What was your route to Anand, India?

What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby HammockGuy » February 27th, 2009, 3:03 pm

For those of us in the US, it seems depending upon where one lives, travel to India can be quite different. Being in California, we trekked westward, over the Pacific Ocean and through Asia. From the accounts of those who live in the eastern US, they travel eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, through Europe and/or the Middle East. I'll share some particulars of our journey...

After speaking to an Indian colleague who is actually from Ahmadabad (AMD), and who travels there yearly with his family, he convinced me to go with Singapore Airlines. Given the duration of travel (30+ hours from the US), he really likes that Singapore Airlines stops in Singapore for about 7 hours. This length of a stop would be bad, but there's a hotel inside the terminal which he said is a godsend. It gives travelers a chance to shower and get some legitimate sleep before the last leg into India. Upon arrival into AMD airport, those going this route are well-rested and feeling good, or at least better than otherwise. He recommended this route as he feels it's better to avoid Mumbai (Bombay) when possible, especially when AMD is the destination or very near to it. For those who don't know, AMD is about a 1 hour drive to Anand...

For the past few years, and for when we traveled in late 2008, terminal 2 was where the departing flight leaves from to AMD. You might want to double-check though. We got some nice sleep and were totally re-invigorated with sleep and a shower. I especially wanted my wife to be as rested and comfortable as possible for what we were about to embark upon...

Singapore Airlines was also quite good in terms of service, food, and handling my inquiries while in Anand when I was trying to get an earlier flight out for us, which we were able to do. We, like many couples, planned to be in Anand a bit longer than probably ultimately necessary. Part of the reason for this is not actually knowing when the procedure will begin as it's pretty much dictated by when the menstrual cycle begins; and as I've come to learn, this can fluctuate by several days, especially when stress is present (and this certainly qualifies). So, I'd recommend building some cushion into your itinerary, and try to make sure there is no penalty by the airlines for changing the departure date. Just so folks know, once Dr. Patel has your current cycle (she asks via email), she will provide a schedule, and with that, a date to arrive in Anand, and a date for departure. From our experience, and that of others, the requested stay is a little over 2 weeks. We booked our travel for three weeks, so as not to have any added stress in case we needed to start earlier or later than expected.

And while on the topic, Singapore Airlines, unless in first class, I think like most airlines now, allows for two check-in pieces of luggage per traveler, at a max of 23 KG or a little over 50 lbs each. If like us, you'll be packed to the limit, so check beforehand to avoid issues at the airport. We used our scale at home a lot, and it was well worth it. I will have separate post for a discussion on what exactly to consider bringing...

So, our route went like this: SFO -> Hong Kong to refuel (quick stop) -> Singapore (airport hotel, shower/sleep) -> AMD

So once in AMD airport, then what? I was going to secure a taxi there to get us to the hotel. I was informed that there is a prepaid taxi service available at AMD airport where one prepays at a taxi counter. It is operated by the Taxi Drivers Association. Another option is to make an arrangement with the hotel for a driver to be there waiting...

I didn't mention earlier, but we flew the day after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Suffice it to say, my wife, family and colleagues (yes, they knew) were quite worried. I suppose I was as well, but unless the US government was going to intervene and prevent such travel, I was on a mission; and this was not going stop me/us.

That said, I felt it best to secure a driver associated to Dr. Patel's clinic. With the assistance of board member Crystal, Dr. Patel was contacted through some special hotline or something, and hooked us up. It certainly felt good knowing that we had someone we could trust during a rather chaotic time. My primary concern was making sure that we had no added drama for my wife, and this option addressed that aspect.

When we left Anand, I had the hotel arrange for a taxi, and upon request, they put it on the hotel bill, which I paid with a credit card (better record-keeping, was low on Rupees & credit card perks). The hotel said for me not to pay a tip as that was already incorporated into the payment for the driver (1,830 Rupees, or about $36 USD at the time).

So, that's the scoop on our travel to AMD, and transportation to/from the airport. I hope this info will be helpful to others. Oh, another thing nice about working with Dr. Patel is that she provides all of the meds, and are included in her pricing. There is not a need to purchase meds separately and carry them abroad, and deal with airport security.

