Airport review: Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore, India

IATA CODE 

BLR

THE FLIGHT

SQ503 to Singapore, economy class

THE ARRIVAL

The arrival is relaxed due to the availability of a day room just a short walk from the airport at the 154-room Taj Bangalore. The flight is in the evening, so a quick refresh and a meal at the hotel's multi-cuisine, all-day dining restaurant Café 77 East precedes a quick van ride, courtesy of the hotel, to departures. The airport is 30 kilometres from the CBD.

THE LOOK

Bangalore is known as the garden city, and its airport continues this theme with verdant greenery throughout, right now they are adding more plants, ponds and trees to Terminal 2, and not just within the terminal. It's one of three airports in the world to have green corridors around the runway.

Inside, Eames Tandem Sling seating in alternating colours of caramel and a darker brown abound. Charles and Ray Eames originally designed their tandem seating for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 1962. They're robust, comfy and look good.

With a high ceiling and abundant space, the airport feels spacious.

CHECK-IN

For the busiest airport in Southern India (at the end of 2018-19, a record 33.3 million passengers transited through BLR), this is one smooth experience. There is no queue for my economy flight to Singapore, and the service is possibly the best I have received in any airport. After being handed my boarding pass, I amurged in a genuine manner to "have a great journey" before being directed to security.

SECURITY

In India, security lines are usually segregated, with women frisked in a private area, but not here. The airport has introduced the unisex Smart Security Lane, a new system that accelerates the process of screening. There is also an Automated Tray Retrieval System. With no lines, getting through took just five minutes.

FOOD AND DRINK

Pick of the bunch is 7Tawas noodles for fresh biryani. There's also a decent Mediterranean café. A sign says Starbucks is about to open soon, which is a shame. There are a few bars, the small one nearest my gate offers quick service, and the usual airport steep prices ($A33 for a half bottle of wine). Best though is the laminated guide to which cricket game is currently on the big screen.

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RETAIL THERAPY

The local offerings are good, the highlight being the silks and saris from Ritu Kumar at Shopper's Stop, a mini fashion mall full of Indian designer wear. Elsewhere there's a good range of Southern Indian handicrafts. There's also two bookstores to peruse.

PASSING TIME

Should you need a kip, there is a line of sleep pods available where you pay per hour. The O2 Spa offers a 30-minute express facial, but the pick, if time allows is a 45-minute jet lag recovery package which includes an aromatherapy massage with "jet-lag eliminator" essential oil followed by a cleansing facial.

ONE MORE THING

There is an abundance of charging stations to prepare for the journey ahead, and free Wi-Fi, although the process of logging on doesn't work for international sim cards; you need a local number to receive the one-time code for authentication.

THE VERDICT

A breeze to get through, good shopping, ample space, relaxing massages, sleep pods, lush greenery and beautifully designed chairs, this airport has it all for those that want to relax before a flight. The Wi-Fi situation is the only thing holding it back.

OUR RATING

4

Andrea Black travelled courtesy of Adventure World Travel

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