Why am I asking? Because of this.

Anand Mahindra tweeted this, first.

Just passed through Delhi T3 for the 1st time.Can’t believe there was criticism of long walks to gates.Get some exercise&Get a life!

Fair enough – his personal opinion. I love walking too and have walked a LOT at T3. I have also noticed – all the time – a LOT of people taking rests in between their epic journey from plane to baggage claim/exit or vice versa. People with kids, pregnant women, old people etc. I did feel bad for them, but never bothered to do anything for them – what can I, after all? So, the least I could is add perspective to Mr Mahindra’s tweet.

With this tweet,

How about people with babies? Old people? Do they need exercise too? RT @anandmahindra Just passed through Delhi T3 http://bit.ly/gvQVfk

Now, there are some nuances you need to understand here. I did not respond to Mr Mahindra’s tweet – if I were to respond, my tweet would have started with ‘@anandmahindra…’. I chose to post his tweet, along with my perspective to my followers – that is what you see in the tweet from me; that’s the format.

One of Twitter’s lesser known rules is this,

People will only see replies in their Home timeline if they are following both the sender and recipient of the update.

That means my perspective-adding tweet is seen by a piddly 3,000+ people (assuming!) and not all of Mr Mahindra’s 184,000+ followers.

Now, for the second point – how did Mr Mahindra respond to my tweet, considering his Twitter ID is mentioned. He tweet this, in response.

@beastoftraal Read my last tweet&don’t undertake a moral crusade without facts.

Now, does my tweet seem like a ‘moral crusade’? Or a seemingly harmless addition to his tweet? I felt that was surprisingly harsh a response, so I searched on how others responded to his original tweet and what kind of responses they got. Please note: I’m ignoring the ones who agree with Mr Mahindra’s tweet, either wholeheartedly or otherwise and get no response from him.

So, it looks like I’m not the only one who got to the wrong side of Mr Mahindra when it comes to having an opinion about Delhi’s T3.

Let me just add a few facts I gathered online, when it comes to airport design – trust me, I’m a nobody when it comes to user design/airport design and seeing this merely as a user.

1. Sunita Narain’s Times of India piece titled, “A shopping mall called T3

“Clearly today’s imperative is to construct green buildings â?? functional, compact, designed to conserve materials and energy. But the new terminal of Delhi is precisely the opposite. This airport, unlike the current definition of a modern airport, does not reduce time from our entry into the building and into the aircraft.

Instead, it is deliberately designed to be massive, so it takes time to walk to the aircraft; it takes time to bring baggage from the aircraft to the terminal. And I am not even talking about the awful carpet, which makes it impossible to drag your bag. It is a common traveller’s nightmare.”

2. Brian Edwards’ book titled, ‘The modern airport terminal: new approaches to airport architecture

“Large aircraft with heavy fuel loads and high payloads require long runways, wide apron areas and plenty of taxiing space. This means that passengers spend a lot of time on the ground in the aircraft before and after take-off. Hence the passenger arriving at the airport after a long journey is often jaded, and does not readily accept additional delays at baggage reclaim or customs clearance. Terminal design has to ensure that passengers are not unduly subjected to changes in level, long corridors, overcrowded arrival lounge areas…it also means that seats should be provided within movement flows; that interior design should relieve stress, not add to it.”

3. An Economist piece titled, ‘Long walk to freedom

“I QUITE like having to walk a bit when I get off a long-haul flight: after sitting for such a time, it’s good to stretch the legs and get the circulation going. But some airports take the obligatory walking to extremes. Hong Kong airport, though a thing of beauty in some ways, can involve a serious trek to the exit if you land at the wrong gate. Emiratesâ?? gleaming new Terminal 3 at Dubai is another recently sampled, leg-sapping monster.

But Beijing’s new giant terminal surely takes the prize. The arriving passenger faces not only a long train transit to the main terminal hub, but then every subsequent stretchâ??to customs, to the car parkâ??involves an energetic hike. If gigantism is an inexorable trend in airport design, the architects should first be obliged to walk the distances they make passengers trudge.”

4. A BBC H2G2 (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, for the uninitiated – the source of this blog’s title too!) piece titled, ‘Ten Commandments of Airport Design and Operation(Well, this IS sarcastic, but makes for a nice addition, here!)

“Some people will tell you that ‘size matters’ and ‘big is beautiful’ are clichés. Don’t listen to them. It’s well known that the western population doesn’t get enough exercise. We all need to walk more and the airport is the ideal place. Even better, many exercise-deficient passengers will be carrying heavy baggage, thus affording them the possibility to get a whole body workout. They may curse as they’re sweating and panting, but they’ll thank you for it later. It is possible to achieve distances of nearly 2km from the car park to the departure lounge. Transfers from one side of the airport to the other are an ideal opportunity to force a long walk or even a run/waddle if you can cut the time for the flight short enough. Stress makes the heart beat faster, as does running with small children and big cases. An exercised heart is a healthy heart. “

So, why have I added all these?

One, to show that we Indians are the only ones complaining about this and are perhaps completely within our rights to complain/crib about this – either to the captains of our industry, as a response….or otherwise.

Two, what was Mr Mahindra’s response (that ‘last tweet’) that he pointed out to me in his tweet?

It was, “There are alkalators&buggies on demand!Why whine w/o facts?” added as a response to @gkamesh’s whine.

So yes, there are travelators (what Mr Mahindra meant, I suppose), but again, for a pregnant woman or someone carrying a child, the weight still matters – travelator or not. As for buggies (small vehicles driven in the terminal?), I guess it adds to mayhem – we Indians are already a L-O-T. So, we will continue to crowd elevators and buggies with request to drop us off at the exit…as always, fewer buggies vis-a-vis the number of people who want it – end result is that we may not in control of journey at any point.

All that said, I still walk the T3. I love requesting people blocking the travelator, to park themselves on the left and let others who may want to walk faster, on the travelator, to move on the right. I also like that minor disorientation that happens to you as you walk out of a travelator, instead of stepping out of it 🙂

PS: A review of Delhi T3, by Vijay Srinivasan.

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