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Newer Page 948 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
India Chennai Airport

16 December 2005

Departing Chennai airport

I arrive at the airport in plenty of time, about 8pm, unlike most airports only passengers are allowed inside the building at all, so thats the first line, outside, with soldiers checking you have a ticket.
Once inside your bag is first xrayed, out in the open, in a big machine that looks like something from the russian space program, once it goes through they seal it up with wire tape with a machine that just about cuts my bag clean in half.
Check in is fast, but chaotic, they havent figured out the whole lining up thing, so there are 5 counters and 10 lines, and arguments. Once again i am amused that everyone getting to the head of the line has some sort of drama, many people are arguing loudly and then the 2 lines for their counter merge into the other counters, creating more arguments.
The next step is immigration, which follows the same lining up procedure (or lack there of) and still more dramas, since 90% of people havent filled out their departure card, dont have a pen, dont know how to fill it out, or best of all, just plain refuse, stating that they shouldnt have to.
Next is customs, where you declare any food stuffs, now this is voluntary, but people are clearly walking through not declaring stuff they are carrying in plain plastic shopping bags, then being chased by soldiers, arguing having their stuff inspected, and thrown out, which leads to more dramas for them, I just walk straight through.
Now you walk about 1km in one direction up a brightly lit hallway, with no entries, exits, shops, seats or anything, up an escelator, and 1km back in the opposite direction to end up immediately above where you started, at least on the 2nd floor there are some shops.....but wait! Officials are insisting that all passengers must proceed through security to departure lounges...its only 8:30 by now and the plane leaves at 10:20, I try to look into the departure lounges and notice theres no shops or anything at all of interest.
I cleverly evade security by saying I am going to the bathroom, then sneak into one of the stores to browse, I bought some pringles chips, and encounter the first store person in India that speaks absolutely no english - which is probably why his place of employment is the international airport.
I only have 500 rupee notes left and this is another problem, as they are expecting correct change it seems, so I have to wait while someone fetches 420 rupees change from some place.

Time now for the hand luggage security check, and this is the best of all, nearly everyone is carrying 10 plastic bags each, and you are allowed 1 case plus 1 bag or laptop or suit/dress bag.....
This is explained by soldiers, this time with machine guns, to probably half the people, many are arguing profusely, and one guy pushes through! He is detained fast by the fattest army guy, probably in charge who presses the gun straight into his back and he is led away! This was fantastic!
Those who actually get to go through the xray, dont seem to understand that metal objects set it off, and nearly every single one is getting frisked and scanned individually with the hand held detector (theres a seperate line for men and women).
I just walk through, drop my bags on the conveyor, and keep walking.....

And so with 2 hours until the flight, I have nothing to do but hope for wifi...success! This update came live from the airport.

India-Chennai-Airport - The last security checkpoint leading to the departure lounge, where crazy guy tried to get machine gunned, I check it out and fake a bathroom break in

The last security checkpoint leading to the departure lounge, where crazy guy tried to get machine gunned, I check it out and fake a bathroom break in order to use the shop!


India-Chennai-Airport - View of the long hallway on the second floor, with the 1 shop on the left.

View of the long hallway on the second floor, with the 1 shop on the left.


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