Air India Launching Delhi To San Francisco Route

For several months now, there have been rumors about Air India possibly expanding to San Francisco and/or Toronto. As it stands, Air India’s only destinations in North America are Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), and Newark (EWR). The new routes were supposedly going to be launched this winter, though the rest of the details were still being worked out.

Last week that rumor became more credible, as a senior Air India official was quoted as saying that the airline would launch service to San Francisco, out of either Delhi or Bangalore. A Bangalore to San Francisco flight would be the longest in the world, beating out the current longest flight of Dallas to Sydney, and also beating out the longest flight as of February 2016, Dubai to Panama City.

Well, the good news is that Air India’s new route to San Francisco is now confirmed… except it won’t be the longest flight in the world.

Air India will launch 3x weekly flights between Delhi and San Francisco as of December 2, 2015. This will be the only nonstop flight between the west coast of the US and India. The route will operate Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays in both directions.

While the exact times of the flight haven’t yet been published, it should leave India in the early hours of the morning (probably around 2AM), to get into San Francisco early morning as well. Then the return flight will depart in the morning and get back to Delhi mid-afternoon.

DELSFO

The Delhi to San Francisco flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR, which Air India has just three of (they sold five of them to Etihad). The plane features 238 seats, including:

  • 8 first class seats
  • 35 business class seats
  • 195 economy class seats

That’s quite a “premium” configuration, given that Air India’s 777-300ERs feature just four first class seats, the same number of business class seats, and over 100 more economy seats. Rumor has it that Air India will eventually reconfigured the 777-200LRs to feature more economy seats, though that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

British-Airways-Lounge-Chicago-20

So is the new Air India route economically viable? We don’t know… and via firstpost.com, it sounds like Air India doesn’t either:

Also, they said an economic feasibility study has not been conducted till now though the airline went ahead with the announcement to coincide with World Tourism Day.

Then again, economy feasibility studies probably aren’t very important for Air India. After all, this is the airline where just nine of their 370 daily flights turn a profit, via the The Indian Express. 😉

Bottom line

I’m excited to try Air India first class sometime soon, and perhaps their new longest route is a good route on which to do so. The new flight isn’t yet bookable, though it should be in the coming days.

What do you make of Air India’s new route between Delhi and San Francisco? Would you ever consider taking it?

Comments

  1. For long, Air India has always been given hate for baseless reasons, mostly due to lobbying by private airlines. I will be happy to try this route one day, though I hope AI takes out first class and replaces that with a premium economy cabin. Also hope they get their PR/Marketing right for this launch, as that is one of their biggest weaknesses. Their product/service is usually above par, and the fleet is quite modern.

  2. Schedule now loaded:
    AI173 departs* New Delhi at 02:45 and arrives San Francisco International at 06:00
    AI174 departs* San Francisco International at 10:00 and arrives New Delhi at 15:35 the next day
    *all departures on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays

  3. I have traveled several times over the past year BKK to EWR with transit in BOM or DEL in business for a bargain at around $2500-$2700 RT. The Dreamliner BKK to DEL or BOM is great and used the Thai lounge in BKK. The lounge in BOM is fantastic. The 777 BOM or DEL to EWR was also a flatbed and quite acceptable. You have a choice of Indian or Continental food so no problems there and they had Talisker, one of my favorite single malts along with others that you may like.
    I also travel other airlines frequently from Asia to the US – Cathay, Qatar, JAL, ANA, Singapore etc but at these price levels in business it is hard to resist. It is much more expensive in business from BOM or DEL to EWR
    Sanjay

  4. Anyone ridden on the planes they are using for this? I am hoping they are in better shape than the domestic hardware. The AI planes I have ridden in many times recently are a bit thread worn.

  5. Like many, my final destination in India is Bangalore, and since that will then require a connection in India to reach Bangalore, i would just assume fly LH, CX, ME3 or many other choices than Air India for such a long flight.

