There are decisions and there are good decisions. When we are talking Air India, there is a huge difference between the two. Last week, I flew on Air India and I realized why I don’t fly them often. Last year, Air India announced a direct flight between Delhi and San Francisco, which started operating as of December 2015.
It seems the flight got a good response, because Air India is now talking about making it a daily flight as of the Winter 2016 schedule, which will start last weekend of October 2016. This has not been made available for booking yet, because when I look for dates in the Winter 2016 schedule, I only get 3 times a week as of now.
Air India gets permission to fly over the Pacific
Anyhow, so far, Air India was making this Delhi to San Francisco trip by flying West, to stick with an overland route as much as possible. Have a look at the route below, courtesy FlightRadar24.
While flying west is the preferred route to arrive on the East Coast, to fly over to the West Coast it really is a different beast altogether. The tailwinds are towards the east. Hence, flying west means more fuel burn and a longer flight time. However, now the Indian aviation regulator has approved the utilization of the Pacific Route, by notifying a circular about this. Air India, of course, being the only Indian carrier to fly to the west coast will get the most benefit out of this since they can now start operating flights through the Pacific.
The new route is going to be longer than the existing routing over the Atlantic, but with favourable tailwinds, there is an expectation of about 3 hours less of flying time during the winters.
This is great news for the airline as well as flyers since they can get through to their destination earlier, while the airline will be able to save on huge fuel bills.
Have you flown the Air India DEL-SFO flight in either directions? What has been your experience with the flight?