Categories
Aviation News

American Airlines upgrades New Delhi flights before launch (again!)

American Airlines has upgraded flights between New York and New Delhi that are scheduled to start this winter. The airline will now deploy a Boeing B777-300ER instead of a Boeing B777-200ER that the carrier originally intended to operate on this route. Let’s find out more.

Upgraded

Twitter user Ishrion Aviation first noted that American Airlines has upgraded the route to a larger Boeing B777-300ER.

In April 2021, American Airlines announced 3-weekly nonstop flights to New Delhi from New York. At the time of announcement, the carrier stated that between the peak travel period from 17th November 2021 through 3rd January 2022, it planned to operate daily flights. All flights were set to run onboard Boeing B777-200ER aircraft.

Then, in June, American Airlines increased frequencies on the route. While holding onto the Boeing B777-200ER to run the service, the carrier turned the service to a daily one.

However, now according to the latest information, the carrier will deploy its flagship Boeing B777-300ER aircraft on flights between New Delhi and New York.

Schedule

Starting 31st October 2021, American will operate daily flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The flights will run with the following schedule:

  • New York-New Delhi
  • Departure time: 19:15
  • Arrival time: 19:30 (the next day)
  • Flight time: 14 hours and 45 minutes
  • Flight number: AA292
  • Frequency: Daily
  • New York-New Delhi
  • Departure time: 23:55
  • Arrival time: 06:15 (the next day)
  • Flight time: 15 hours and 50 minutes
  • Flight number: AA293
  • Frequency: Daily

These flights will be the only ones that the airline will operate to New Delhi. American separately plans to launch a Seattle-Bengaluru route that has been delayed repeatedly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Seattle-Bengaluru route was first scheduled to begin on 30th October 2021. Then, American changed the launch date to 6th November 2021. However, now, the inaugural flight is scheduled to takeoff on 2nd November 2021. The schedules for these flights are:

  • Seattle-Bengaluru
  • Departure time: 17:55
  • Arrival time: 23:10 (the next day)
  • Flight time: 16 hours and 45 minutes
  • Flight number: AA180
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Bengaluru-Seattle
  • Departure time: 02:00
  • Arrival time: 06:10
  • Flight time: 16 hours and 40 minutes
  • Flight number: AA181
  • Frequency: Daily

Flights between Seattle and Bengaluru will be operated by American’s Boeing B787-9 aircraft.

Stay up to date: Sign up for my newsletter to never miss latest Aviation and Travel news.

American’s B777-300ER vs B777-200ER

The Boeing B777-300ER is American’s flagship aircraft. It is the only aircraft in the airline’s fleet that features American’s flagship First Class, which is the airline’s true long-haul international first class product. These seats are configured in a 1-2-1 layout.

American Airlines’ Flagship First Class onboard B777-300ER. Photo: American Airlines

Following this cabin are 52 Flagship Business reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Passengers flying in a Flagship-branded cabin will be in for a treat. Those in First Class can access American’s exclusive Flagship First Dining facility on the ground in JFK. Both First Class and Business Class customers can access the airline’s Flagship Lounge. These facilities reopen in just a couple of weeks at JFK.

Business Class on American’s Boeing B777-300ER. Photo: American Airlines

Behind the Business Class cabin is the Premium Economy Cabin featuring 28 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. The premium economy seats are similar to that of the airline’s domestic first class seats. They are recliner style, but offer more width and pitch than economy seats onboard the aircraft.

Then there are 28 extra-legroom economy seats, branded as Main Cabin Extra, with 36″ of pitch. Finally, there are 188 standard economy seats with 31-32″ of pitch. These cabins are arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration.

All seats onboard the aircraft are equipped with seatback entertainment. There is also WiFi available on the flights for passengers who want to use their own devices to catch up on work or stream other entertainment.

On the other hand, American’s B777-200ER features a total of 273 seats, including 37 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy and 212 in Economy (these include the Main Cabin Extra).

As you can see, the Boeing B777-300ER has 31 more seats overall, and that’s almost entirely premium seats, including 8 First Class seats, 15 Business Class seats, and 4 Premium Economy seats.

Optimistic

The upgrades on this route comes amid ongoing travel restrictions for travellers from both the countries. The US has barred most foreign nationals who were physically present in India in the last 14 days before entry from coming directly to the United States. India too has banned almost all foreign nationals from entering the country.

Nevertheless, there are strong familial ties between India and the US. The India-US market is a heavy visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market, and is a growing business one, as well. Some of these categories of travellers can get around the bans either through citizenship or special immigration status.

American Airlines deploying B777-300ER on New Delhi flights is a big deal as these airplanes fly to the airline’s top international destinations, including Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, and London. On the other hand, there is also a question of where traffic is these days. Hong Kong is largely closed while London is not anywhere close to recovered. This leaves the airline with some spare Boeing B777-300ERs that it can devote to routes like this.

New Delhi is market that has performed well for United Airlines. During the pandemic in December 2020, United launched flights between New Delhi and Chicago, which was quite successful at launch. It also flies to New Delhi from its hubs at Newark and San Francisco & is planning to launch services between San Francisco and Bengaluru in December this year. Air India also flies heavily from Delhi, Mumbai , Bengaluru and Hyderabad to the United States – including to JFK. This also excludes the impact of connecting traffic, with passengers who fly via a point in Europe or the Middle East.

All in all, American is entering a very crowded and competitive market and that is without Vistara entering. American seems to be quite confident about its New Delhi route and is concentrating some of its flagship aircraft there right now as demand to most of East Asia remains dry.

Meanwhile, American Airlines recently increased frequency of flights to New Delhi before launch later this year. The airline has also partnered with Vertical Aerospace for EVTOL aircrafts. Also recently, the Dallas-based carrier announced 14 new routes out of Austin. The carrier is expanding in the Caribbean by launching flights to Dominica and Anguilla from Miami and has partnered with TikTok to provide free inflight access.

Featured image by American Airlines

What do you think of American Airlines upgrading flights to New Delhi? Let me know in the comments section below.

Follow IH Aviation and Travel on Social Media on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s