American Airlines starts New York-Delhi direct; defers Bengaluru-Seattle to March-end

NEW DELHI: India-US nonstop connectivity has got a boost with American Airlines resuming flights to the country after almost a decade. American’s New York-Delhi inaugural landed at the capital’s IGI Airport on Saturday night. This flight was supposed to start October-end but was deferred by a couple of weeks for the November 8 US reopening for international travelers. Similarly, American’s Bengaluru-Seattle that was to start from January 4, 2022, has been deferred by a few months to March-end as corporate travel is yet to pick up and is expected to show signs of revival by then. The airline has last flown to India in 2012 when it terminated its Chicago-Delhi route that was launched in 2007. “There is tremendous demand for travel between India and the US, thanks to the large diaspora and growing business ties. The pandemic has led to a preference among people to travel nonstop instead of going one-stop. There is huge potential for expansion in India. Mumbai is one place we are looking at closely. We will see how these two routes that we have announced do and then decide,” American’s MD (sales) Tom Lattig told TOI. “Our India flights will have a feel of the country in terms of meals, inflight entertainment content, and Hindi-speaking crew. Our aircraft have onboard WiFi from Panasonic that have great oceanic coverage too,” he added. American recently entered into a codeshare agreement with IndiGo and will put its code on 29 of IndiGo’s domestic routes in India for seamless nationwide connectivity. AAdvantage members will earn miles when traveling on American codeshare flights operated by IndiGo. Customers traveling in American’s Flagship® Business cabin will have access to IndiGo partner lounges in their originating cities. Air India and United have nonstops on several routes between India and the US. Delta suspended flights here last March and is yet to resume them. In pre-pandemic times, a majority of travel between the two continents used to happen on one-stops via hubs in the Gulf, Europe and Southeast Asia. But Covid is expected to shift the trend to nonstops. During Covid, both AI, which is soon going to be a part of the Tata Group, and United have augmented direct services between India and the US including the launch of new routes like Bengaluru-San Francisco.

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