While Mumbai may not be at the top of your list for a quick family getaway, India is rapidly becoming one of the hottest spots for business travel. Forbes reports the country already recorded $26 billion in business travel spending for 2015, with spending expected to hit $45 billion by 2019 with an annual growth rate of 11.5 percent.
Mumbai is India’s business, financial and communications center, and these tips will make traveling through Mumbai airport as painless as possible.
Know the Airport’s Names
Mumbai airport is now a single airport officially known as Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport, but your local taxi driver or hotel clerk may still refer to it as Santa Cruz Airport or Sahar Airport, the former names of the two terminals when they operated as two separate airports.
Know Your Terminal
Even though the two terminals are now one airport, those two terminals are more than 3 miles apart.
- Terminal 1: The domestic terminal, formerly Santa Cruz Airport. The terminal consists of three buildings that house most of the domestic flights. Terminal 1 is busiest during the day.
- Terminal 2: International terminal, formerly Sahar Airport. The new terminal opened in January 2014 and replaced three older buildings. Here you’ll find all international flights as well as a few domestic flights. With an average load of 95 flights per day, Terminal 2 is busiest at night.
Expect a Lengthy Transfer Process
If you end up with a flight transfer from one terminal to the other, you can expect the transfer process to take at least two to three hours. Also note that some flights may require you to take an airport bus out the plane to board from the airfield.
Know the Security Basics
Unlike other airports that encourage you to show up as early as possible, Mumbai airport doesn’t allow any check-ins more than four hours prior to your flight. Additional security tips come from HithaOnTheGo, which recommends:
- Printing out your ticket confirmation, which is the only way the armed officers outside the airport will let you enter. Emailed confirmations on your smart phone won’t cut it.
- Keeping your shoes and jewelry on your body, along with your passport, visa and boarding pass. Passengers are patted down and waved with a detector wand.
- Removing electronics from your baggage, the same way you do in US airports.
- Checking in bags if possible, as any carry-ons are likely to be manually scanned and even inspected more than once. India airlines typically don’t charge a check-in fee like US carriers do.
- Getting stamped. You’ll only be allowed to board your flight if your carry-on flight tags and your boarding pass are stamped at security. No stamp means no entry and the need to go through the entire security process once again.
Traveling through Mumbai airport may be a bit different than heading through those in other parts of the world, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Swift can help make travel to India even less of a hassle with expedited India visa services for the busy business traveler who is always on the go. Please contact us with any questions, we’re always happy to help!
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.