✅ Verified Review
| I used the airport to visit the city during its biggest festival - Durga Pujo. Arrival at 2.20 am in the morning made the exit through immigration fast. However, the separate line for Business Class passengers has been done away with (presumably because there are very few such passengers using this airport) which meant standing in a long line with everyone else. Fortunately, that was the only in-bound flight to arrive at that unearthly hour and thus one plane load of people had to be processed. A counter has disembarkation forms that need to be filled out and presented with the passport for presentation to the officer. Interestingly, after the passport is stamped and you step through to go to the luggage claim area, another officer takes your passport to check if it has been appropriately stamped! The duty free shop just before the terminal exit has been expanded with more items. Using the airport to depart was unpleasant. Being the festive season, I had expected a larger than usual crowd. But the immigration lines for passport check and security frisking were exceedingly long, with no separate counter or lane for Business Class passengers. It took over 35 minutes to reach the passport control desk. At least they have done away with stamping the tags on carry on baggage after security. The terminal has a shop - Bishwa Bangla - that carries traditional handicrafts of the region and a superb place to pick up authentic craft souvenirs - which I have done in the past. Alas, tonight the shop was closed. I would have thought that with the larger than usual traffic footfall, this is when the shop should have been open giving departing tourists the chance to pick up local mementoes of their memories. The lounge, shared with several airlines, had a large spread of Bengali dishes, in keeping with the festival season. It was crowded. However, the bar closed very early - no serving of alcohol because of religious reasons. The bartender was kind enough to offer me two bottles of beer as he was closing down the bar. No newspapers in the lounge, only copies of a single issue of a business magazine. Cathay Dragon check-in was smooth and the ground staff was exceedingly friendly. I used the lounge bathroom - it was clean but smelly. Having used the airport countless times and usually very positive about it, my experience this time was less thrilling. The doing away with separate lanes for Business/First Class passengers, which was a perk that I particularly valued and which made using the airport a breeze, is a major disappointment.