The Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport has two terminals:
the International one, formerly known as Sahar Airport, at about 30 km (20 miles) north of the town and
the Domestic terminal, formerly known as Santa Cruz Airport, at about 26 km (17 miles) from the heart of the city.
When you get out of the International terminal building, look at your right for the prepaid taxi counter, they offer the fairest prices to reach the centre.
While when you take a flight, don't forget to fill in the tag which must be fasten to your hand luggage: a stamp is put on this tag when your luggage get checked and it's absolutely necessary for passing the custom.
Before landing in Mumbai you will be given an immigration form . The form consists of 3 parts, Immigration, Departure and customs.
Fill in the immigration form and hand it in to passport control. The customs part of the form needs to be completed and given in just after you have gone through customs. Ensure the departure part is filled in before you reach the airport to leave to save time.
Daily flights to Mumbai are offered from almost every Indian city with an airport.
Domestc airlines serving Mumbai include:
Air India www.airindia.in (not a favorite of mine)
Indian Airlines www.indian-airlines.nic.in (not a favorite of mine)
Go Air (*) www.goair.in
Jet Airways/Jet Lite(*) www.jetairways.com
Kingfisher/Kingfisher Red(*) www.flykingfisher.com (serious financial difficulties. I'd avoid)
The budget airlines are denoted by a (*). All of them are very good. They sometimes offer excellent rates when booking far in advance, but you can easily book the same day and get a very good rate.
For a one-stop comparison of flights check www.cleartrip.com or www.makemytrip.com. I'd recommend booking directly with the airlines though in case you need to change your travel plans. I have had occasion to change my dates and have never had any hassles and never been charged any fees.
Arriving at Mumbai airport was with very little hassle.
Leaving was a major problem! I previously visited Mumbai during March, and it was not as chaotic as it was now when I left early January.
They are busy renovating the airport, which complicates things even more.
I do think you need to be at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight leaves. I'm sure if renovations are completed, things will be much easier.
The Domestic Terminals in Mumbai are a much more pleasant experience compared to International. Things run very smooth. I have used both Kingfisher and Jet, and had no problems.
Remember that you need to have your luggage security checked before going to the counters. Hand luggage should also be tagged and stamped.
Over the last couple of years, the airport has been expanding - more restaurants, nicer/larger duty-free shopping, etc. The latest is a spa. If you find yourself with extra time at Mumbai International (Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport) you may want to head to the spa. The O2 Spa is located in the departure area - once you pass through immigration and security.
Although the prices are a little higher than outside the airport, they're still considerably less than other cities. Treatments include foot reflexology (Rs 695 for 30 minutes, Rs 1,350 for 60 minutes), facials (starting at Rs 895), manicures and pedicures (startind at Rs 795), and neck and back massages (Rs 695 for 30 minutes, Rs 1,350 for 60 minutes). Relax and enjoy!
This view of Mumbai's Airport from space taken by a satellite shows the place where I work at the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport!!! The two runways crossing each other are very prominent and I work on the aircraft at the International Airport (Terminal - 2) which is the C-shaped structure you see above the runways. You may catch me working on one of the Air-India aircraft and sometimes even on the other airlines which we handle!! HAHAHA!!!
Picture courtesy: Australian Earth Data.
For travelling from the Train Stations in Mumbai to the Airport could be any of the five main line stations, so it all depends on which train you are arriving into Mumbai!!! They are Mumbai (Bombay) Central and Bandra Terminus for the Western Railway and Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Kurla Terminus for the Central Railway and Dadar for both the railways!!! If you are travelling with luggage then you will definitely be better off using a taxi from the city and it should cost you something in the range of about Rs.300 from CST or Bombay Central station and about Rs.150 from Dadar but if you are in the suburbs of Bandra or Kurla then you can take a autorickshaw which is a three wheeler semi open cab and cheaper than the taxi and it will cost you about Rs.55 from Bandra or Kurla Terminii. Anyway before travelling just flag down the meter in front of you and pay only according to the tariff card. There are different fares for the air conditioned cabs and they are about 25% more than the normal fares. Also the fares at night are 25% more from midnight to 0530 am. for both the cabs!!! The International Airport is different from the Domestic Airport but both are called by the same name!!! And some flights which are domestic also leave from the International terminal so check in advance where your flight is departing from!!!
If you are arriving into the Airport and leaving for another destination in India by train then the best way is to take a prepaid taxi from the airport where it is slightly more expensive but without any hassles of finding one or being cheated by the driver taking a longer route to fool you!!!
Now in the days of economic slow down , the best way to travel to Bombay is by air. The fare has come down drastically. The no of flights to Bombay has increased many folds with at least 7/8 domestic economy airlines offering tickets at very cheap prices depending on the timing. Now one can go to Bombay in the morning and come back in the evening after completing the work, thus saving on hotel bill. The fare costs around Rs.4000+ to Rs11000+( USD$100 to USD$200) depending on the airlines and the services offered. The most expensive is Kingfisher Red, Jet Airways and the economy no frill flights are Jet Lite, Goair, Indigo, Kingfisher. There are at least 12-15 flights a day to Bombay from Kolkata itself and from Delhi or Bangalore the no must be not less than 30 flights a day starting from 5.00AM to midnight. The flight time is about 2 hrs from Kolkata.
