I am a research student and an Indian national. Being a student, it is more or less academic compulsions and pretexts that prompt me to travel abroad. I am on move, either for a Conference or for a Research visit. On some occasions, I have travelled to Indonesia and Cambodia, which did not have any direct academic purpose. For academic purposes, lesser inhibitions and enquiries from Indian families are the norm. I travelled abroad for the first time in the Second year of my doctoral studies. Since then, I always make sure the airfare is cheap, and the second thing is to include a transit airport of my choice.
By default, journey beyond Asia is likely to have a transit point largely as a result of the Airlines’ Hub and Spoke model. My every trip is based on the proposition not only to see the place I am travelling to but also to see a bit of the other country (at least the airport!) in transit. The disadvantageous Indian Passport does not allow me to get out of the airport at most of the hub airports, but at least I can pass through it without a transit visa. I have used Kuala Lumpur, Munich, Addis Ababa, and Amsterdam as transit points in the past one year. In fact, it has been only once that I took a direct flight from India to my destination, i.e. Delhi- Chicago Non-Stop Air India flight. As a clarification, there was a reason for taking a direct non-stop flight owing to my compulsions of leaving my home country late and reaching the destination early.
Going abroad seeing a bit of Europe, Asia or Africa from my window seat is fascinating. My trip to Lima, Peru in November, 2015 on KLM involved Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and that was the first time I was out of Asia. Preceding that I saw Kuala Lumpur Airport as I was travelling on AirAsia. In May 2016, I passed through Munich Airport while travelling on Lufthansa on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Travel to every inch and corner of an Airport, one would find to see something new. As soon as I land at the transit airport, I go through the airport map and go to each and every corner of the airport that would allow me to see what is outside the airport, even glancing through Schengen Passport Control or National Passport Control Gates to just get the feel.
I do understand, transit Airports have problems and advantages, from a travellers’ point of view, but for me, it is fun. In fact, it should not be boring for a person on a wanderlust. For me, it adds to the list of countries, I have landed, even though I might not have even felt the air of it, as we remain separated from walls made of glass. Sometimes, stopovers along with layovers add to the icing on the cake. It happened to me in August 2016, while travelling from Mumbai to Sao Paulo when Addis Ababa was a transit point and Lome, the capital of Togo, was a one-hour stopover. Of course, I could not get out of the flight but at least, I saw a bit of West Africa, before leaving for a long and unending journey over the Atlantic Ocean.
I wish to acknowledge that this post does not wish to jot down the points or tips recommended by other blog posts for enjoying a transit airport. I feel that such blog posts are written with those people in mind who expect transit airports to be an unlikely burden and somehow want to pass that time with some activities. However, I celebrate a transit point on my itinerary and always wish some new airports would add up to this list on my upcoming journeys.