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15 May 2014

Kolkata Planning Your Trip By Air , India

India  [印度] • 15 MAY 2014
Planning your trip
Best time to visit Kolkata and West Bengal
In West Bengal , hot and oppressively humid summers are followed by much cooler and clearer winters. The best time to visit Kolkata is between October and March, as the summer heat begins as early as April. 

Occasionally tropical cyclones strike coaster areas in late March and April, though they are more common between October and December. The monsoon hits between June and September , when large parts of Kolkata are knee deep in water for hours at a time and the roads are affected by landslides in hills, and although the winter months can be extremely cold, the visibility is good.
Air
Kolkata is well connected by air from all over Asia and the Middle East, but there are no direct flights from the UK, Europe or the USA. Many international travellers will arrive in Delhi or Mumbai and take a connecting flights to Kolkata from Europe are Qatar Airways and Emirates, changing in Doha or Dubai. Some carriers permit "open-jaw travel, arriving in and departing from different cities in India.


You can fly to numerous destinations across India with Jet Airways or Spicejet. The prices are very competitive if domestic flights are booked in conjunction with Jet on the international legs. In 2013 the cheapest return flights to Delhi from London started at around £600, but leapt to £1000+ as you approached the high seasons of Christmas, New Year and Easter. 

From Europe
Despite the increases to Air Passenger Duty, Britain remains the cheapest place in Europe for flights to India. Jet Airways, British Airways and Air India fly from London to Delhi in 81/2 hours or Mumbai in 91/2 hours. From mainland Europe, major European flag carriers, including KLM and Lufthansa, fly to Delhi and /or Mumbai from their respective hub airports. In most cases the cheapest flights are with Middle Eastern or Central Asian airlines, transiting via airports in the Gulf. Several airlines from the Middle East (eg Emirates, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways and Oman Air) offer good discounts to Delhi and other Indian regional capitals from Europe, buy fly via their hub cities, adding to the journey time. 


From North America
From the east coast, several airlines including Air India, Jet Airways, Continental and Delta fly direct from New York to Delhi and Mumbai. American flies to both cities from Chicago. Discounted tickets on British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Gulf Air and Kuwait Airways are sold through agents although their country's capital cites. From the west coast, Air India flies from Los Angeles to Delhi and Mumbai and Jet Airways from San Francisco to Mumbai via Shanghai. Alternatively fly via Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok using one of those countries' national carriers. AirCanada operates between Vancouver and Delhi. 

From Australasia
Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines , Cathay Pacific and Air India are the principal airlines connecting the continests, although Qantas is the only of that flies direct, with services from Sydney to Mumbai. STA and Flight Centre offer discounted tickets from their branches in major cities in Australia and New Zealand. 

The formalities on arrival in India have been increasingly streamlined during the last few years and the facilities at the major international airports greatly improved. However, arrival can still be a slow process. Disembarkation cards, with an attached customs declaration, are handed out to passengers during the inward flight.

The immigration form should be handed in at the immigration counter on arrival. The customs slip will be returned, for handing over to the customs on leaving the baggage collection hall. You may well find that there are delays of ovre and hour at immigration in processing passengers who need help with filling in forms. 

Departure Tax
Rs 500 is payable for all international departures other than those to neighbouring SAARC countries, when the tax is Rs 250 (not reciprocated by Sri Lanka) This is normally included in your internation ticket, check when buying. ( To save time ' Security Check' your baggage before checking in on departure.)

Articles credited to Footprint Travel Guides
Photos credited to Kit

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