Mumbai airport is one of the main entry points into India. It's the second busiest airport in the country (after Delhi) and handles more than 50 million passengers a year. It's also the world's busiest airport with only one operational runway.
If you haven't been to the airport in a long while, know that it was leased to a private operator in 2006 and has since undergone major expansion and upgrade. This includes the construction of new domestic terminals and a new integrated international terminal, Terminal 2, which opened in February 2014.
Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Mumbai (BOM). It's named after a revered Maharashtrian warrior king.
- Airport helpline: +91 022 66851010
- Website: https://www.csmia.aero/
- The international and domestic terminals share a runway but are located in different suburbs of the city. The international terminal is at Sahar in Andheri East while the domestic terminal is in Santa Cruz, 30 kilometers (19 miles) and 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of the city center respectively.
Know Before You Go
It takes one and a half to two hours to travel between Mumbai airport and Colaba, the main tourist district in South Mumbai. However, travel time is much less early in the morning or late at night when traffic is lighter.
Budget airlines GoAir and IndiGo operate their domestic flights from Mumbai airport's domestic Terminal 1. Check-in is at Departures Gate 1 (Indigo) and Departures Gate 2 (GoAir) on the ground level. The arrivals area, including baggage claim and transport, is located in a separate concourse on the ground level. SpiceJet relocated its entire domestic operations to Terminal 2 from October 2019.
Terminal 2 services all international departures and arrivals. In addition, full-service domestic airlines (Vistara and Air India) and SpiceJet use the terminal for their domestic flights. Terminal 2 has four levels as follows:
- Level 1 - Transport (prepaid taxis, car rentals, and hotel reservations).
- Level 2 - Arrivals
- Level 3 - Domestic Departures (Gates F and B)
- Level 4 - International Departures plus check-in for all flights (including domestic).
Security checks take place before immigration at Terminal 2 to enable passengers to place items that fail the security check into their check-in baggage.
- Upon arrival at Terminal 2, after you've cleared immigration and collected your luggage, you'll have to get your hand and carry-on bags scanned while passing through customs. Your check-in bags will also be scanned if they've been marked with a chalk cross. The scanning is to detect smuggled goods or undeclared items on which customs duty may be payable.
- If you're transferring between domestic Terminal 1 and international Terminal 2, the only option is to take a taxi. Unfortunately, there's no longer a free inter-terminal shuttle bus. Allow 30 minutes to complete the trip as you'll need to take the outside road and there may be traffic congestion.
- Free WiFi is available in both the domestic and international terminals. However, an Indian cell phone number is needed to register to use it.
- Passengers with special needs are catered for by reserved parking slots, ramps, lifts, and bathrooms. Wheelchairs and attendants are available inside the terminals.
- Money exchange counters and ATMs inside the terminals.
- Luggage storage facilities are provided at the domestic and international terminals. The counters are located at the arrival hall exit ramp of domestic Terminal 1 and the ground transportation lobby of international Terminal 2. You can store your luggage starting from 180 rupees for six hours. Bags can also be transferred from storage at Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 for a fee.
Parking at Mumbai airport is divided into general and premium categories. Terminal 1 has designated parking for 750 cars, while there's space for 1,500 cars at Terminal 2. Rates start from 140 rupees for up to 30 minutes and increase to 360 rupees for four hours, before increasing by 130 rupees per 60 minutes up to eight hours. The rate for eight to 24 hours is 1,000 rupees. Motorbikes pay less. Frequent travelers have the option of buying a monthly parking pass.
Cars and taxis can directly access the airport from Sahar Elevated Road, which provides seamless connectivity from the Western Express Highway. Motorbikes and auto-rickshaws need to take a dedicated lane through the existing Sahar Road. In addition, those vehicles aren't permitted to enter the departures or arrivals areas of Terminal 2.
Unfortunately, Mumbai airport doesn't have direct rail connectivity, so taking the train to or from the airport isn't recommended if you're unfamiliar with Mumbai's public transport system. There aren't any direct buses connecting the airport to the city center either. Auto rickshaws are an option but they only operate in the suburbs and won't take you to South Mumbai. Therefore, a taxi or car service is preferable for a less stressful journey.
Taxis and Hotel Transfers
The easiest way to get to your hotel is by taking a prepaid taxi from Level 1 of the new Terminal T2. Luggage charges are additional. Hotel pick-ups are available from Level 2. Prepaid taxis are also available at the domestic terminal. The counter is located near the exit of the arrivals area.
App-based cabs such as Uber and Ola operate at Mumbai airport, and are a good option if you have internet connectivity on your cell phone. The fare is usually less than a prepaid taxi. Do be aware that a surcharge is payable for airport pick-up though, and there can be a substantial wait during peak times.
Where to Eat and Drink
There are a wide array of food options for any budget at the Mumbai airport.
- Cafe Chino: A low budget option for sandwiches and drinks.
- Chai Time: Locally sourced teas.
- Ultra Bar: A swank locale to grab a cocktail or beer.
- Curry Kitchen: A mid-priced choice for north Indian cuisine and chaats (snacks).
- Indian Kebab Grill: Freshly made meats, with vegetarian options as well.
- Baker Street: A low budget pastry and coffee shop.
- Olive Bistro: An Italian mid-priced restaurant.
- Street Foods: An assortment of meals highlighting the street food of India.
- The Beer Cafe: Grab a brew and a snack—the cafe has 10 varieties of tap beers and over 50 international beer brands.
Terminal 2 has a number of airport lounges for passengers. The full list can be found here.
- GVK Lounge: for first class and business class passengers. It's located on Level 3 and 4 of Terminal 2. Facilities include concierge, business center, library, spa and shower, smoking zone, food, and beverages.
- Loyalty Lounge: for holders of eligible MasterCard, Visa, Priority Pass, Airport Angle, Lounge Key, Diners and Amex cards. Paid access to the lounge is also available. It's located on Level 3 of Terminal 2. Facilities include a buffet, unlimited alcoholic beverages, reading materials, and wireless Internet.
- Pranaam Lounge: a less glamorous option for everyday passengers who wish to avail of lounge facilities. Buffet, nonalcoholic beverages, wireless Internet, baby care room, luggage storage, reading materials are provided.
Mumbai Airport Tips and Tidbits
- One of the highlights of Terminal 2 is a grand museum that showcases Indian art on a long wall. The roof of Terminal 2 is also unique. It has been inspired by dancing white peacocks.
- The international terminal is busiest at night, while the domestic terminal is busy during the day. Immigration and security check can be slow during peak times.
- Runway congestion is a big problem at Mumbai airport. Flights are often delayed 20-30 minutes because of this.
- Mumbai airport commonly causes confusion to travelers because both the international and domestic terminals, while being located in separate suburbs, are referred to as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. If your ticket for a domestic flight states that it's departing from the international airport, this does not necessarily mean the international terminal. Make sure you check the terminal number and go to the correct one.
- Prepare yourself for a stark contrast as you arrive because planes fly closely over the large slum next to the airport.