Mumbai CSIA Pranaam: Meet & Greet or glorified porter service?

I usually have nothing but good words to state about Mumbai’s new Terminal 2, but I am really getting tired with the whole immigration and customs clearance set-up there, and an ineffective meet & greet service at the airport really got me disappointed last week.

See, I’m usually not a meet & greet sort of guy, but I do use them at some international airports when I know I need to get into a meeting quickly after arrival or bottlenecks are apparent. Last week, I was due to arrive into Mumbai after a 4 hour long flight from Kuwait, bang in the middle of the night at 3 a.m. This trip was last minute, and I already had plans to travel to Mahabaleshwar the next morning via road. Hence, I booked up one of my Meet & Assist service in Mumbai with the aid of the Citi Prestige yQ benefit which I recently covered. I just needed to get out of the airport as soon as poss ible to be able to go home and pack for my next trip.

What happened next was truly useless. I touched down ahead of time, slightly, at the Mumbai airport and we were allocated a non-aerobridge parking spot. Hence, I arrived in a coach to the arrivals gate, and there was no sign of the guy who was supposed to meet me on arrival. I trudged along to passport control, where I saw at least a queue of 50 deep per immigration officer, and no expedited queues for premium cabin travellers. So, I joined the queue. I now get a text from the Mumbai CSIA Meet & Greet service, telling me to call a particular number in case the meet & assist guy has not been found. So, I am supposed to find him rather than he finds me. Meh!

A bit of back and forth later, 2 people arrive to meet me, and they put out a strong resistance and a case that they were waiting for me at arrivals gate, while I waited a minute or so and I found no one there waiting for me.

Anyhow, I asked them to do something about the queue and they just shook their head and said they could do nothing for expediting my passport control or customs clearance. I asked them what could they really do, and they said

Sir, we could assist you with your bags retrieval from the baggage claim.

So, I just packed along the guy(s) and asked them to not to bother with me anymore. I did not have any bags apart from my little rollaboard bag, since I was just on an overnight trip. Here is an insight into the queues I waded through that night at the airport.

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But, which brings me to ask the question, are they really a meet & greet service or just a glorified porter service?

What has been your experience with the Mumbai Airport’s Meet & Greet Service?

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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Comments

  1. Hey Ajay,
    So has the porter service been completely stopped ? Do we have to sign up for this pricey meet & greet service to hire a porter to assist with the luggage ?
    My wife and two infant twins are travelling to Mumbai after a period of 5 years.
    Will be arriving at the international terminal at 5 AM?
    Will there be porters available at baggage claim area to assist with picking up the baggage from the ramps and escorting them through green channel to exit outside ?
    pls advise

  2. I imagine that’d have rankled even more had someone paid hard cash for the experience.
    You could forward this post to Citi Prestige and ask for refund of the yQ benefit.

  3. Never used meet and greet at mumbai. But usually first 2-3 cues are for business and first class travlers at mumbai airport immigration, and they go relatively faster than other lines. I can imagine of two reasons for this bottleneck, they unexpectedly received to many flights at one time. Or no fast track for Kuwait airlines. I will be shocked if this happens ongoing basis.

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