Thousands of fliers have had a roller-coaster experience from dazzle to despair at the new airport terminal in its first four days. There have been sundry complaints, from an escalator that doesn’t work to the baggage belt that doesn’t move. Teething trouble, they say. But Metro travelled through the facility and found problems where there should be none, even more so in a new facility
Swank, not spic and span The washrooms in the domestic section are wet, which is a shame. In Delhi’s T3, a cleaner almost follows a passenger and mops the floor every time the washroom is used.
In Calcutta, the bins are full and threatening to brim over; the glass façade is stained inside; and there’s a carpet of dust on the portico.
“The toilet is slippery,” said Prosoon Banerjee, an architect in Guwahati who arrived on Friday.
Calcutta has only 126 cleaning staff for the 2.5 million sq ft terminal, handled by a single agency.
Directions, please On the way to the airport, the signages are so small it is easy to miss them.
Outside the terminal, there is nothing to direct a passenger to the gate closest to his airline counter. Inside the domestic section, you have to search for the washroom, the water kiosk, the phone booth or the boarding gates.
When a passenger gets out of the aerobridge on the first floor on arrival, there’s hardly anything to show the way to the ground-floor exit. “We had to guess our way to the conveyor belt. There, we had no display board indicating where the baggage would arrive,” said Kinsuk Sengupta, an engineer who lives in Dum Dum. “After 15 minutes or so, an airline official announced the bags would arrive at belt No. 9.”
T3 will shame Calcutta again. There’s a signage almost every step there.
Cafe few There are two food counters and a lone coffee shop at the departure level. Over 200 passengers of an Emirates flight to Dubai, which could not take off because of a bird hit at 9am on Friday, had no access to food for several hours being seated at the arrival lounge. “I’m hungry and I don’t know what to do. There’s no help around,” businessman Suresh Keswani said at 2pm.
Touts They are few in number but they have already made an entry. “Luxury car chahiye kya?” said a man standing next to the taxi bay. Asked where his car was, he pointed to a white Indigo outside the arrival gate where cars are not supposed to stop for more than 10 minutes.
The police were only metres away. “We will not allow any touts here. Anyone who is caught will be arrested straightaway,” an officer thundered minutes later.
Sanjay Mandal and Sushovan Sircar