Here is how to book your tickets on Air India Special Flights to USA, UK & Singapore

A lot of our coverage yesterday was about bringing Indians back home from various countries around the world where Indians are stranded at the moment. However, while evacuation flights are being operated, the plan of the Government initially was to fly the outward leg of the flight to the country empty. For instance, to bring back citizens from London, Mumbai – London will be flown empty.

To this effect, many Indians who work abroad or stay abroad had raised the point that they would also like to go home and be reunited with their families which may be in a different country, or they may have a visa issue which needs them to get back to their country of work quickly and so on.

They were offered their first ray of hope by the Government of India, where the Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep S Puri, mentioned that “Those of our citizens who are ordinarily resident abroad, as in those people who have regular jobs outside, who are on long-term visas outside, and who need to get back because they have professional lives outside, we will also be attempting to send them on these flights which will be going to those countries. Again, details of these flights will be available, as these flights are opened up. ”

Here is a clip of the press conference he addressed via video where these remarks were made. I’ve cued it to the exact point of reference for ease.

Also, Standard Operating Procedures were notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs last evening for those who will be arriving in the country on these repatriation flights. There are also notifications on how to have people stranded in India fly back home. Here are some details.

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation, which is taking the lead on this effort, will need to be contacted along with necessary details, including the place of departure and arrival. However, no email address has been notified so far to contact MoCA.
  • Only those people will be allowed to fly to the destination countries who are citizens of that country or who hold a visa of at least one-year duration of that country, and Green Card or OCI holders. In case of Medical Emergencies or a death in the family, Indian nationals holding six-month visa can also be allowed.
  • Before the tickets of such passengers are confirmed, MoCA will ensure that destination country will allow entry of these people into the other country.
  • Cost of travel will be borne by these travellers.
  • Only Asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board the flight.

I have been in touch with someone whose family needs to travel due to certain emergencies. I was informed that they had managed to clear the first hurdle and were now being in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs who were coordinating to see if they could board the plane as the other side had to be ready to let them into the country.

However, I cannot guarantee this will work out. Here is a social media post which points in this direction.

Update 1630 hours May 6, 2020

Some of these flights are now being able to be booked on the Air India website. The website is clunky at the moment and going down ever so often, so try the app if you want. For instance, here is my attempt to book the Delhi – San Francisco Empty leg. I am not aware of the other formalities needed at the moment to fly to SFO during the Pandemic, so buy after you have full clarity of the situation.

Update 1 AM, May 7, 2020

Air India has managed to streamline the process to make bookings on these flights. Here is an Air India webpage that gives you the same guidelines as we have enlisted above.

For starts, Air India has indicated that they will only be able to offer passengers to fly on flights to Singapore, United Kingdom and United States of America for now. Passengers will also have to undertake that in case of deportation, the entire cost towards deportation penalty, return fare and cost of quarantine will be borne by the passenger.

You can book your flights on the Air India website using this special link.

Bottomline

I am assuming this process is going to be a lot of a grey area for now, but it should still allow for some people to get out of the country and be united with their families or their jobs which may have suffered as they were stranded in India so far.  However, most flights from other countries, such as those from New Zealand, UK, Germany and the USA to India by airlines of the other countries have been flying empty to India so far, so I am not sure if that was on India’s part an unwillingness to let them in or an unwillingness to bring Indians back home. I will update this post if I get more data points.

What do you make out of India’s plans to ship people out of the country on these flights as well?

Comments

  1. My son is studying in ssr medical college Mauritius ,his exams r starting in this month of june ,he is stuck up in india .so please let me know about the flight schedule for Mauritius.thanks

  2. Hi I have a British passport and a job in UK I came to Mumbai for few days.in March now with the lockdown I am stuck in BOM. My employer wants me to come asap but there are no flights that I can book to go back.
    I have registered my name with British Gov.but no luck to go on flight they say to contact Air India but very difficult to book a flight.Now that I know there is a flight to LON. on 6th June but AI site does not show the availability flight.Who do I contact please help me and advice.

