Do you know how celebrities breeze through the airport security and get to the flight in matter of minutes? They use airport meet & greet services. You too can avail the service at almost any airport, as long as you are ready to pay for it.
But not to worry, as we now have few credit cards that comes with complimentary meet and greet services at select airports within India. The service can be used both for domestic/international and also for arrivals/departures at Indian airports.
Here’s everything you can expect from airport meet & greet services offered in India through card linked benefit. Let’s begin with the departure experience,
VIP Gate Entry
As soon as you arrive at the airport, you’ll find someone holding a placard with your name. The executive will greet you at the VIP gate and take you to the landside in no time.
This VIP gate varies from airport to airport. For ex, at Mumbai T2 they use “Gate 1” as VIP gate.
The executive is usually accompanied by his assistant who will be your porter to take care of the luggage. So you may walk handsfree and enter into the airport just like your favourite celebrity.
Sometimes they even keep a paper boarding pass of your’s ready. Everything is sorted, just make sure to enjoy and keep up your celebrity image intact, else the executive might doubt and ask “did you actually pay for the service?” Just like how it happened with me once. 😀
If it’s a big airport, you may also expect a buggy to transport you and your luggage from VIP gate to the priority check-in counter. The porter and the executive will accompany you.
This buggy service is also available on arrivals to take you from aerobridge to the luggage collection area.
You no longer need to fly business class, hold a gold status or buy the 6E Prime add-on to get priority check-in.
The executive will take you straight to the priority check-in counter, which is basically the business class counter with most airlines (or) the Fast Forward counter in case of Indigo.
So you can drop your luggage in a minute or two and proceed to security.
This is a huge benefit if you’re flying low cost airlines, especially Indigo as I haven’t seen any Indigo counter without at-least 20 members ahead of me.
Fast track security
Some metro airports like Mumbai and Delhi has a separate lane for business class passengers.
Usually you’ll be taken through that route, else you’ll be escorted through the staff entry line. This is the line that the airport staffs, pilots and airline crew uses.
Note that this line will be mostly free. But if you see the crew, you’re expected to make way for them.
Most of the time this can save you 10-20 mins and you don’t need to deal with the crowd by standing with your laptop tray in hand.
I mostly see one or two ahead of me in this staff route but recently I had a situation where-in I was about to pass and then 5 pilots were rushing in back to back. I ended up giving way to them which is a loss of about 5 mins but it’s okay, as it’s a respect that I think we need to give them.
So once you pass the security, you’ll be taken to the lounge (access not provided with this service) or wherever you want to go, after which the executive will leave but will make sure to remind you with a call so that you board your flight on time.
Most frequent luxury travellers use the meet & greet service for international travel as it deals with immigration, which may consume a bit of time.
So here too you’ll be taken through the business class immigration counter and the executive will assist you with the immigration formalities like assisting you in filling the form, if any.
For those airports that doesn’t have the priority immigration counter, I don’t know “how” they would help. I haven’t explored it personally, so will update when I experience it.
The meet & greet service is usually availed at departure level as that’s where it takes a bit of time but you may also use it at arrivals. This service also comes with executive, buggy and a porter as we saw before.
While I thought that arrivals service may not be that useful, I gave it a try to see how it works and I’m surprised to see the benefit.
I availed the service at Mumbai T2 and they took me in a buggy from the aerobridge to the luggage collection area.
These guys are equipped with the airport walkie-talkie which helps them to check why the luggage is getting delayed (which was the situation in my case). I found it to be a pretty useful.
And at Hyderabad airport it was even more interesting when the executive already spoke to the driver of my rental car, which I booked using complimentary luxury airport transfer service through Axis Reserve. So it was an ultra smooth experience.
I would ideally value the service at ~2000 INR but they usually charge 3000 to 5000 INR depending on the airport. But how much it is valuable to you depends on where and when you avail the service.
For ex, most of the time when I availed this service, it saved me about ~20 mins each but if I had availed it during my Assam trip last year at the Guwahati airport to board Indigo flight, I would have easily saved ~1hr. So it all depends.
As of now there are only two credit cards in India that gives complimentary meet & greet service benefit. They are,
Note that even Amex Platinum has this benefit but limited to Delhi airport and also they want you to book the flight on the card. Hmm, Amex need to relax this a bit.
That said, Axis cards are the only ones worth exploring for meet & greet benefit as of now. But remember that its limited to only Indian airports.
It would be another level if we have cards with complimentary international meet & greet services (without having to book flights on the card).
For ex, you can arrive in any country, pass through fast track immigration lane, get the SIM at the trusted counter with the help of the executive and get ready to explore the foreign country in no time.
Let’s hope that dream comes true some day!
How to book?
As far as Axis Bank is concerned, they’ve a dedicated portal for this, which is “extraordinaryweekends.com” that has a super simple interface to get things done.
Just login using your card details & mobile number to book the service for you and your guests. Each guest will be charged one count from your quota.
After experiencing the Meet & greet service at multiple airports both at departure and arrival levels, I would say that it’s a wonderful service to have if you value your time or just wish to have a smooth airport experience.
It’s largely functional but you may also call it a luxury for what it offers.
Irrespective of what you think it is, it’s definitely worth giving it a try to see for yourself and know how it feels to travel like a celebrity.
I’m quite sure that this is going to be a standard benefit on most super/ultra premium cards very soon. It’s only a matter of time.
Have you availed meet & greet services in India or abroad? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.