Air India’s first revenue flights of the Boeing 787

Like the regular readers know already, Air India received their first Boeing 787 planes about a fortnight back. It took them 15 days to start deploying them on revenue flights while other airlines such as Ethopian took delivery and had a party flight on the way into Ethopia itself.

I’ve been circumspect about the success of Air India with these new planes being inducted, however, I finally was able to confirm the schedule a few days back and I put it out on a post for aviation lovers to read and book up if they wanted to be on that flight.

However, looks like Day 1 was a washout for the airline. Air India’s marketing machinery sucks and almost everyone knows that. Their fleet planning sucks as well, so while you know the plans of United’s 787 flights already, Air India did not upload plans in public domain before they had the plane on the ground.

I earlier planned to be on the flight, but after hearing that they were going to have a religious ceremony for the plane’s arrival in MAA, I cancelled my BOM-DEL-MAA-BOM tickets which was going to put me on the road for about 16 hours just to get on the first revenue flight of Air India’s 787s.

However, reports suggest that the DEL-MAA bound AI439 had only 116 passengers on the flight (with a capacity of 258 pax, take note!) and on the MAA-DEL segment, they only carried 92 passengers into Delhi.

Just WOW! At these occupancy levels, even basic maths would show that the flight did not recover its cost of fuel as well, and even though it uses upto 18% lesser fuel than other widebodies, this one is a disaster.

Oh, and then they sent those planes into Bangalore an hour late or so because apparently the plane developed a cooling fan problem and hence the flight was delayed by over 1 hour 30 minutes.

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There are two suggestions I would like to make to Air India in the current situation, if they ever wanted people to sample their Dreamliner at all.

  • Fire your marketing team altogether who come up with misrepresentative advertisements and cheesy promotional pages like these.

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  • Trust me that the only real TRUNK route in India is BOM-DEL-BOM where you can perhaps fill up this plane. Please leave your internal politics aside and deploy it on the BOM-DEL-BOM routes soon if you really think you want to have the Dreamliner as a pivot of your path to profitability.

And yes, as we read this, the second Dreamliner (VT-AND) has already reached Delhi on Wednesday.

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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