    • Dear Neville,

      Please try the mobile app of Air India. In my struggle to get a flight to USA, I noticed that bookings did showed on Mobile app but AirIndia website kept saying flight unavailable.

      I know for a fact that until around 1300 hrs on 30th may, Booking to London was available for around INR 1,17,000/-. Later when I checked on mobile app, it was sold out. I hope you managed to get a booking on it.

      Wasi

  3. I was trying to booked the flight ftom Delhi to San Francisco but air travel agency said seat is all booked til June 2 so how I can get the ticket please help

    • I also need a repatriation flight from Delhi to San Francisco ASAP. I have been stuck here since Jan. Please help me. My family is there in Los Angeles California USA. I would really appreciate it very much. My son is so depressed with out me. I am also very depressed here.. please get me a flight back home ASAP. Thanks

  4. I am NrI who has confirmed flight to SFO from Delhi on the 17th of May. I will take the flight if plane is flying empty or partially empty.i need to be with my family and go back to my employment.

  5. Hai sir is any flights going from kochi to London we are lots of peoplle waiting in kochi. Please arrange one for us. Our families are in uk..thanks…

  6. My fiancee Sam,has been in New Delhi,India for over a year now.
    I need him home with me in the USA.
    Please help him find away home.
    Thank you
    Donna Hughes

  7. Besides to pay airfare when u land Delhi you have to stay quarantine in hotel and pay 40000 instead of home
    Especially impossible for students who borrow money and went home
    I refer to Indian students in singapore as inform by one who return on the 1st flight

  8. I ‘ve oman’s residence card n want to go back. Please let me know when will residence of oman can apply.

  9. Sir any repatriation flights to Australia?? You have got mercy flights to all destinations except Australia.. Any idea if you have any plan for Asia Pacific services??

    • These are NOT mercy flights but they are MONEY-MAKING flights charging exorbitant amount of money while preventing commercial flights. I was scheduled to leave on March 23rd but got stuck in the lock down. While I support Mody and his lockdown, the implementation with ought an exit path is rather rediculus.

  10. Is there any flight from Delhi to Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi in coming days
    Pls let me I have UAE permanent residence visa

  11. Hi, I came from Canada. I have Canadian work permit. Number of people who has Canadian Work permit want to go back Canada. Please start service of Air India for us also.

  12. I am being told to go by road from Bangalore to Delhi, to catch a flight to USA. Isn’t there a feeder flight from Bangalore to Delhi (in the announced schedule it says there is ONE flight but does not allow us to select bangalore to delhi). Please help.

  13. I came from Italy & stuck here in India. What about me? Do you offer any flight to Rome Italy?

  14. I have tire 2 ict long term visa, which is valid till 23rd may , my UK employer wants to extend my work visa further, for that i need to travel to Uk before my visa expire, can i travel to UK with this special Airindia flights from Mumbai

  15. I am an Indian national wanting to travel to UK as my son who is a student stranded there from last two months. I have a two year UK tourist C visa which is valid until 4th December 2020 ( valid for 7montgs) Can I travel on this visa on these evacuation flights leaving for London from Mumbai? Will.i.be allowed entry at UK.immigration?

  16. By the way I was having flight on 4th May 20 from Toronto, which was cancelled.
    Air France does operate from Toronto but, Not to India, as, India has suspended all international and even domestic flights, as of now, till 17th May.

  17. So far they have not announced any plans for repatriation of people stranded in Canada.
    Hope they will announce the same in coming days.
    But definitely if these are the prices, one has to wait for normal international flights to start.

  18. I had a flight to British Columbia, canada on April 2nd but got cancelled.please arrange flight to bc for work permit holders too.if not special flights , commercial flights need to start soon. Please share atleast a resume plan and details.

  19. Appreciate the gesture of our government in helping us but the pricing cannot be exorbitant where as people like us will find it difficult to pay in the current crisis as we have already paid for the earlier ticket and have to pay again to buy a fresh ticket… request our government to help us come back at a nominal priced ticket

  20. Please advise and assist how does one travel with a little child (less than 2 yrs old) from Kolkata to either Delhi or Mumbai to take a flight to Newark, USA? Have been stuck in Kolkata for over 2 months.

