Vistara has been making ties with various airlines since the start of its operations. As of now, Vistara has signed an interline agreement with almost all international carriers operating to Delhi airport, which is Vistara’s hub. What helps Vistara is the brand recognition it gets among the connecting passengers.
Vistara already has a codeshare agreement in place with its parent airline, Singapore Airlines and subsidiary Silk Air. It also signed a codeshare agreement with British Airways. Vistara recently entered into a codeshare agreement with Japan Airlines. The later two codeshare agreements may have indicated Vistara’s plans with the 787-9, first of which will be delivered in early 2020.
Vistara and United already have an interline agreement in place and they are taking it to the next step. Vistara has now entered into a codeshare agreement with United Airlines. United used to have a codeshare agreement with Jet Airways which was dropped when Jet Airways started cosying up with Delta, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic. However, United maintained an interline agreement with Jet Airways till it folded operations in April 2019.
United will place its UA code on 20 flights out of the 168 daily flights operated by Vistara. The flights will go on sale later in the year once government approvals are in place. Vistara may also be waiting for the government to firm up the Jet Airways slots allocated to them on a temporary basis so that some of the newly added flights may also be under the codeshare agreement.
United currently operates a daily 777-300ER service on Newark-Mumbai route. The daily Delhi-Newark route is temporarily suspended due to the prolonged closure of Pakistan airspace and may resume from August 1, 2019. United is also launching seasonal daily 787-9 flights on Delhi-San Francisco route from December 5, 2019.
As a part of the codeshare agreement, United and Vistara will have reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, single ticket booking, checked baggage to the final destination and also coordinated customer service. However, to note, Vistara was already offering single ticket booking and through check-in as a part of the interline agreement with United. So the only addition is reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.
According to John Gebo, United’s senior vice president of Alliances,
United Airlines has served India from our New York/Newark hub for more than 14 years and in December of this year will begin operating new nonstop service between San Francisco and New Delhi. We are pleased to enter into this new alliance agreement with Vistara to offer our customers traveling between the United States and India seamless access to more destinations throughout India.
According to Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara,
We’re very happy to take our partnership with United Airlines to the next level with this codeshare agreement. It helps us offer an extended global network to our customers and gives us the chance of welcoming travelers from across the world to experience Vistara’s award-winning hospitality and service in India. With United Airlines, we share the passion for staying ahead of the curve to delight customers, and we’re confident that our respective customers will truly enjoy the shared benefits of this collaboration.
United has more to gain with this new codeshare agreement than Vistara since it lacked a strong Indian partner. It is interesting to note that United and Air India both being Star Alliance members and both offering a large number of nonstop flights to each other’s hubs on the India-USA sector, do not have a codeshare agreement in place.
Does this move help regular United customers add more connectivity options around India for them?