    I would have really thought given connection between Silicon Valley and Bangalore, that would have been the final destination, although I am still not sure I would choose the route.

    The other negative is the limited number of days the flight will operate, which really does limit ones flexibility.

    No Thank You!

  6. The longest flight in the world is any flight on US3 metal, in Y, with pissy FAs. Throw in the usual ground delays at ORD/JFK/LGA and you’ve got a trifecta going.

  7. The single worst flight I’ve ever had in my life was an Air India flight from JFK-LHR. While this was 30 years ago, I still remember with absolute horror that flight. (It was bad enough that we ended up flying Pan Am back.) I can’t imagine that I would ever take this flight, even with my 2-3x a year flying from the west coast to Southeast Asia.

  8. Air India…isn’t this the same airline that has a lot of…sanitary issues? And a rat infestation? And pilots who fly while drunk?

  9. Was curious if AI has done a test run on the route , usually they fly the route several times in preparation for a launch but so far I have yet to see or hear about a AI 777 in SFO

  10. The last time I flew AI, was the last time I’ll ever fly them. Horrible service, horrible safety practices. It’s likely that they will do well on the route, with the large Indian population in the Bay Area.

  11. Air India’s new route is exciting. Given the high standards AI maintain in their North American routes, I w’d certainly take it.
    My suggestion is that since it is going to be one of the longest in the World, they shd have some special menus, entertainment systems etc. Well done AI. Keep the Indian flag flying high!!

  12. I flew AI only once from US to India. That was my first and last and I will never fly AI, I had horrible experience in that flight. It was late by 12 hours; the staff were completely not courteous, missed the connection flight at Mumbai: missed my appointments. a long such list goes on.

    NEVER

  13. They should try flying over pacific than Atlantic. May be SFO-CCU then connection to other cities. That would save fuel and time

  14. Does anybody know if this would be a polar flight? The flight path in the diagram attached to this article seems to indicate that. If this is a polar flight then it would be AI’s first.

  15. Hands down the worst airline of all times! I would rather fly in a recommissioned Russian Military cargo plane. The service matches the rudeness of Indians from India..you can smell the curry right before you hit the jetway. I am embarrassed to say that I decided to fly first class with these clowns.
    Seriously people, do not waste your money, most people rating this airline high are the ones are die hard indian fans and not looking at this objectively.

    Oh yes, I was also routed to Bombay instead of Delhi, cuz of the technical issues and given a train ticket to Delhi! stay away….from the airline and the country if you can!!

  16. I have travelled in Air India flight AI 173 from Bangalore to New Delhi to Sanfransisco .Initially we felt it is very pleasant flight however Air India do not bother to see the inconvenience to passengers such as television set provided for Entertainment were not working. No advance information was given as to when meals and breakfast would be served. Further wanted to know whether AI has stopped serving complimentary liquor and other drinks in this flight? passengers were desparetely waiting to pass the time and thought that crews will serve the drinks to passengers but no such service is provided by them, however some passengers were seen taking the required liqueur and drinks from back side of the flight. Some passengers were asking for some more liquor or drinks but the person who was sitting to serve in the back side was very much adamant and was not at all cooperating and was shouting on the passangers as if they are beggars. crew members were behaving as if passengers have boarded free and they are burden on them. If this type of treatment is given to AI passengers then the days are not far away that people’s will avoid AI completely and will prefer other good airlines.
    We hope you will improve the service without further delay.

  17. I agree with Kulkarni Sameer; had a very similar experience. The seats, screen, toilets were all worn out, but that would still have been ok, if not for the incredibly incompetent and rude crew. We are a bit spoilt traveling with Emirates and expected a reasonable amount of decency, but the in-flight crew went around literally yelling at passengers for things like using the reading light, keeping the window shutters open during the flight, and not finishing the food fast enough for them to collect. I myself was yelled at for standing in queue to use the restroom 1 h before landing (no direction from the pilots to go fasten seat belta).

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