for departure at 2:50 am from Terminal 3. The good thing was Jet Airways flight from Chennai also landed at Terminal 3. I just understood that most of the other Airlines, except Jet Airways and Air India, do not use Terminal 3. So, it was a good decision to fly Jet Airways that helped avoid another internal transfer between the Terminals.
Checked in to the Air China flight from New Delhi to Beijing. I was cautioned that the flight might leave earlier than the scheduled departure time.
Reached the immigration counters. Oh no! Looooooong queue that moved at snail’s pace. However, with more than 3 hours at hand, I didn’t feel the pressure. Finally, after a long wait, cleared the immigration and the security checks.
Walked towards the gate. Saw a banner proudly claiming that GMR Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport as the World’s Number One Airport. I just remembered seeing a similar claim made by GVK Chhatrapathi Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
Comparatively, I felt that Mumbai International Airport was far better than New Delhi International Airport. Mumbai International Airport is certainly a notch above the rest of the airports in India; I believe they have reached international standards. But, claims to be Number One Airport in the World is slightly too much. I am pretty sure there are better Airports worldwide.
Reached the gate and started waiting for the boarding announcement.
To be continued …
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