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What to do during a long layover in New Delhi?

What to do during a long layover in New Delhi?

Old Aug 10, 09, 8:06 pm
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What to do during a long layover in New Delhi?

I had never been to So.Asia in my life until this May/June, but now I find I'm flying AA292/AA293 via DEL for a 2nd time just 3 months later, this time on the way to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On the return in mid-Sept. I will have a 12hr layover in DEL on a Saturday.

1. What do y'all recommend for a bit of tourism? I'll be there from about noon 'til midnight.

2. Is there a place at DEL where I can strore my bags until AA checkin opens? e.g lockers? left luggage desk?


(p.s. already got confirmed eVIP upgrades both ways... sweet!)
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Old Aug 10, 09, 8:20 pm
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Originally Posted by billgrates3 View Post
I had never been to So.Asia in my life until this May/June, but now I find I'm flying AA292/AA293 via DEL for a 2nd time just 3 months later, this time on the way to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On the return in mid-Sept. I will have a 12hr layover in DEL on a Saturday.

1. What do y'all recommend for a bit of tourism? I'll be there from about noon 'til midnight.

2. Is there a place at DEL where I can strore my bags until AA checkin opens? e.g lockers? left luggage desk?


(p.s. already got confirmed eVIP upgrades both ways... sweet!)
After that 14 hour flight, + the 4 hours into O'hare from SFO = 18 hrs...even sitting in J...i'd want to do nothing but sleep! Do they have an AC in DEL? Maybe they'll let you put it in there. I'd be uncomfortable leaving the secure area though with that
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Old Aug 10, 09, 8:36 pm
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Originally Posted by billgrates3 View Post
I had never been to So.Asia in my life until this May/June, but now I find I'm flying AA292/AA293 via DEL for a 2nd time just 3 months later, this time on the way to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On the return in mid-Sept. I will have a 12hr layover in DEL on a Saturday.

1. What do y'all recommend for a bit of tourism? I'll be there from about noon 'til midnight.

2. Is there a place at DEL where I can strore my bags until AA checkin opens? e.g lockers? left luggage desk?


(p.s. already got confirmed eVIP upgrades both ways... sweet!)
There are no left luggage facilities at DEL and its not advisable to attempt checking your bags through from Dhaka to ORD. One option is booking a room at a nearby hotel. If not a room, try using the bellhop services at a hotel. Another option is to rent a car (they come with a driver) and keep your bags in the trunk while the driver takes you around the city. As you are prbably very aware - driving in India is not for the faint of heart.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by demkr View Post
After that 14 hour flight, + the 4 hours into O'hare from SFO = 18 hrs...even sitting in J...i'd want to do nothing but sleep! Do they have an AC in DEL? Maybe they'll let you put it in there. I'd be uncomfortable leaving the secure area though with that
OP is going the other direction.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 8:41 pm
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There is a third-party contracted lounge for AA pax traveling in F and J. But it requires a special invitation card that you can get from the AA check-in agent. Check-in for the AA flight doesn't open until 9:25pm.

Now, it's possible that 9W might be able to issue your AA boarding pass (from your departure station in Bangladesh, if you are flying 9W), but that won't help you as far as getting your lounge invitation card. Even if you did manage to get through exit immigration with the 9W-issued boarding pass, I highly doubt that the lounge personnel will let you in without the invitation card. When I visited the lounge, the guy at the check-in desk looked about 17 years old and didn't seem to be able to do anything other than collect invitation cards. (He didn't care about checking my BP, and he didn't know if flights were on time, etc.....but that's pretty typical for lounges operated by a contractor on behalf of various airlines. The contractor is usually not even an airline, but a local hospitality/service company.)

My suggestion would be to get in a taxi with your luggage and tour around for the day. In particular, be sure to head to Red Fort. Incredible architecture, well-designed museums, plus some shopping opportunities. India is very, very cheap (astonishingly cheap) to visit, so you could tour around all day in a taxi, eat at a nice restaurant, and spend very little in the process.

Be sure to be back at the airport no later than 7-8pm, just in case there's traffic. Security checks at DEL are ridiculous and might occupy the entire time from 9:25pm until boarding shortly after 11pm.

Bring some food with you onto the plane, or eat beforehand. The meal service on DEL-ORD is substantially reduced (compared to ORD-DEL) because of the unusual departure and arrival times of the flight in the wee hours of the morning. Don't bring any liquids purchased after security because they will do a chaotic 100% physical search of carry-ons, handheld wanding, and pat-down on the jetbridge, and they will take away all liquids except the Kippie baggie. The check is very thorough.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 8:59 pm
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Originally Posted by HNL View Post
There are no left luggage facilities at DEL and its not advisable to attempt checking your bags through from Dhaka to ORD. One option is booking a room at a nearby hotel. If not a room, try using the bellhop services at a hotel. Another option is to rent a car (they come with a driver) and keep your bags in the trunk while the driver takes you around the city. As you are prbably very aware - driving in India is not for the faint of heart.
thanks for the logistics advice... I am staying at the Radisson close to the airport on the outbound leg. I'll ask them if i can leave my bags there on the return.

