The Tata-SIA backed Indian carrier Vistara is on a mission — to expand and establish itself as the premier full-service carrier in the Indian skies. As part of these expansion plans, the airline also wants to establish itself in the international market, ahead of the launch of its own international operations. The latest news is that Vistara has signed a codeshare agreement with United Airlines. By this agreement, United Airlines will add its UA code to more than 20 Vistara-operated flights each day.
The next question — what’s in it for Indian travellers? For starters, there are reciprocal frequent flyer benefits for Club Vistara and United MileagePlus members. This basically means that United MileagePlus members will be able to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles on all Vistara routes and similarly, Vistara’s Club Vistara members will be able to earn and redeem CV Points on all Vistara and United routes.
Vistara’s passengers can, as you would expect, benefit from United’s vast global network, given that the airline currently operates direct flights to Delhi and Mumbai from New York/Newark. (This is in addition to the New Delhi-San Francisco direct flights scheduled to launch this December). Moreover, in both Mumbai and Delhi, United and Vistara operate out of the same terminals, rendering the connections seamless. This is equally beneficial to United’s India-bound passengers as they can now seamlessly connect to more than 20 domestic destinations, such as Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, among many others. Another added benefit is that United’s passengers can select from Vistara’s three cabin classes on the domestic flights, and this includes India’s only premium economy class.
This codeshare partnership represents interesting times for Indian aviation with a number of India-global partnerships, new alliances, suspended operations, and bullish expansion plans.