Flights To India// Domestic Flights// Classes on Indian Trains// Indrail Pass// Tips For Train Travel
British Airways flies direct to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. Virgin flies direct to Delhi. Air India and Jet Airways fly direct to Delhi and Mumbai and have extensive connecting domestic networks to all parts of India.
Many airlines fly indirectly to India and the journey involves changing flights at the airline’s hub airport. For example, many European airlines fly to India but this would involve changing flights at a European airport such as Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt. Similarly, there are a number of Middle Eastern airlines such as Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways,with frequent services to India from the UK involving a change of flight in their base country. Although these indirect flights can be cheaper, the change of flights means a much longer journey with a connection time often of around 4 hours. These flights can, however, provide the opportunity for a stopover if you want to extend your holiday.
Domestic Flights : India has a number of domestic airlines which offer a reasonably priced way of travelling long distances as an alternative to a long train journey. The airlines are Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo and Go Air.
Indian domestic airlines allow a checked baggage allowance of 15kg. In addition a cabin bag is allowed together with small personal items such as a ladies hand bag, an overcoat wrap or blanket, an umbrella/a walking stick, a reasonable amount of reading material, a small camera or binoculars, infant’s food or laptop computer.
Due to airport security regulations, no cabin baggage is allowed on any flights originating from Jammu, Srinagar and Leh Airports. A small bag is allowed to enable small, high value items such as passport, money, jewellery, camera or laptop to be carried as hand luggage.
If you are arriving on an international flight and connecting to a domestic flight then you will be allowed the international flight baggage allowance for the domestic flight but only if the domestic flight is on the same ticket. If your domestic flight is booked separately, or is on a separate ticket, then you will only be allowed 15kg as checked baggage. Similarly, if you are taking a domestic flight to return to a city for an international flight, you should ensure your checked bag is no more than 15kg or be prepared to pay the excess baggage charges (unless the domestic flight is on the same ticket as your international flight).
The cabin bag allowance is usually 7kg but please check the allowance and bag dimensions for your airline as these can vary between airlines and types of aircraft.
Trains: A journey on an Indian train is an experience not to be missed and many of our itineraries incorporate either a short daytime or a longer overnight train journey.
Classes on Indian trains – There are seven classes of travel on Indian trains. For daytime journeys 2nd AC or Chair Class are recommended. For overnight journeys 2nd AC or 1st AC are recommended.
Air-conditioned first class (AC1 or 1A) – AC1 is a comfortable way to travel, although it’s only found on the most important long-distance trains and costs twice the price of AC2. It consists of lockable 4-berth & 2-berth sleeper compartments with washbasin. All bedding is provided and berths convert to seats for daytime use.
Air-conditioned 2-tier (AC2 or 2A) -AC2 is relatively clean, comfortable and not crowded, a good choice for most visitors to India. It is found on almost all decent long-distance trains, and is the class typically used by middle class Indian families. AC2 provides padded leatherette seats by day, convertible to flat padded bunks at night. AC2 coaches are open-plan with berths arranged in bays of four on one side of the aisle (two upper, two lower, transverse across the car width), and in bays of two on the other side of the aisle, arranged longitudinally along the coach side above and below the windows. Each bay is curtained off for privacy and an attendant distributes pillows, sheets and blankets in the evening.
Air-conditioned 3-tier (AC3 or 3A) – AC3 is very similar to AC2, but it has three tiers of bunks – upper, middle and lower – arranged in bays of six on one side of the aisle, and bays of two (upper and lower) along the coach side on the other side of the aisle. It is more crowded than AC 2-tier, and lacks the privacy curtains and individual berth lights found in AC2. As in AC2, an attendant distributes pillows, sheets and blankets in the evening. Berths convert to seats for daytime use.
AC Executive chair class (EC) – AC Executive Chair Class is only found on the most important Shatabdi Express trains. Seats are arranged 2+2 across the car width. Food and drink is included in the fare, served at your seat. AC Exec Chair class is available to holders of an AC1 Indrail pass. Online booking systems don’t distinguish between AC Executive Chair class and AC1 sleepers; both are shown as AC1 or 1A.
AC Chair class (CC) – AC Chair class is comfortable and air-conditioned with seats arranged 2+3 across the car width. It is a good choice for daytime journeys. AC Chair Class is found on the Shatabdi Expresses and a number of other inter-city daytime trains. It is available to holders of an AC2 class Indrail pass.
Sleeper Class (SL) – The majority of cars on a long-distance train will be sleeper class and is the way most of the less-well-off Indian population travels long-distance. Sleeper class consists of open plan berths with upper, middle and lower bunks arranged in bays of six on one side of the aisle, and along the coach wall in bays of two (upper and lower) on the other side of the aisle. Bedding is not provided. Sleeper class is found on almost all long-distance trains except for the premier ‘RajdhaniExpress’ services. It can be quite crowded and is fairly grubby and basic. Sleeper class is suited to the more adventurous backpackers who are prepared to rough it.
2nd class seats (2S = reserved or II = unreserved) – Open plan cars with wooden or padded plastic seats, sometimes reserved and shown online as 2S, sometimes unreserved and shown online as II. Not recommended for long distance overnight journeys but worth considering for daytime journeys of up to a few hours if you are on a tight budget.
Indrail Pass: An Indrail Pass allows foreigners (and Indians residing abroad) to travel anywhere without any route restriction within its validity period. If you plan to do most of your travelling by train, it offers better economy as well. Indrail Passes are available at the tourist bureau set up in all major stations. All you have to do is to decide on the class by which you wish to travel and the period.
Tips for Train Travel
:: Travel light. Make sure you do not keep anything of value in the outer pockets of your luggage.
:: Once you board the train, secure your luggage with a chain and keep an eye on it discretely. We will assist you in procuring a chain and lock for your train journey.
:: You will find many vendors selling delicious food items on trains and at stations. Do not take anything to eat except fruits, if you so desire. We will provide you with a packed dinner, which will include fruits and other items, for your journey.
:: Take your time to evaluate your fellow passengers – do not make friends quickly. Never reveal details about yourself.
:: Do not accept any consumables from anyone, unless you are sure the item has not been tampered with.
:: Drink only bottled water.
:: Take extra care if travelling alone.
:: Dress comfortably before you board the train. Changing clothes on a running train is best avoided.
:: While going to the washroom in the train, be careful about your hand bag/purse. When coming out of the washroom, please check that you do not leave anything behind. Carry your own dispensable soaps, sanitizers, and tissue papers. We will provide you with the soaps and tissue papers.
:: It is best to avoid charging your laptop, tablet and mobile phone on the running train as the chances of damage to your equipment is high. If you have to charge your phone in case of very low battery, please remember to put the charger back in your bag.
:: If you need any assistance, feel free to call our 24 hour emergency numbers provided to you.