As for checking thru, Mrs.G and I traveled on 9W from KTM back in June and made that mistake. Never again!! 9W wouldn't deliver the bags to AA... finally after 3 days, the AA staff had to go to 9W and get the bags themselves... getting them back to us 4 days after we returned to SFO.
So I am flying 9W from DAC and I will only check them to DEL this time... thus the need to either schlep them around with me or store them somewhere.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 10:08 pm
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The Radisson is an excellent choice, being the nearest to the airport. If you expect to be exhausted from Dacca (3rd world counties can drain you), you can get a room at the Radisson and rest up for the flight home. The Le Meridien is also a (further away) option and a better oasis, as is the Sheraton (I'm a Starwood guy).

Delhi is a city that, if time permits, an extra day or 3 is in order. The Taj Mahal (the most awesome, beautiful, ... a kazillion adjectives later) is a day trip, well worth the time, and will truly take your breath away.

Expect chaos getting to the airport, at the check-in area, at security the 1st time, in the lounge, at the gate, and peace when the door shuts.

There are so many places to go and see. But be aware: In many cases, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU PROTEST, you are going for a short stop at a rug store, a souvenir store, and/or a fabric shop in between stops.

If you play golf, the hotel can get you a tee time at the Delhi Country Club: not great, but not terrible.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 10:09 pm
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skip the lounges if you have a hotel. lounges are very sub-par IMO
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Old Aug 11, 09, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by demkr View Post
Do they have an AC in DEL?
Oh wow, that one made me quite literally chuckle out loud. Short answer: no. Longer answer: good god no.

Peruse some old posts on the DEL airport. For all the complaining and whining done on this forum, some more or less valid than others, the horror stories of DEL I believe may in fact be understated. It's a rough place. Not "rough = dangerous" though maybe just a little but definitely "rough = hard to deal with."

India of course is a magical country and Delhi has more truly awe-inspiring places and things than you could possible experience in a week, let alone a day. The red fort is pretty impressive, totally over-run with tourists but for good reason, and it's so large inside the grounds that even that isn't so intolerable. It's also right across from "Old Delhi" which is pretty hair-raising as well but very much a way to get a sense of where you are.

If you want to mix it up a little one seemingly undiscovered gem I found randomly was Lodi Gardens, south of the downtown circle and Janpath/Rajpath (read: on the way to-from the airport). It's a park that seems less crowded and has some truly stunning structures, old mosques I believe (think Taj Mahal in terms of general era/style but DRASTICALLY less large and impressive). It's a good place to get a nice peaceful walk in on the way to and from places like the India Gate area (relatively central) and the Red Fort (far side of downtown from the airport).

As for costs the previous poster is correct. Delhi can be astonishingly cheap. It, however, can also be astonishingly expensive. The spread is really dramatic depending on how you organize your trip. Extracting every last rupee from the visiting westerners does seem to be a local pastime.

But I digress. To finish my reply, there's no AC in the DEL airport and to the OP, definitely prep yourself for a challenging experience in terms of crowds and confusion. And a certain special home-grown breed of bureaucracy that you may not find very appealing.

Like I said, rough. Worth it. But rough.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 3:13 am
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If you are American, you will need a transit visa to leave the transit area.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 5:23 am
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Agree anything that is labor intensive in India is cheap.

Things that are capital intensive are not. For instance Delhi hotel rooms at 4-5 star properties are on par with other global capital cities.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by pauleeepaul View Post
Agree anything that is labor intensive in India is cheap.

Things that are capital intensive are not. For instance Delhi hotel rooms at 4-5 star properties are on par with other global capital cities.
In the last couple of years prior to this one, DEL hotels at the top end were ordinarily more expensive than comparable properties in most global capital cities -- only a small handful of other such cities being more expensive than DEL during the fair weather season.

I would book a hotel and use it for a 12-14 hour layover since even September is quite hot still and sweating inevitable if doing the tourist thing and not trying to stick to museums and 4-5 star hotels. For the first time in a number of years hotel rates in DEL are relatively reasonable (and still dropping), so take advantage of it.

Just beyond the international arrivals area -- outside by the parking lot -- there used to be a left luggage storage area but that service was halted (and may still be halted). As long as that is a no-go, a reliable hired car and/or hotel facility to store luggage are the better options to count upon in those circumstances where thru-checking of luggage is not a possibility.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 5:47 am
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Originally Posted by Dallas49er View Post
The Radisson is an excellent choice, being the nearest to the airport. If you expect to be exhausted from Dacca (3rd world counties can drain you), you can get a room at the Radisson and rest up for the flight home. The Le Meridien is also a (further away) option and a better oasis, as is the Sheraton (I'm a Starwood guy).
The Radisson Delhi has a day room type of rate good for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. stays that costs either 4999 or 5999 rupees and that may still actually include the ridiculous luxury tax calculated based on the rack rate of the room occupied (rather than on the basis of the actual rate paid). That rate includes airport transfers too or at least it used to.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 9:08 am
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the toilet paper is rough, too. when you can find some.

ask anyone who's had Delhi Belly.

'nuff said
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Old Aug 11, 09, 1:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Dallas49er View Post
But be aware: In many cases, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU PROTEST, you are going for a short stop at a rug store, a souvenir store, and/or a fabric shop in between stops.


This is 100% true. It seems that every single cab driver in the city has some "deal" with a rug store owner. It is almost obligatory to make a stop at his shop to be given the hard sell. I'm guessing that if you buy something, the taxi driver gets a cut of the proceeds.

Instead of protesting/refusing to make the stop, I viewed it as part of the experience. I was polite, listened to their schpiel, looked at a few carpets, and politely turned them down. They tried a little longer, then let me go back to the taxi. (But they weren't aggressive, don't worry.)
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