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Travel hacks for transits and layovers

The one thing that most flyers dread and loathe in equal measure are long hours of transit between flights. Airports with their swanky lounges, food courts and well-stocked shops are like mini-malls that are great to loiter around for an hour or two but anything longer than that can get boring and frustrating. And if you have kids in tow, it can all go downhill quite quickly. However, long hours in transit are not unheard of, especially in case of international flights. Some of the top airports across the world have taken this into consideration and made their facilities comfortable for passengers with long hours of layovers ahead of them. Let’s take a look at some of the airport facilities that are designed to make transits a pleasant experience for both adults and children.

Chandigarh

Flying to South East Asia – the best transit airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi

Even though the city recently got its own international airport, it is yet to get its share of international flights. If you are flying out from Chandigarh to South East Asian destinations such as Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, or Kuala Lumpur, your best bet is to take a hopping flight via Delhi. Most flights to these destinations via Delhi have a connecting gap of seven to nine hours. With the posh T3 terminal at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport equipped with modern facilities, there is plenty to keep you pleasantly occupied during this transit period.

The lounge houses the most economical duty free shop, where you can spend some time shopping for gifts and souvenirs. The airport also has a well-stocked foodie bar with counters of almost all the leading food chains, along with some outlets of Delhi’s famous local restaurants and resto-bars. The waiting lounge also has baby care facilities that can be used for nappy changes, feeding and putting your little one down for naps, besides a dedicated play area stocked with toys and slides to keep children engaged. In addition to this, Amoeba offers a gaming area that has a lot of fun activities for families to indulge in together. The airport’s T3 terminal also has three premium spas – Ishana, O2 Spa and Eaton Smart Transit Hotel’s in-house spa. If you want to snooze comfortably during the night, you can use facilities such as the Eaton Smart Transit Hotel, Plaza Premium Lounges and sleeping pods like Sam’s Snooze at My Space that have provisions for both on-the-spot and advanced bookings. With currency exchange, luggage storage lockers, shower lounges, smoking rooms, prayer rooms, medical services and rest zones, the T3 terminal of the IGI Airport is a self-sustained facility with a plethora of options for in-transit passengers.

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For destinations like Dubai and USA – the best transit airport in the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai

The once congested and dingy Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility in tandem with global standards. If you are looking to fly out from Chandigarh to overseas destinations like Dubai or USA, you can find better-connecting flights from the Mumbai airport. Of course, long hours of transit in between flights cannot be ruled out. Besides facilities such as shopping arcades, baby care and prayer rooms, food courts, dedicated play areas for children, smoking rooms, premium lounges and a spa in the landside area, the airport also boasts of luggage kiosks, a garden, and three-kilometer-long ‘Jaya He’ art walk that presents a glimpse into India’s rich cultural heritage. The airport does not have any sleeping pods but the couches in the waiting lounge are comfortable enough to catch a few hours of sleep.

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Pune

Flying to South East Asia/US/UK/Middle East – the best transit airport is the Abu Dhabi International Airport

As opposed to Chandigarh, Pune does have a handful of options for international flights, especially to destinations in the US, UAE and Europe. There are no direct international carriers flying to South East Asia yet and you’ll need to change planes at Mumbai for these travels. If you are taking an international flight taking off from Pune International Airport to New York, Washington, San Francisco, London, Paris, Milan, or Zurich, the Abu Dhabi International Airport is your best choice for transit. There are a number of airport hotels, lounges and sleeping pods where you can rest and unwind after a long travel. The airport is equipped with all standard facilities such as rest zones, food courts, children’s play area, and more. The real highlight of the transit facility is the access to the Al Ghazal Golf Course, which is open to passengers. If you are a golf enthusiast, you can spend your time playing 9 or 18 holes at one of the world’s finest sand gold courses. Even if you don’t care two hoots about the sport, a visit to the golf course still makes for an enriching experience. It is any day better than idling around at those airport lounge couches.

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Lucknow

Flying to South East Asia/US/UK/Middle East – the best transit airport is the IGI Airport, Delhi

There aren’t many options for direct international flights out of the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow, barring a few flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Jeddah. The scenario may change once the proposed third terminal (or Terminal 3) is commissioned. However, for now, if you are planning any international travel from Lucknow to different destinations in South East Asia, US, or UK, your best bet is to sign up for a connecting flight via Delhi’s IGI Airport.

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Ahmedabad

Flying to South East Asia/US/UK/Middle East – the best transit airport is the Abu Dhabi International Airport

Given the significant presence of Guajarati diaspora in different international cities, Ahmedabad definitely has a better international connectivity as compared to most other cities. The airport has direct flights to most Middle-East destinations such as Dubai, Doha, and Muscat. However, for longer air routes to the US and the UK, the best transit airport is the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport does not cater to South East Asian cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong, and you’ll have to route your journey through Delhi or Mumbai.

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Kolkata

Flying to South East Asia/US/UK/Middle East – the best transit airport is the Hong Kong International Airport

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport caters to several international destinations with direct flight to Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok. However, for passengers travelling to cities in the US and UK, the best transit airport is the Hong Kong International Airport. The swanky airport has all the state-of-the-art facilities ranging from premium lounges, airport hotels, luggage storage lockers, showers, rest zones, prayer rooms and baby care rooms. What makes the Hong Kong International Airport a truly transit-friendly facility is the availability of various recreational amenities such as dedicated TV lounge areas for children, an aviation discovery center with cockpit simulators, an iSports center equipped with simulators for soccer, basketball, skiing, shooting and car racing, an in-house IMAX theatre, shuttle service to a nearby golf course, and miniature gardens with resting lounges. In addition to this, the airport organizes a range of engaging activities for passengers such as Chinese medicinal workshops and exotic tea-making demonstrations.

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