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I am planning to check-in my luggage 4 hrs before an international flight. Once I check-in my luggage and receive the boarding pass, can I leave the airport and come back after 1.5 hrs? I have an Indian passport.

  • If the airline check-in counter is open that early and there is an exit in the check-in lounge then yes. – Newton Jan 18 '18 at 15:06
  • When I was returning from Mumbai (a few years ago) the flight was at about 4am. I had hoped to be able to enter the terminal early (to wait and doze) but was not allowed to even enter. In UK airports the check-in desk won't even be open if you are too early. – Weather Vane Jan 18 '18 at 20:32
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    I remember there used to be signs in Indian airports saying "you cannot exit if you've checked bags". Is this still the case, or have rules changed? – gparyani Jan 19 '18 at 11:42
  • Generally it is not possible to exit the airport through Departures gate in India as the security guard stationed there will stop you. I can't find a reference or an advisory at the moment so I am not posting an answer but I am reasonably sure you won't be allowed to come out once you enter departures. Specifically about BOM. I have flown out of T2 many times but have never encountered any person being allowed to exit through departures. – RedBaron Jan 19 '18 at 12:50
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Just dropped my Mum at Mumbai airport this morning and there are security guards outside the check-in hall. They were checking tickets and id of passengers entering. That being said, one of them tried to prevent 2 people leaving, but they said they were signed out and another guard motioned to let them through. So it was OK and if you can drop your bag off that early, should be able to get out again.

Also, there was some kind of government visitor last night (17th), so security might relax a bit after they've left. Edit: ignore this, sounds like the security was normal from comments above.

The main problem is going to be getting away from and back to the airport in 2-3 hours. It's not exactly well connected. You'd be able to make Andheri, or Ghatkopar on the metro, but I can't imagine what you'd actually want to do around there (a 2 wheeler would open up more options).

  • Generally speaking the guard will not allow people to "exit" from the entrance gate. To do so (I have no reference) you must talk to the CISF (the security force deployed at the terminal) supervisor and provide a good reason as to why you want to go out. – RedBaron Jan 19 '18 at 12:40
  • One of the guards seemed surprised, but the other let them through. They looked like they just had hand luggage, so maybe they were delayed and had time to leave. I just assumed it was fairly normal. But probably not something to rely on. – Oliver Houston Jan 19 '18 at 18:02
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In most airports check-in area is not a secured area and you can enter it and leave it as you wish, no matter whether you have a boarding pass or luggage or whether you plan to fly or not. It's just a big hall behind the entrance doors.

So if Mumbai airport doesn't have some peculiar plan, you can leave it and come back later at any time.

  • the last paragraph is wrong. you can walk out from behind security as often as you like, just to get back in, you have to queue up again. – Aganju Jan 18 '18 at 16:24
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    Also, India airports have outside the building security that doesn’t let you even on premises if you cannot show a boarding pass for the the next hours. Four hours early might be borderline; the rules say ‘max three hours’. – Aganju Jan 18 '18 at 16:26
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    good point. i had panicked colleagues asking that when sent away. you are required to print it before going there, or print at least the ticket with the flight data. – Aganju Jan 18 '18 at 16:32
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    @Neusser The confirmation on my phone was good enough. He is right, there are police at the entrance and without a ticket, no entry. – Andrew Lazarus Jan 18 '18 at 21:25
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    Sorry but this is wrong as far as Indian airports are concerned. Indian airport departure halls are (somewhat) secured areas. You cannot access the check-in hall without showing your ID and ticket to the guard. Once inside it is generally not possible to exit freely. – RedBaron Jan 19 '18 at 12:41
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I have done this several times! Whenever I had a connecting flight halt more than a 4hr, I went out to buy stuff or eat something. So the answer to your question is

YES, they do allow

If you are holding valid ticket(When I say valid, it means your flight is scheduled and not departed yet) of any flight, you are good to go out and come in any number of times at any Airports in India. You valid ticket and identity proof are two things security will check.

Hope this helps!

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    You have provided your experience for connecting flights at connecting airports. That scenario does not apply here as this question is about coming out of the airport at the originating place. For connecting flights it is easy to nip out of the intermediate airport because all passengers arrive at the arrivals and are free to leave the airport. Have you ever managed to get out of an Indian airport through "Departures"? – RedBaron Jan 19 '18 at 12:43
  • what difference it makes for Originating Place? To answer your question about departures, so Yes, I did come out once with valid reason. Security asked me to inline again for security check. BUT going out of Airport through departures is not allowed if the person is not carrying a valid VISA. I was Indian with Indian Passport so they did allow me. – Anand G Jan 20 '18 at 5:00

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