    • Same here..why mo connection tuins from Kolkata even though connections from Hyderabad Chennai and Srinagst? Kolkata is one of the major cities with lit of travellers to US and UK

  21. Thanks to government of state for begin people from different countries. Now you have arange flight from 07 to 17thmay 2020 thanks to air India
    Please people are still in London who wont to travel to India pls help them
    Only government can help to begin people to India by air India.
    Now this is the time to show how important are people of India and people will praise the government and the ministry of India and also the ministry of air India….thanks sir

  22. We are US citizens and are holding return tickets Hyderabad/Dubai/Dallas. Let Emirates also to be allowed to fly their Aircrafts to facilitate stranded American Citizens back home.

    • @Mohammad you could have tried getting on the flight operated by United/Delta to be repatriated out of India. No airline is operating scheduled flights at the moment, so your return tickets don’t count.

    • Mohammad, we are Canadian citizens. We also have a ticket from Kolkata to Toronto via Dubai on Rmirates. I was told by Emirates they don’t have any plans to fly from Kolkata in foreseeable future. I sincerely wish they would change their mind and take us back home.

      • @Rina, Emirates won’t operate till Government of India does not allow them to operate in India. So this has nothing to do with Emirates wishes, but an Indian government order which does not allow entry of non-Citizens to India and civil aviation closure inside the country.

  23. I and my child is stuck in Delhi and we live in the USA. We are on H4 dependent visa. Am I eligible to book these flights? Is there any chance that I ll face any problem at the entry at SFO airport?

    • @Priyanka, I have a sense you should be allowed in the US, but better to make a quick call to the US consulate/embassy for guidance.

  24. It is insane how Air-India can charge Rs.140,000 for 1 passenger to fly to SFO from Delhi and make money. But there are 1000s of passengers waiting for Air-India to take their passengers back to those same countries since they had booked return flights with airIndia and are stuck in India.‍♂️ If AirIndia is allowed to fly, all airlines should be allowed to fly out and take their return customers out of India who have already paid so much before this Pandemic.

    • Agreevwith you 100%. I have booked the ticket 4 times now and all 4 times it got canceled the last minute because of Lockdown.
      Obviously at this time only people holding citizenship from other countries are going to fly back.
      If liquor shops are allowed to be open, why can’t t flights operate to take us back on our regular booked tickets.
      Especially with a family of 3 or 4 trying to fly back to
      U. S. A, IT IS NOT AFFORDABLE TO PAY HIGH PRICE.
      WE ALL CAME PAYING REGULAR NOMIAL TICKET RATE WHICH COST US AROUNT $1000 ROUNDTRIP
      ( DALLAS TO DELHI AND BACK TO DALLAS) .
      We are not applying for any of these repatriation flights only because of high ticket price.
      I would request the CivilAviation Minister to allow resumption of domestic and international flights starting from May
      18 th so we can go home and resume our normal life (work ).

      • I absolutely agree with you guys. My return flight has been cancelled twice. My son is sick in Los Angeles, California. I need to go back asap. But I can not afford this so much High prices either. Therefore I am really begging the Indian government to resume the regular flights. I have lost my money twice on the return ticket. I am a US citizen since last 20 years. I had booked my flight with Make my Trip.com. And now they are not giving money back. No refund only date change is allowed. I don’t have any more money left to pay this so expensive flight. Please either give me a cheaper ticket on resume all the regular flights. I would really appreciate the generosity of Indian government. Thanks. Take care and stay safe

    • I fully agree with you. My flights for cancelled three times. The amount charged is insane. I hope, they will start commercial flights soon.

  25. It would be good if there was a link for registration. I have spent so much time looking for the link with no luck.

  26. Can me and my wife travel in business class on these flights? How much would it cost to go to Washington IAD airport or to Chicago?

  27. I hope the process of further clarified as soon as possible. We need information on registration, flight plan, process to help the passengers reach the airport while letting the person dropping them off go back, whether it’s inter-state or intrastate travel.

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