Musician and songwriter Raghu Dixit does not like the Chennai airport. Every time he has visited the city there have been a series of complaints via twitter.

“Chennai Airport is definitely one of the top five badly managed airports in India," says one 2012 post. “The toilets will kill you before the heat gets you outside," says another in 2013. “Bad planning," he again tweets in 2014.

The clincher, “A brand new building doesn’t make an international airport Chennai. You need to keep it clean and the toilet stink-free #stinky-poo"

And if the latest study released by travel website, The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, is to believed, Chennai is one of the worst airports of Asia. Around 26,297 fliers were asked to judge airports on the basis of four categories: comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service. Chennai emerged seventh in the list of the worst airports of Asia: the baggage-handling ineptitude and ammonical smell of urine that pervades its bathrooms cited as the worst things about the airport.

“I had a really bad experience here when I visited the city soon after the airport was renovated," says media professional Saraswathi Datar-Dhamdhere, "There was no water, no toilet paper and everything was covered in dust. I’ve never risked using the loo at the airport again," she says.

And while dirty bathrooms are one thing, completely inaccessible ones are another, “I visited the bathroom at Chennai once and the bathroom attendants were eating lunch on the floor," says Jayashree Arunachalam, a journalist. “My anger was clearly that they clearly hadn’t provided their employees a place to eat."

Frequent flier Ajay Ayappan, an entrepreneur, agrees that hygiene and maintenance is a big issue at the airport, but he adds, “I’m more worried about its safety. I am not sure who got the infrastructural contracts but glass panels falling down every other month is a huge problem."

Pratap Gopalakrishnan, who heads human resources in a leading conglomerate, adds, “The ceiling leaks during rains and there are buckets everywhere."

However, airport officials seem to be in denial. “There is nothing wrong with the airport. We have revamped it and everything falls within requirement," says the Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson.

Sandesh Reddy, founder of Chennai-based Sandy’s Chocolate laboratory, says, “The facility may not be the best but the people here more than make up for it."

“The staff is polite, friendly and helpful—unlike in other airports. Complaining so much just increases unnecessary negativity," Reddy added.

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