Air India Adding Flights Between Delhi And Washington As Of July 2017

Air India has expanded their U.S. route network very nicely over the past year or so. In December 2015, Air India launched a flight between Delhi and San Francisco, which is their furthest route yet. Then in the past few months they’ve doubled capacity on the route, as it has gone from operating 3x weekly to operating 6x weekly.

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Then as of August 2016 they launched a flight between London and Newark, in the form of a one-stop flight from Ahmedabad to London to Newark.

This complements their existing U.S. service, which includes flights from Mumbai to Newark, Delhi to New York, and Delhi to Chicago.

Well, it looks like Air India is about to launch another route to the U.S., which has been rumored for a while, though last I heard was being shelved for the time being.

Air India will launch 3x weekly Boeing 777 service between Delhi and Washington Dulles as of July 2017. While this new “capital-to-capital” service isn’t yet bookable, the route is confirmed by The Times Of India. Generally Air India only seems to make flights bookable once they’re 100% sure of the exact details, so it could still be a couple of months before the flight is actually bookable.

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While Air India has both 777-200LR and 777-300ER aircraft, I suspect they’ll be using the 777-300ER for the route, since they only have a few 777-200LRs, and they’re used primarily to operate the flight between Delhi and San Francisco.

If they do in fact use a 777-300ER, it will feature four first class seats, which are fully flat and feature direct aisle access.

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Meanwhile business class seats are and in a 2-3-2 configuration, so aren’t especially comfortable. I really do wish Air India would fly a 787 directly from India to the U.S., because at least those planes feature flat beds in business class without a middle seat.

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Regardless, this is certainly some exciting expansion for Air India. I had the chance to fly Air India first class from London to Delhi to San Francisco early last year, and had an overall pleasant experience. Their first class ground service in Delhi is incredible, so I’d actually like to fly with them again.

(Tip of the hat to Live from a Lounge)

Comments

  1. One stop flight from Ahmedabad – London – Newark. Not Hyderabad.

    Love how AI is expanding. Great article!

  2. They’ve announced DEL-CPH too, incidentally on a 787 with flat beds. Their 12th destination in Europe I believe. Their expansion in Europe is actually more incredible. MAD & CPH from AI are bullish, and they will make FCO and MXP daily next quarter, similar to SFO route freqeuncy upgauge. 787 has been a game changer.

  3. I believe AI 777-300 features fully flat seats in business while the 777-200 features an angled seat(the one you took from DEl to SFO). AI offers great service its about time they upgrade the hard product to match world standards. Last 2 yrs have been looking good for AI with the new govt, may be they will upgrade their 20+ yrs fleet.

  4. Air India will definitely add another direct service to US this year, the destination is not sure yet. It could be to LA or between Hyderabad and Chicago. They have been looking at direct flights from Hyderabad for a while now.

  5. The last attempt to serve Washington collapsed in total failure after barely 2 months so let’s hope they do better this time around. The network potential to interline with United will definitely help.

  6. @Sean M.
    Also, begs me to ask this question, does AI regret selling the 777-200LRs to Etihad for a bargain?

  7. I wonder if the continuing increases of Air India service will eventually get the US carriers to start trying to compete with more nonstop flights to India again.

  8. I find it interesting that out of AI’s 5 (including IAD) USA destinations, only NEWARK has lieflat business class. Now granted, their Newark flight is not a non-stop (it goes via London), but still I find that interesting to point out.

    I think my biggest question in the recent years is when AI will refurbish their 777s.

  9. B788 J lie flat
    B77W J almost lie flat, foot rest stays angled
    B77L J angled flat

    AMD-LHR-EWR B788 (fifth freedom)
    BOM-EWR – B77W
    DEL-JFK -B77W
    DEL-SFO – B77L
    HYD-DEL-ORD – B77W
    DEL-IAD – most likely B77W

  10. As much as I love your blog, you hopefully recognize that the vast majority of flyers go in coach. Only people who fly in premium cabins would want a 787 over a 777 on this route, but in economy class, AI’s 777 is configured in a very spacious 9-abreast layout with a generous 34″ pitch. The 787, on the other hand, follows the unfortunate pack with the narrow, high density 9-abreast layout. For coach travelers, the 777 is a winner.

  11. @DC225 Totally agree. AI’s 777 eco is comparable to UA’s premium economy, and I hope AI doesn’t change to 3-4-3 during a refresh of 777.

  12. I remember having noted multiple times before that AI has an extraordinarily comfortable economy hard product, which is a life-saver on these ultra-long haul flights which very few airlines in the world operate. So in my opinion it’s a winner from that standpoint. Also, I do not expect AI 787s to fly from India to US because the bosses seem to deploy their 787 inventory towards Europe, for good reason. AI also doesn’t have 787-9s on order, how I wish they did.

    One interesting thing to consider though, is whether it’s wise to start crowding their US network with East Coast destinations as it seems to be the case from their last 2 additions. Never a problem to fill seats with so many Indians around, but something to think about. I feel it’s high time they operate more US flights from a different Indian city. You simply cannot justify just one hub for a country that size.

  13. Chandan Bhat AI sold them when fuel was touching $100. If it crosses $100 then B77L would be grounded again.

    @Sarthak Country of the size of India and airline of the size of Air India. India needs more long haul airlines. Spicejet will soon experiment with long haul low cost flights. That will be a very desirable step.

  14. Why Air India has to wait until July, they already have 12 Boeing 777-300, where they use only 6 for their current US routes, remaining all are running for max 5 hr middle east route.

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