Air India, the only Indian carrier operating non-stop flights to the US, added a new flight yesterday with the launch of non-stop flights between Mumbai and San Francisco. There are many first with this flight, and here are some details.
Air India launches Mumbai – San Francisco non-stop flight.
Air India, today (December 15, 2022), launched the first of their three times weekly service between Mumbai and San Francisco. This follows the launch of the three-times-a-week flights between Bengaluru and San Francisco on December 2, 2022.
The flight will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with the newly-inducted Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, the first of which is already inducted in their fleet and is an ex-Delta aircraft.
This flight will take Air India’s India-US frequency to 40 non-stop flights per week. Air India operates non-stop flights from Mumbai to Newark, from Delhi to New York, Newark, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Chicago, and from Bengaluru to San Francisco. This will be the third Indian city after Delhi and Bengaluru to have a direct flight to San Francisco.
The first flight, AI 179 from Mumbai to San Francisco, left Mumbai on time at 1430 hrs to arrive in San Francisco at 1700 hrs (local time) on the same day. The return flight AI 180 will depart from San Francisco at 2100 hrs (local time) to arrive in Mumbai at 0340 hrs+2 days.
Air India to operate the aircraft in the original configuration of Delta.
With the limited time Air India had between finalising a deal for these aircraft and their induction (and the fact that these aircraft are only going to be with them for the next 2-3 years, Air India has kept the plane intact and reconfigured it. This means you will get the same product as Delta used to operate with this aircraft. All that has changed is the references to the Delta logo and the red widget being taken off the plane.
Hello from #Vihaan @airindiain #VTAEF pic.twitter.com/t47dunbwvd
— Saif (@saif380) December 11, 2022
I was able to fly VT-AEF today (AI687). I got a seat in the premium economy section (though economy tkt). Great hard product! Overall feeling and vibe was super positive! Crew also seemed excited to be flying it and getting ready for the BOM-SFO debut.@airindiain @Vinamralongani pic.twitter.com/dQDyEqiroK
— Deep Choudhuri (@deep_choudhuri) December 13, 2022
Currently, there is one solitary aircraft, registered VT-AEF, and this jet will ply Mumbai – San Francisco and return for now. In this sector, hence, you should expect to see a well-maintained aircraft with working IFE and a business class with doors for privacy.
Air India is to sell premium economy as Economy Plus for now.
Delta had a lovely Premium Economy cabin in a 2-4-2 configuration on these aircraft. But since only one aircraft is available right now, Air India is not selling premium economy (since there are no replacement aircraft available in case of an aircraft-on-ground situation).
To monetise these aircraft, Air India is working on an Economy Plus strategy for now (without calling them as such). They are selling seats in this specific sector, Mumbai – San Francisco, and return for INR 8985/USD 110 (depending on which country you originate from).
Air India is offering, apart from more legroom (38″ seat pitch and 7″ recline) and better seats, the promise of premium meals and noise-cancelling headphones on these seats. You can see the details here.
Be sure to select seats in rows 20-25 to get the “premium economy” seats. In case you have made your booking already, you will still be able to select these seats by retrieving your booking from the – manage my booking – section. You can choose these under the additional services section.
Air India has launched 3x weekly BOM-SFO flights and is offering Premium Economy cabin as a small upsell over the Economy cabin pricing. To this effect, you can add these seats (rows 20-25) on BOM-SFO/SFO-BOM for an additional amount equivalent to USD 110, which is a bargain for a 16-hour flight.
Have you flown the new Mumbai – San Francisco service with Air India? What has your experience been like?
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Credit to Air India for launching a new route, and with a decent (albeit interim) product.
Next 2-5 years will be crucial for them re-capture loyalty from passengers.
This recent expansion is good to build critical mass in their network, and then replace these interim aircraft and products with their new offering to bring consistency across the network.
Good luck to them, and I pray they do not fail!