That said, my wife needed to bring meds for her lupus. We got a letter from her doctor that we had ready, but never needed. So for those who also must bring meds, for whatever reason, get a doctor's letter. It is my firm belief that this trip will be the most important in our lifetime; so take all precautions to make sure it goes smoothly as possible.

My wife just reminded me of something that can help others. If you change your plans to leave sooner, print-out your updated itinerary and bring it to the airport. The hotel lobby should allow for this option. We were held-up about 5-10 minutes at the AMD airport as our itinerary and tickets were for a few days later.

Ok, I'm sure I missed some things and I know others took different routes to Anand! Hoping others will chime-in with these paths and their experiences...
Four cycles with Dr. Nayana Patel, with the first and fourth giving us two beautiful, healthy baby girls! Persistence and determination are often rewarded, so stay the course...
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Re: What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby HammockGuy » March 3rd, 2009, 11:40 pm

In the feedback thread, Crystal mentioned about having a comprehensive list of flights into India. In trying to find that, here seems to be the list of all
Indian domestic airlines.

Does anyone have a source of all international carriers that service India?
Four cycles with Dr. Nayana Patel, with the first and fourth giving us two beautiful, healthy baby girls! Persistence and determination are often rewarded, so stay the course...
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Re: What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby Jackie_pbs » August 11th, 2011, 8:39 pm

For a list of Airlines that fly to India from specific countries, try this site:

http://ca.skyscanner.com/flights-to/in/airlines-that-fly-to-india.html

You can then choose which city in India you want to fly into and the international airlines that service that Airport for a specific country.
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Re: What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby HammockGuy » August 11th, 2011, 9:17 pm

Cool link, thanks Jackie.

While I mentioned Singapore Airlines in the first post, in later trips to India, we took Emirates. At least from the west coast of the US, it is my belief that is the best option. It goes right into AMD with a perfect stop in Dubai for about 2.5 hours, which is enough time to grab some food, relax for a bit and hop online (free wifi). Overall travel time about 19 to 20 hours, from CA, USA.
Four cycles with Dr. Nayana Patel, with the first and fourth giving us two beautiful, healthy baby girls! Persistence and determination are often rewarded, so stay the course...
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Re: What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby Beagle » August 13th, 2011, 10:48 pm

From Melbourne I went via Singapore then straight into AMD. I used Singapore airlines who were great and the stopover was very handy and for $25 I could have a refreshing shower at Singapore airport. At the time - march2011- Singapore airlines would only fly to AMD on Tuesdays

Correction From Australia SA flies Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, where as flights to Mumbai are everyday and then you can get a Kingfisher to AMD or Vorarda.

Also there is a 10% charge on ticket price for the return air flight for babies. The local travel agent said that he couldn't confirm basinet seats until we had names and a birthdate.

Also a note that travel insurance will not cover the tickets if the babies get sick and if you have to stay in India - basically the policy said they must be 3 months old, so obviously check your local policy :-)


- the flight was empty so I had three seats to myself - which makes cattle class more bearable :D
Last edited by Beagle on September 16th, 2011, 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby HammockGuy » August 13th, 2011, 11:15 pm

From Oz, Singapore Airlines sounds ideal, besides the somewhat limited flights into and out of AMD... We lucked-out too once flying into AMD on Emirates and had several seats to ourselves. It was perfect because I was actually giving the injections to my wife, and some privacy was certainly nice...
Four cycles with Dr. Nayana Patel, with the first and fourth giving us two beautiful, healthy baby girls! Persistence and determination are often rewarded, so stay the course...
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Re: What was your route to Anand, India?

Postby Haku » August 22nd, 2011, 11:41 pm

We flew from London to AMD via Dubai. There aren't that many international flights into AMD, but if you have that option you should take it. There are two big advantages - 1) your hold baggage gets transferred automatically at the connecting airport outside India; 2) as there are few international flights arriving at AMD it is relatively quick to get through immigration and customs. And Dubai airport is geared towards connecting passengers, just like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Mumbai and Delhi are probably the most common entry points for overseas flights. We wanted to fly from London to AMD via Delhi, because Jet Airways operates its international and domestic flights out of terminal 3 - which should make the connection much easier. But this was not possible because of work taking place on the runway at AMD which meant that Jet scrapped the DEL-AMD flight while we were in Anand. But the flights have now resumed. All international airlines operate out of T3 as do Jet, Kingfisher and Air India/Indian Airlines, so if you're connecting from one to the other you should have an easy connection.

