Review: Air India Maharajah Domestic Lounge, Indira Ghandi New Delhi International Airport Terminal Three, India


Air India is the flag carrier of India. They recently joined the Star Alliance network, resulting in a standardized experience across all Star Alliance carriers. In doing this network of carriers, Air India had upgraded its lounge offerings to allow for consistent access and levels of service. We had the ability to visit the Air India Domestic Lounge in Indira Ghandi New Delhi Terminal 3 on our travels through the city.

This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Air India Maharajah Domestic Lounge, Indira Ghandi International Airport Terminal Three, New Delhi, India

“Air India elevates its lounge offerings as a result of joining the Star Alliance network. Their new domestic lounge in New Delhi Terminal Three was among the newest and cleanest Star Alliance Lounges in the system.”

Getting to Indira Ghandi International Airport:

Our next day, we checked out of The Leela Palace New Delhi. We were sorry to leave after a nice stay. We enjoyed a cup of Masala Chai tea in the Royal Club Lounge while the bill was prepared and we completed check out on the ninth floor. 

We were transferred to Indira Gandi Airport in a white BMW X5. After forty minutes drive, we arrived at the New Delhi Indira Ghandi International Airport Domestic Terminal Three.

The Leela Hotel Car Transfer

Checking Into Air India:

We passed the elephants in the departure hall and checked in with Air India. I had debated purchasing a business class fare, but the price difference for the 40-minute flight didn’t seem to justify the fare difference. Considering it was to be another “dry” experience and that it seemed you could buy your way into the Air India lounges for around $10, it didn’t seem worth the four times the price upcharge. We had only 15 Kg of baggage allowance on the stripper fare but presenting an expired Air Canada Star Gold Card seemed to satisfy Air India enough to waive the excess baggage charges. It also seemed that the reservation grabbed our Air Canada status at the time of booking our ticket (which was indeed Star Gold). We were also issued a hand written lounge invitation for the Air India Lounge. 

Elephant Sculptures in the New Delhi Domestic Terminal
India Ghandi Departures Hall

Locating the Air India Maharajah Lounge:

We were quickly screened in the segregated by sex screening checkpoint (the security checkpoints in India are segregated by sex) and headed over to the Air India lounge. The lounge is located above most of the retail and can be accessed via convenient escalators or a sole elevator.

Indira Ghandi International Airport: Terminal Three Domestic
Map Courtesy of India Ghandi International Airport Website

We passed through a very London Heathrow like departure concourse complete with shopping, WH Smith bookstores and other shops. 

Indiria Ghandi Domestic Retail Zone: Lounge accessed by the back escalators

The Air India Domestic Lounge is immediately above the departure shopping concourse. As you approach the entrance, you just have to look for the Air India dancing maharajah that’s about the height of a 4 year old.

The Entry to the Air India Maharajah Domestic Lounge; as viewed from the main concourse

Accessing the Air India Maharajah Lounge:

We gained access thanks to Star Alliance Gold Level Membership courtesy of the Air Canada Aeroplan Elite program..

The Air India Maharajah Business Lounge is designed as the departure lounge for all Air India passengers in addition to Star Alliance Business Class travellers. Access is provided for

Air India / Star Alliance members departing on regular flights:

  • Business Class passengers
  • Economy Class Air India Flying Returns Golden Edge Club Member plus one guest
  • Air India Maharajah Club members plus two guests
  • Star Alliance Gold members plus one guest

At the time of our visit, Air India was offering the ability for paid lounge access to this location for 500 Indian Rupees or $10 USD per person, regardless of carrier.

As mentioned earlier, today’s access was granted courtesy of a Star Alliance Gold Level Membership in the Air Canada Aeroplan program.

The Dancing Air India Maharajah Awaits

Inside the Air India Maharajah Business Lounge:

Once we were admitted inside, we discovered a much more attractive space than our past experience at the Air India Maharajah Chennai Madras Domestic Lounge. The Air India New Delhi Domestic lounge appeared to have recently been refurbished with new furnishings, clean fixtures and a comfortable environment. In fact, it was probably one of the nicest, cleanest Star Alliance lounges I’ve ever been in.

Any chances this refurbishment was to come in line with Air India’s joining of Star Alliance? Either way you decide, the hard furnishings were a great value for a lounge that was only $10 USD to enter. The seating areas were clean and the lounge didn’t get a whole lot of traffic while we were on our visit.

Comfortable Loungers styled in Browns and Beiges
Ample Space Available Today
Televisions and Flight Screens served as entertainment

Unusually, the lounge offered couches for seating. We haven’t seen a lot of couches in lounges since lounge seating is usually on individual chairs. However, it’s always nice to be able to sit together on a couch if you happen to be travelling with your significant other.

The Unusual Air India Lounge Couches

Food and Beverage:

Unfortunately, the food and beverage offering was not the lounges strongest feature. Like our Air India Maharajah Domestic Lounge Chennai Madras, it was another dry location, with only Pepsi, orange Fanta and water to drink. Some Indian food was available on the buffet, although it was nothing too appetizing after the wonderful breakfast and lunch at we had experienced earlier at The Leela Palace New Delhi.

The Bottom Line: The Air India Maharajah Lounge New Delhi:

Our visit to the Air India Maharajah Lounge was a basic but super clean operation. While the interior of the lounge was nice, the food and beverage was not too exciting. Would it have been worth $10 a pay visit? Maybe. It’s probably cheaper than purchasing a wifi pass from the airport authority and you’d get a free samosa at the same time. All in all, it was a nice lounge but not a big reason to get to the airport early.

If you’ve visited the Air India Maharajah Business Lounge in New Delhi, did you have a similar experience?

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