Delhi Metro Airport Express Train Essential Guide

New Delhi Airport Express
Craigdietrich / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Delhi Metro Airport Express train line, known as the Orange Line, opened in February 2011. A much anticipated part of Delhi's expanding Metro train network, it cuts travel time to Delhi airport from at least one hour to about 20 minutes. What a huge difference! Trains, imported from Spain, travel the 22 kilometer (13.7 mile) distance at 80 kilometers per hour. Almost 16 kilometers (10 miles) of the track are underground. It's the fastest metropolitan train ride in India.

Here's what you need to know about the Delhi Airport Metro Express.

Where are the Stations?

The Airport Metro Express Line runs from New Delhi Metro Station to Dwarka Sector 21. New Delhi Metro Station is situated opposite New Delhi Railway Station on the Ajmeri Gate side (to the east). Walking time between the two stations is only a minute or two. However, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind.

When exiting New Delhi Metro Station, you'll end up near Platform 16 at New Delhi Railway Station. This is convenient if you train is departing from a higher numbered platform (there are 16 platforms) but less so if you train is departing from Platform 1 on the Paharganj side of New Delhi Railway Station. The walk between Platform 1 and Platform 16 is quite lengthy and will take about 15 minutes. You'll find porters, wearing red shirts, at the exit to assist and carry your luggage though (be prepared to pay around 100 rupees per bag).

Alternatively, if you have a lot of luggage and/or young children, you may find it easier to take a prepaid taxi from Delhi airport to the Paharganj entrance of New Delhi Railway Station.

If you want to get to the Paharganj backpacker area by Airport Metro Express, you'll need to walk across the bridge at New Delhi Railway Station, and it will be in front of you. The other option is to take an auto rickshaw from New Delhi Metro Station to Paharganj. (See where to stay in Paharganj).

There are two Airport Metro Express stations in the vicinity of Delhi airport: Delhi AeroCity (the airport's new hospitality precinct) and Terminal 3. The Metro station at Terminal 3 is an underground station that's connected to the terminal building. After clearing customs, you'll see signs in the arrivals area pointing to it. A lift will take you down to the level where the station is. It's a short walkable distance, and you can carry your luggage there on a trolley.

If you're traveling on a domestic stand-alone budget airline (IndiGo, Spice Jet, GoAir), you'll have to take a transfer bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 to catch your flight, or get off the train at Delhi AeroCity station. A shuttle bus service is provided from Delhi AeroCity to Terminal 1. It departs every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Do note that some budget domestic flights are now departing from Terminal 2, which is only a few minutes walk from Terminal 3.

Other stations on the Airport Metro Express Line are Shivaji Stadium and Dhaula Kuan.

All stations are fitted with extra security, including explosive detectors, x-ray baggage scanners, CCTV cameras, and dedicated response teams with dog squads.

How Much Does it Cost?

Fares have been reduced a couple of times since the Airport Metro Express opened, most recently in September 2015, to encourage commuters from Dwarka to travel by the Airport Express Line instead of the congested Blue Line of the Delhi Metro.

The minimum fare is now 10 rupees. The fare from New Delhi Metro Station to Delhi Aerocity is 50 rupees, and 60 rupees to Terminal 3. 

When Do Trains Run?

The first train departs at 4:45 a.m. from New Delhi Station and at 4.45 a.m. from Dwarka Sector 21. The last train departs at 11:40 p.m. from New Delhi Station and at 11.15 p.m. from Dwarka Sector 21.

The frequency of trains is every 10 minutes during peak times (from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.), and every 15 minutes during non-peak times.

Unfortunately, there are no plans to start operating the service 24 hours a day.

Baggage Check-In

If you're departing from Terminal 3 and traveling on Air India (including domestic sectors) or Jet Airways, it's possible to check your baggage in and get your boarding pass at New Delhi Metro Station and Shivaji Stadium Metro Station. The airlines have check-in counters at these stations on the Airport Metro Express Line. Vistara also opened a check-in counter at New Delhi Metro Station in mid July, 2017. 

The check-in facility means that passengers will be able to travel baggage free on the Metro, enabling two layers of security checks to be avoided. It has grown in popularity and about 500 passengers now use it every day.

The checked-in baggage is transferred to Terminal 3 of the airport through a secure baggage handling system. Passengers can check in up 8 hours before departure. Counters close two and a half hours before departure.

Future Airport Connectivity

A Metro station is also being constructed at Terminal 1 (where low-cost domestic airlines operate), on the Magenta Line. It was supposed to open by the end of 2017 but has been delayed until mid 2018. The Magenta Line will run between Janakpuri West and Botanical Garden, and will particularly benefit passengers coming from South Delhi. There will be stops at Vasant Vihar, Hauz Khas, Panchsheel Park, RK Puram and Greater Kailash.