Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA: BOM) is the main airport serving both domestic and international passengers flying in and out of Mumbai. The airport spans across the Santa Cruz and Andheri suburbs. The main passenger traffic is divided into domestic terminals 1A and 1B and the new international terminal T2.
The domestic terminal is in Santa Cruz and the international terminal is at Sahar in Andheri. They’re quite some distance apart, so you’ll need to take the airport’s free Volvo AC buses for inter-terminal transfers. It’s available only for passengers inside the arrival halls who need to take a connecting flight from the other terminal.
The duty free shops are in T2, at level 2 in arrivals and levels 3 and 4 in departures. You’ll also find all kinds of designer brand outlets for clothing and accessories and electronics, including an Apple Store. Free Wi-Fi is available in all waiting areas, but you have to request a password to be sent to your mobile phone. Both terminals have paid parking areas, banks and ATMs, forex counters, postal services and just about anything else you might possibly need while arriving or departing.
Your options for transportation to and from the airport include auto rickshaws, taxis, the city’s BEST buses and the electric trains called ‘locals.’ Not to mention prepaid taxis and car rentals. If you are able to grasp the local train routes (central line, western line and harbor line), you can take a short taxi or auto rickshaw trip to either Ville Parle (east) station or Andheri (east) station and continue on the local train from there.
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses run all over the city and quite regularly. You can take bus no. 312 from the domestic terminal to the aforementioned railway stations, or bus no 321 from the international terminal to Ville Parle East, or bus no. 308 from the international terminal to Andheri East.
The three-wheeled auto rickshaws are available at the domestic terminal. You can take metered taxis or prepaid taxis from either terminal. Both also have private taxi and car rental providers at the arrivals.
The fare you pay obviously varies based on your destination and the traffic. But as an example, if you are planning to go to the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba, that’s about 13 miles from the airport and should take no more than 30-40 minutes at most. The fare for this distance will range from about Rs. 250 for an auto to around Rs.320 for a metered taxi and anywhere between Rs. 400-700 for private taxis.
Bus and local train fares are far cheaper, and you’ll be paying less than Rs. 100 in total for an auto rickshaw or bus ride to Ville Parle or Andheri station plus the train ticket to wherever you want to go.
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You may also try arranging for a guided airport pick-up. If you don’t feel comfortable roughing it with the crowd in the buses and trains, and you don’t feel like taking a private taxi, then getting hold of a local guide for an airport transfer isn’t that hard. It could actually make the start of your visit to Mumbai extremely easy and hassle-free. Just make sure you arrange for it in advance before you arrive.