Connections are not so easy in Mumbai - you arrive at the international terminal and have to clear immigration and customs. You then have to use an inter-terminal coach to get to the domestic terminal for your flight to AMD or Vadodara/Baroda - it takes quite some time from the arrival of your international flight to getting into the domestic terminal. If you're lucky, you may be able to hand over your hold baggage to your domestic airline before you get on the coach which saves you from lugging it onto the coach and checking it in at the domestic terminal. It is even more stressful in the other direction as everyone has to collect their bags in the domestic terminal, put them onto a inter-terminal coach and then check them in at the international terminal.
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Tips For Canadians flying out of YYZ to AMD

Postby CanadaCouple » August 23rd, 2011, 2:56 am

We flew Air India non stop 13hrs 5 mins to New Delhi we had a 3 hr stop over in New Delhi's Brand new air terminal. Having flown into Geneva, Paris, London, Frankfurt It really is a world class terminal. Everything is available, McDonalds, Subway, Massages, Resting rooms with shower privlages and the rates are reasonable. The terminal is immaculately clean and they have public lounge areas have chairs that recline out for free use. ***Do Not listen to your travel agent that ATMS are easily accessible*** At this stage they are not. I thought I'd get some INR during the stop over. There is a Amex cheques cashing center but the rates are not the best. I asked about ATMs but there in a different section of the airport and once you clear security they won't let you backtrack. The ATMS in AMD airport are in the domestic depature sections not in the international arrivals. So go to TD bank and they will order INR for you and the handling charge is about $20 in that they give you a crummy exchange but its good to take some with you for the pre paid taxis. For those of you wondering about Air India Service it is not as "horrible" as a lot of the reviews you will find. They do feed you well, but the air crew tends to stay in the crew area and will get things for you if you go to them. We didn't feel the need for anything so the flight was okay. We paid $1500 each and I would recommend it, as long as you don't expect the same type of service as Emirates. My wife suggest taking a small tissue packet with you, incase at the end of the flight there is no toilet paper. (Which happened to her). For the first 6hrs the toilets were decent. But the cleanilyness depends on your fellow passangers. Unlike Lufthansa you won't see air crew trying to clean the rooms. Booking with Air India allowed us to clear customs in AMD which was so easy. It is really laid back and just be carefull you go through the immigration line and not the domestic line for the New Delhi to AMD passangers as they just walk throught and grab there bags. Immigration lasted not even 5 mins and he didn't ask any questions just checked the visa and stamped it. Gujrat is a dry state. So the last booze shop is in the baggage pick up area. If you won't some drinks that your last chance for a good selection. We stayed at County Inns run by the Carlson group. Its about Rs. 440 by prepaid taxi. There is an ICCI ATM at a major intersection on your left hand side. That's were we had the driver stop and they take PLUS system cards. The Country Inn was a reasonable hotel with a good cafe. They staff are very friendly. The massage service is Indian Kerala style. Its a rough type massage which I'd pass on next time. They gym has a Procor Ellipse and treatmill with free weights. We booked Indrajeet from the hotel to Rama for Rs. 2300. Indrajeet came 45mins early, I found out from others his rep is he is usually early and never late which is good to know. If you book a prepaid Taxi from AMD to ANAND its about Rs. 1450 for a small A/C car but you do have to pay the tolls which is about Rs. 200-400. We tried to book into BDQ as its closer. But its a smaller airport and the flights internationally are more limited. We also found you connect through Delhi but the cost of the trip was $200 more and not worth the difference to come in/out of AMD. I recommend flying with an airlines which connects you to your destination. Flying Air India I don't have to worry about connections being late or transfereing bags from the Domestic Terminal to the international. Some people flew domestic carries into BDQ or AMD from Mumbai or Delhi the risk is that the connections are done at your own risk.
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