Harried passengers jostling for space, serpentine queues moving sluggishly and flights delayed due to time-consuming check-in process — this is Delhi airport's brand new Terminal 3 (T3) for you.
Touted as one of the best airport terminals in the world, T3 has a record number of check-in counters: 168. Passengers, however, are facing difficulties during check-in at T3 for the past two weeks because of a system that is prone to technical glitches.
On Tuesday, three flights — to New York, Frankfurt and Bangkok — were delayed by about an hour due to the faulty check-in system. The computerised system collapsed and the airlines had to resort to manual check-in.
"The system just stopped working due to some technical problem and we had to resort to manual process, which takes a very long time," said a senior official of an international airline, who didn't wish to be named. "The whole process resulted in counters getting closed and passengers boarding the aircraft late and the flight got delayed."
This is not the first time that such a problem occurred at T3. "The technical snags are quite a recurring feature at the check-in counters. We have complained umpteen times to the IT department of DIAL but they haven't resolved the problem completely," he said. "There is complete mismanagement on DIAL's part."
"The system had stopped working for half an hour on Tuesday evening but the problem was rectified," said a spokesman for the airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL).
When a marine engineer, who didn't wish to be named, visited T3 two weeks ago to catch a flight to Antwerp (Belgium), long queues were the last thing he was expecting.
"I had heard that it has more than 100 check-in counters and thought the process will take 15 minutes and reached the airport just two hours before departure," he said. "What I found was a never ending queue at only 10 operational counters."