At end December or beginning of January, there's the problem of flights being canceled due to fog. Even if a flight's departure is in the afternoon, would it be safer for hikers to travel from the hilly areas to Delhi airport by bus and take a flight from Delhi or would it be pretty much the same risk of flight cancellation even if they didn't have to travel so far to Delhi, and instead got a flight from Dehradun or Chandigarh?

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    Almost. I'm asking if flights are just as likely or more likely to get canceled at IXC and DED than at DEL even if they are afternoon flights. If they are, then it would be better to reach DEL by bus and then take a flight from there. I'm assuming the airport at DEL would have more advanced tech to handle foggy conditions, but there's also the fact that DEL currently has very high smog levels.
    – Nav
    Nov 27 '16 at 6:12
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    Fog can impair visibility till afternoon in which case incoming flights at IXC cannot depart from their respective source stations. The outgoing flights are consequently cancelled. DEL has CAT-3 ILS and flights are able to land/take-off in fog even though there may be delay. As a frequent flier out of IXC, I never book flights from IXC in peak winters because there is always a danger of them getting cancelled. DEL is what I go for even though it means 10 hours of bus journey
    – RedBaron
    Nov 27 '16 at 10:40
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    @RedBaron I guess you could post that as an answer. Like pnuts said, it might be good to have some stats as well, so that others who search for this question will see your answer and be able to take decisions.
    – Nav
    Nov 27 '16 at 15:29
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    My personal experience says prefer Delhi over Chandigarh, as latter has flights cancelled even on normal days, where flights in Delhi suffer from fog only in December last two weeks to January 2 weeks, usually from 2am to 7-8am..
    – DavChana
    Nov 27 '16 at 19:41

I don't have hard numbers w.r.t cancellations for the smaller airports, but I'd like to answer this based on my (limited) experience.

Given the situation that you've mentioned, I would always book flights in winter out of Delhi and never Chandigarh, the Chandigarh airport is relatively small and notorious in terms of flight cancellations even on days when the visibility is reasonably good. What's worse is that there are very few alternatives that you can rebook on (This of course depends on your destination). I have never flown in and out of Dehradun so I can't comment about that airport but I suspect that the situation would be similar.

The Delhi airport is severely impacted by fog in the winters as you know but unless the situation is exceptionally bad, it results in mostly delays and not cancellations. I would of course recommend that you book and airline that flies in and out of T3 to minimize the chances of cancellations.

As for getting to Delhi from Chandigarh, I'd recommend taking one of the early morning Shatabdi trains, which typically experience the minimum delays and getting to the airport from NDLS is quite easy with the Metro link.

  • Thanks for the extra info about Shatabdi and metro. We were considering bus travel, but train would obviously be better. Wonder if there would be seats available for last minute bookings. Also, Chandigarh is indeed not yet CAT III compliant: airportchandigarh.com/info/…
    – Nav
    Nov 28 '16 at 2:23
  • @Nav you should most likely be able to find seats as long as you have a couple of days to go. These are shorter distance trains; so not as congested as the longer distance ones which sell out months in advance. Best of luck for your journey.
    – nikhil
    Nov 28 '16 at 4:13
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    For travel between Delhi and Chandigarh, Haryana Roadways operates Volvo starting from ISBT Sec-17 and going till IGI Airport (I think till public transport area from where you can get shuttles to terminals)
    – RedBaron
    Nov 28 '16 at 4:30

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