Chennai International Airport

Tue, Nov 28, 2017 2-minute read

The International Airport in Chennai (MAA) is a statement. But before you start assuming its cultural significance, let me quickly say this: I don’t know how to frame the statement itself, but I’ll attempt to elaborate my understanding.

As someone interested in UX and wanting to improve UX every here and there – no I haven’t improved UX anywhere yet – I cannot help but notice this about the MAA airport. The departure happens from the new terminal. This building has constructionally stabilized and withstood Vardah, so I guess its a safe place now. And since its a new building, they have incorporated a slightly better queueing system for  immigration. Nothing great here and of course, there is a tonne to improve. The arrival happens in the older terminal. The arrival immigration hall is probably half as big as the new terminal itself and yet, it is the most time consuming and unorganized aspect of the entire “arrival” process. Baggage should have taken the spot, but immigration wins hands down.

So the statement this airport makes to me is like this – “Leaving the country? Brilliant. Here, let me make it easier for you.

Coming back? Why? For what joy? Have you seen immigration? Are you sure you still want to come back?”

This might sound trivial, but its the trivial things that cause cognitive biases. Because the factors that bias your decisions often act at a level that is not easily recognizable and might need a lot of “critical thinking” and “rational” discernment to avoid the bias. Going by our everyday situations, I doubt if any of us have that skillset. I hope the other aiports make a different statement.

I remember the railway ticket booking counters in 2000 had a better queue management system than the MAA arrival immigration. But that’s the railways and we are the Airports Authority. We don’t talk to each other. I am not even asking for preferential entry to citizens – because we don’t have a way of identifying our citizens. AADHAR? I don’t know. I cannot stand in another queue to get my AADHAR linked to my passport. Funny though, my passport was the proof for my AADHAR and yet I might need to stand in line to link them up. Anyway, AADHAR is a statement by itself and i’ll write if I am able to put a finger on it.