Chennai International Airport
7km (4 miles) south of Chennai.
India’s third-biggest airport, Chennai International Airport is a wonderful access-point for travelers looking to explore India’s incredible southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa.
Flights to Chennai International are handled by a wealth of airlines, providing convenient connections to a wide array of both Indian and international destinations. For travelers flying into India from the east, it is definitely worth checking out Chennai flights, as they are often much cheaper than flights to Mumbai or Delhi.
Chennai International Airport is comprised of Anna International Terminal (AIT), Kamaraj Domestic Terminal (KDT), and a cargo terminal. A linking building connects the international and domestic terminals, while different areas of the terminals are accessible via aerobridges and pedestrian walkways.
Getting into Town
Train: If you leave Chennai International Airport, walk through the gate, down Great Southern Trunk Road, and go through the underpass running beneath National Highway 45 – you’ll find yourself in Tirusulam Railway Station. From there, you can get to the city (Egmore Station) every 20-30 minutes by train. Train stations in India can get very hectic, so it’s probably advisable to buy your tickets from the rail service counter at the airport. The trip between the stations should take about 25-30 minutes, costing INR 12 (for 2nd class, not recommended if you have baggage) or INR 100 (approx. for 1st class).
Bus: There is also a public bus stop located right outside the gates to Chennai International Airport. Bus No. 18A operates between 5am and 10pm, making frequent trips into the city. Make sure you tell the driver where you’re going so they can help you to get off at the right stop. Expect to pay about INR 20 for the 45-minute trip. Bus No. 18B (INR 35) operates along the same route as 18A, but is air-conditioned, and generally less full.
Auto-Rickshaw (Tuk-Tuk): If you want to dive right into India’s most exhilarating transportation experience, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws are also widely available to get you into town from the airport. Be warned that they are really uncomfortable if you have a lot of baggage with you, and you’re almost certainly going to have to negotiate a price with your driver (they won’t use the meter) before taking off. Try for INR 200, and don’t go above INR 300.
Taxi: Always use prepaid taxis to get into the city from the airport; it’s the safest way to ensure that you reach your destination without being overcharged. Numerous taxi companies have counters in the arrivals section of Chennai International Airport: use Aviation Express, as they have the best reputation, and sometimes offer you a choice of vehicles (either the wonderful old Ambassador cars, or newer Toyota Innova minivans). Make sure you have small notes or coins on you for a tip. Expect to pay INR 350-450 for the 30-minute trip into town.
There is short and long-stay parking available for 500 cars and buses at Chennai International Airport. The parking lot is located right outside the terminal buildings, and the fee is INR 25 per two hours (or part thereof).
Car rentals are provided by Avis, Hertz and Budget. You’ll find their desks in the arrivals area. You will need an International Drivers’ Permit to rent a car – but it isn’t recommended, especially if you’ve never driven in India before.
Money and communications: There are ATMs dotted throughout Chennai International Airport, as well as currency exchange offices in the arrivals hall, the departures hall, and the International Terminal.
Luggage: There is a lost and found office in the baggage reclaim area. Luggage trolleys are free to use, and porters can be hired to help you heft your bags, if necessary.
Conference and business: There’s a Communication Centre located in the arrivals hall, offering Internet browsing, video phones, and photocopying, fax and conferencing facilities.
Other facilities: Other facilities at Chennai International Airport include airline lounges, medical facilities, retiring rooms, vending machines, TVs, a rail reservation counter, and basic access and facilities for disabled passengers.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi connectivity is available in the terminal buildings, provided free of charge. The signal is stronger in some sections of the airport than others.