What you don’t know about claiming baggage at Mumbai’s International AIrport
I don’t know why but coming home is always the most exhausting part of a journey. On our return home from Milan we had a fifty minute stop over at Munich during which time we had to clear Passport Control and walk on to our Gate. Because our plane was going ahead to another Schengen country, we did not disembark at a Gate but had to be bussed to the Terminal. In all this we didn’t collect our pram and even though a helpful airport attendant assured us that our pram was loaded onto the next flight, all through the flight back home we kept worrying about what state we’d find it in.
We needn’t have worried though as the pram was well looked after and arrived at Mumbai Airport much fresher than our co- passengers from Canada who were waiting at the Gate to board the flight to Mumbai. I felt so sorry for the dozens passengers who were being ferried the airport on carts and looking like assorted pieces of baggage piled high, clutching on to their bags, their hair askew, their clothes mismatched ( sweaters with Salvar kameezes and Nike trainers) and eyes looking glassy eyed and dazed. Honestly I can’t imagine how children would subject their old parents to a journey like this – according to me there can be nothing more cruel than uprooting your parents from their homes and transporting them to a country where they can do little else but look after children who don’t really relate to them or watch endless hours of Cable TV, cook heaps and heaps of Indian food while making sure that the fire alarms don’t go off and the house doesn’t smell of garlic and ginger as is wont to do with Indian food.
By the time we reached the end of our journey, we were equally tired not because the plane ride was particularly uncomfortable but largely because one kid in the back insisted on screaming for most of the 7 hour journey!
At the Baggage Hall
But what was worse was the welcome to Mumbai . The moment we got into the terminal we were literally accosted by porters who promised to help us with the baggage. With one lift to transport 26 wheelchairs to the Immigration Hall downstairs, we decided it was faster to go down pram et al ( yes, we were promptly handed the pram at the plane itself). When we got to the Baggage Hall, there was not a trolley to be found and we soon discovered why the porters were so eager to serve – this apparently was a code for ” do you want your baggage in ten minutes or two hours?” Obviously we didn’t understand the code as did many other passengers and we had a torturous wait where 4 bags were released every 10 minutes and the baggage belt shut down every 15 minutes for a 2 minute break while announcements were made in English, Hindi and Marathi apologising for inconveniencing the passengers. Luckily the screaming kid stopped screaming and the passengers began clapping every time the belt began working else there would have very well been a riot on hand.
When we finally got our bags we were asked to screen our hand luggage before exiting the Baggage Hall!!!!
What really got my goat was the video which was WhatsApped to me ……
This I thought was the ultimate insult to injury ……….
p.s. I heard from friends that they pass on a 5 dollar bill to the porters and get their bags in as many minutes!