Air India has begun operation of direct flights between Delhi and San Francisco.
"With the commencement of Delhi-San Francisco operations, Air India became the first airline to offer direct connections from India to the west coast of the US," said Air India in a statement.
The three-times weekly service operates every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flight AI173 departs Delhi at 0235 and arrives in San Francisco at 0600. The return service flight, AI174, will then take off from San Francisco at 1000 and touch back down in Delhi at 1535 the following day.
Flight durations for the Delhi–San Francisco route clock in just shy of 17 hours, with a total distance of 12,402km. Air India has deployed its B777-200LR on the route, and the aircraft sports a three-class configuration with eight seats in first, 35 in business, and 195 in economy.
The deployment of the B777-200LR is a surprising move, given that Air India has a growing fleet of B777-300ERs, which do have the required range to service the route.
It may be that the Star Alliance member anticipates high demand for premium seats, given that the B777-200LR offers four more seats in first class over the B777-300ER, while business class capacity is identical between the two aircraft. On the flip side, the B777-300ER offers 108 more seats in economy class.
India does represent an important market for San Francisco. The US city recorded 149,000 Indian travellers last year, with India ranking among the city’s top 10 international markets, according to the San Francisco Travel Association.
For more information, visit airindia.in