Saturday, March 15, 2014

T2 - My impressions

Exactly a month after Mumbai’s latest `icon’ the new airport terminal T2 opened; it was time for us to fly out of it.

Let me kill the suspense and reveal the plot. T2 is actually really nice.

You must have read about the trials and tribulations of T2. `Terminal’ 2 was an appropriate name. The ceiling had collapsed nearly killing some Air India staffers. A man in a diabetic coma was perceived as being drunk and left out on the footpath. Mosquitoes capable of inflicting dengue infested the airport. Horror stories of serpentine queues at immigration. Anecdotes from passengers who waited for up to 4 hours to collect their bags.  All this had me worried. However, as I have said, our experience was all pleasure.

One caveat/assumption/submission. You should not question someone’s sense of `taste’ as far as decor is concerned. If you like heavy dark polished furniture and I like sleek Italian furniture, then I am in no position to criticise your house with its heavy furniture. If you prefer to wear a kurta to a dinner while I would wear a shirt, it is simply a matter of taste. As long as the clothes are not inappropriate, taste should not be questioned.

The drive to T2 is fantastic. A new road has been constructed leading off from the Western Express Highway. The road is largely elevated and has new trees along the periphery which when they grow will look fantastic. The new road is dedicated to T2 so you have no rubbish on it. No rickshaws no hawkers no beggars and no traffic. Really nice.

The T2 building itself is impressive. Large modern and with a great sense of space. Every facility was international class. The signage was effective. Security was seamless and immigration was painless. The Business Class lounge is temporary, but I must say it was good. Comfortable chairs, lots of food ranging from sandwiches to Chicken Tikka Masala, a range of soft drinks and free booze. Well staffed. Most comfortable and impressive. You could sit and see the aircraft. I took a few photos. All illegal of course as photography is banned. How typically India. Build a brand new airport with large windows overlooking the runways and ban photography!

Much has been written about the artwork at the airport. There is a lot of art. There are also a lot of lights. This is where I refer you to my point on `taste’. Frankly I hated the lights. I also had a problem with the art. The contrast between the very nice and modern T2 building and, in my view the horribly clichéd `Indian’ art was too stark for my liking. I have taken a few photos. Have a look and make your own decision.

The Business lounge with the lights

More lights

Needless to say the new T2 has not affected the Indian stupidity and idiosyncrasies. You still have a couple of bodies scanning ever passport and boarding card to see if they have an Immigration stamp. Why? You still have to attach a tag on a hand bag and have it stamped. For some inexplicable reason a jacket which also goes thru the X Ray machine does not have to have a tag and consequently a stamp You still have a doltish CISF Guard checking your baggage tag and boarding card to ensure they have a security stamp. Why? Mind you none of this happens in any airport outside India. But that topic could be another blog.

End of the day, T2 is good. 

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