It has been 50 years since the first Boeing 747 rolled off the assembly line for PanAm. More than 1500 of the humped Jumbo Jets have been built since September 28, 1968. Air India, one of the initial customers, received their first Boeing 747 in April 1971. Air India has since operated 30 of these Boeing 747 aircraft. The 747 was aptly coined the Queen of the Skies, and still is, one of the most loved aircraft worldwide.
Currently, Air India still has 4 Boeing 747-400s (VT-ESO/P, VT-EVA/B) in its fleet. They are very old aircraft, north of 22 years since entry into service. Each 747 for them has 12 First class seats, 26 Business class seats and 385 Economy class seats.
First Class is in the nose of the aircraft in the lower level, in a 2-2 configuration. Business class occupies the entire upper deck, again in a 2-2 configuration. Economy seats, in 3-4-3, are also at the lower deck behind the First Class cabin.
The Boeing 747-400 usually flies for VVIP operations for the Government of India as Air India 1. A 747-400 regularly operates on Mumbai – Hyderabad – Jeddah – Kochi – Jeddah – Hyderabad – Mumbai rotation.
In addition, Air India deploys the Queen of the Skies on Delhi – Mumbai rotations during peak seasons. Sometimes it operates as AI 191/144 on Delhi-Mumbai route instead of the 777 but it is rare. During festivals, Air India does schedule the 747 on domestic routes like Delhi – Mumbai and Delhi – Kolkata.
Due to the capacity decrease in the domestic market as Jet Airways suspended operations, several airlines expanded significantly. Air India managed to get just 24 temporary slots. And with around 24 grounded aircraft, they managed to add only a handful of flights like an additional frequency on Delhi – Raipur, Mumbai – Visakhapatnam sector and so-on.
To beat the crunch, Air India will deploy a 747-400 on two domestic sectors on a daily basis from June 1, 2019, to July 1, 2019. Here is a look at the new 747 Air India routes.
Delhi – Mumbai
Air India will add a temporary new daily frequency on the Delhi-Mumbai sector with a 747-400. The schedule for the new flight is,
AI867 BOM0930 – 1145DEL 747 D
AI868 DEL2200 – 0015(+1 day)BOM 747 D
Economy class starts at INR 7k one-way and due to an addition of a whopping 385 economy seats one-way, expect better availability of lower fare seats.
Or fancy sitting on the upper deck in Business class for INR 32k one way or in the nose of the Jumbo Jet in First class for INR 47.5k.
Delhi – Kolkata
Air India operates 4 daily flights to Kolkata, with the morning/afternoon flights on the Boeing 787-8 and the afternoon and evening frequency on Airbus A321 aircraft. From June 1, 2019, to July 1, 2019, Air India will replace a 787-8 frequency with a 747-400 frequency.
AI20 DEL1400 – 1625CCU 747 D
AI701 CCU1730 – 1950DEL 747 D
This will lead to an increase in the seat count. The hard product is way better on the 787 but then you get to fly the iconic 747.
|Aircraft||First Class||Business Class||Economy class||Total seat count|
Since the seat count increases, you can expect more availability of lower fare seats. Economy class starts at around INR 7,563 one-way.
INR 37K for Business and INR 55k for First class one way.
The older Boeing 747s are now being replaced all over the world. Air India is one of the few carriers which have a Boeing 747-400 in its fleet. Air India’s 747-400 is expected to be retired once the Boeing 777-300ERs, which have been sent for retrofits for VVIP operations, return to India. So try and grab a seat to experience the classic aircraft while you can.
Remember, First Class and Business Class is angled and not lie-flat, it wouldn’t matter much on a 2-hour flight.
Will you let your inner #avgeek book you on this flight?