a VirtualTourist member
A local says get there four hours before takeoff, with long check-in lines and 1km length for security check. I wonder what VTs have experienced there.
I don't think it is as bad as you may think.. Go early and have your documents in order..
Best of luck.
Thanks for your prompt reassurance. I'll set the alarm that morning!
I've had the luck that getting there more than two hours in advance, I just had to twiddle my thumbs for a while since they would not open for check-in before 2hrs.
I don't think the airport processing (check-in, security, immigration) was outside the norm of any other large international airport.
Four hours is insane. For one thing, Indian airports don't allow you to check in until 3 hours before flight time. About 7-8 years ago, Delhi check-in was very problematic during the construction of the new international terminal, but that situation cleared up when the terminal opened up. If you are flying coach on a domestic flight, I would go 2 hours in advance, definitely not more. I generally arrive at the airport an hour before flight time, but I don't check bags and generally fly in business class (plus I am familiar with the airport layout).
The biggest variable I've run into in catching a flight out of that airport is the drive time to get there. That can be highly variable, especially during busy times of the day. Coming in at mid-day (heading in from Connaught Place) during a weekday took close to 2 hours and doing the same on a Sunday night took closer to 45 minutes.
There was a bit of a delay at the car pre-screening to enter the airport grounds and it the lineup to get through the security check to enter the terminal building took about 10 minutes, but once inside things moved fairly quickly.
Like VTer, GrumpyDiver, has mentioned, the traffic in Delhi is insane. Rush-hour (0900-1030 hrs; 1630-2100 hrs) can be very bad on weekdays owing to the Gurgaon traffic nearabouts the airport (T-1 as well as T-3).
I normally start from home (South Delhi) 3 hrs ahead of the scheduled departure for T-1 and 3.5 hrs for T-3.
There is a new checkin counter at the Shivaji Metro Station. Here's the link:
It will be a 5 kms ride from your hotel to T-1. Luckily, you will be travelling against the traffic, that is, on a Monday morning, all employees from Delhi will be travelling to Gurgaon while you will be in the opposite lane travelling to T-1. Besides, for a 10 am flight, I'm sure you would like to check out by 8:00 am latest?
Terminal 1 is a bit congested, especially in the morning hours. Two hours ahead of flight time might be ok though, maybe 2.5 at most.
It eases upa bit by noon though, usually.