It is always wise to buy your ticket from the net, who knows you may struck a better deal! The rail fare to Bombay from Kolkata in AC II tier is about Rs2000+ or around USD$50-55. It takes about 28 hours to 42 hours almost two nights. It makes sense to travel by air and save on hotel bill.
Today, after renovation Bombay airport is one of the best in the country.
We took a Kingfisher airways flight from Delhi to Mumbai. It was comfortable and the service and food were good. Every passenger is given a pouch containing a couple of sweets, condiments, breath freshener seeds, hand freshener and a pen.
The tickets cost us around 13,000 rupees.
Our flight left in the early morning, and the return flight in the afternoon.
As well as juice and water, we were served lunch of black chickpeas, Chicken biryani [rather hot], mixed pickles ; chocolate mousse.
Mumbai has two Airports-The Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport and Santa Cruz Domestic Airport.At a height of 26 feet above mean sea level, The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport serves as one of India's major international airports. It is also the busiest, currently handleing up to 45 landings and takeoffs per hour.
International Travellers: On arrival at the Chattrapathi Shivaji Airport (35 kms from city centre), the immigration, baggage retrieval and customs areas precede the remainder of the services. Exchange can be obtained at bank counters just outside the customs area. Hotel bookings and pre-paid taxis are available. There are no shops in the arrival area. The departure lounges are marginally better equipped for shopping. They also have a restaurant, a snack bar and exchange. However, check in and emigration is chaotic because of the bunching of flights at night. Phones are available at both arrival and departure.
Domestic Travellers: On arrival at the Santa Cruz Airport (25 kms from city center) the baggage retrieval area is skirted by counters for various services such as hotel reservations. There is no pre-paid taxi counter, although some auto-rentals may represent themselves as such. Taxis are available from a policed queue outside the terminal. The departure area has minimal shopping and a snack bar. Phones are available at both arrival and departure.
The airport is currently in the middle of renovations. It seems to be going along quite well. Duty free shop is almost completely open again. Toilets are greatly improved... in fact I would say at the moment it is better than many european airports.
Mumbai is one of the main international airports in India. Air India is their international carrier and Jet Airways their main domestic carrier although Air India does operate some domestic flights. Mumbai’s airport is call Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport (formerly known as Sahar International Airport), around 30km from downtown. It is the busiest airport in India. The domestic airport is Santacruz airport, around 26kms from downtown.
This was my first experience of Air India and I cannot say I was impressed. The flight was full to Mumbai, the plane old and in parts I thought some of the interior was falling apart. A coat cupboard door flew open during take off and was left swinging along with coathangers and jiggling bags stored there. A passenger actually managed to kick it shut. There was also a loud crash in the galley during take off. The initial drink was pretty much thrown at you whether you wanted it or not and later when asked if you would like an alcoholic drink, you were advised by the attendant to order two because he wasn’t coming back. Fortunately the departing flight from India was a little better. Jet Airways on the other hand was fantastic. The internal flights were short but the attendants were on the go all the time and you were well looked
Santa Cruz Airport, situated about 29km north from central Mumbai, is one of the busiest domestic airports in India due to the fact that Mumbai is one of the main transport hubs in the country. The Domestic Terminal is divided into Terminals 1A and 1B. Terminal 1A serves Indian Airlines, its subsidiary Alliance Air, Go Air and Kingfisher Airlines. Terminal 1B serves the various private airlines such as Jet Airways, Air Sahara, Spicejet and Air Deccan.
Taxi's are available outside the arrivals terminal. Bargain there prices down and simply walk away if they quote silly prices as plenty are available. Allow plenty of time to get to/from the airport as traffic is bad and the airport is quite far away from the city centre. It took me just over an hour to get from the airport to my hotel on Colaba Causeway Road (Hotel Celeste - see review). Hotel bookings are available in the arrivals terminal. I flew in from Udaipur with a Swiss couple I met up there and we ended up staying in the same hotel after booking it at the bookings counter. I also flew from here return to Aurangabad to see the caves at Ellora and Ajanta before heading on another flight to Goa.
Mumbai's Chhatrapti Shivaji International Airport is about an hour by the taxi to Colaba if there isn't a traffic jam. The terminal building is rather run down but is currently under a facelift. The domestic airport on the other hand is modern, clean, bright and airey with several cafes and restaurants around. It is about 4km from the main terminal and is connected with free shuttle bus service only if you have a connecting flight although I am pretty sure they won't mind you hopping on it if you are a foreigner. Domestic travelling in India is very affordable particularly from a big city like Mumbai where most airlines fly to. Book online early to get the best prices, although you are required to have an Indian credit card if you are thinking of doing so.
I have listed a couple of domestic budget airlines.
These other websites may also be useful: