Air India to Use New B777-200LRs with Premium Economy on New and Existing Routes between India and USA

Premium Economy, which makes travel cheaper than business class flights and better than economy class travel, is to see competition heat up between Air India and other airlines on some US-India routes in 2023. Air India hinted at introducing Premium Economy service in a recent press release on its leasing of five wide-body aircraft for the upcoming flights between India and the US. Currently, American Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and Air France operate premium economy flights to and from India.

Air India flights USA, Air India premium economy, nonstop flights US-India, SFO-BOM direct flights

Picture Credit: Travelradar.aero

Air India’s Premium Economy class is long overdue, as indications of rolling out this cabin on some popular long-haul routes had surfaced in the Air India news in 2015. Though introduced as a middle-of-the-road travel cabin between business and economy by Eva Air way back in 1991, Premium Economy gained momentum during the Great Recession (2007-2009) when international airlines’ revenue from business class flight tickets fell to a miserable low. Apparently, premium economy seats are on average 60% cheaper than business class seats; but the same costs nearly 60% more than normal economy class fares.

Reportedly, Air India’s Premium Economy cabin will be retrofitted to five B777-200LRs which will be inducted into the airline’s fleet between December 2022 and March 2023. This is part of the 30 new aircraft that the airline has leased to inflate its fleet and widen its international footprint over the next 15 months. As of today, Air India’s sister airline Air Vistara is the only Indian carrier with premium economy class on both international and domestic flights. “These new aircraft, together with existing aircraft being returned to service, address an immediate need for more capacity and connectivity, and mark a strong step forward,” said Air India’s CEO Campbell Wilson.

Nonstop flights to Mumbai from three US cities

The five new B777-200LRs will be deployed for some of the nonstop flights between India and USA, according to the press release. Air India hinted at its plans to launch nonstop flights from Mumbai to San Francisco and New York JFK. The plans to resume SFO to Bengaluru nonstop flights and Newark to Mumbai nonstop flights are also on the radar, as CEO Campbell Wilson said, “Air India has exciting expansion and renewal plans, of which these new aircraft are just the beginning.” Kempegowda Airport, BLR will receive three weekly flights with premium economy from San Francisco.

Early this month, Emirates Airlines announced its decision to fly its flagship A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, retrofitted with premium economy to New York and San Francisco starting in December 2022 and February 2023 respectively. In view of this, Air India’s plans to roll out premium economy seats with extra legroom and greater recline are not a mere coincidence. Emirates’ premium Economy is already in service to London, Paris, and Sydney. Done up with keen attention to details in offering a signature experience on board, Emirates’ Premium Economy is an oasis of luxury and comfort.

United Airlines’ San Francisco to BLR nonstop service, which has been postponed several times, will finally take off on March 25, 2023. IndianEagle.com has the best deals for USA to India premium economy flights operated by American Airlines, United Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, Finnair, ANA Airlines, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Japan Airlines.

27 thoughts on “Air India to Use New B777-200LRs with Premium Economy on New and Existing Routes between India and USA

  1. SHAILESH PATEL

    Hello, I always travel Premium Economy by Lufthansa & United Airlines,
    I was very eagerly waiting when would Air India have it.
    It’s very exiting Good News for me & willing to travel with My Air India.
    Please please please email me in advance to book from Chicago to Mumbai. Thanks so much .

    Wishing great good luck to Air India Decision. God bless

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Sailesh! We’re glad to see your interest in Air India’s upcoming premium economy class. In the first phase, Air India will offer premium economy service on flights to Mumbai from New York and Newark, and to Bangalore from San Francisco.

      Reply
    • Jay Shah

      I can’t understand Air India not initiating a Flight from USA -2nd Busiest Airport- Los Angeles. Instead Two nearby NY Airports, Air India should start one flight from LA.
      We usually take Emirates/Qatar Airlines which provide 21 hrs flight with one stop.
      LA had one 21 hrs flight, with one stop before but now, NO Flight !!

      Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Karthik! Both inbound and outbound traffic of international nonstop flights should be diverted to Chennai or Hyderabad in order to decongest Delhi and Mumbai airports.

      Reply
  2. K N Gopalan

    I request AI to improve their inflight catering service. For 7 hours after take off at 3.30 a.m from NewDelhi they did not even offer a drink. After a much delayed breakfast around 10.30 hrs , lunch/ dinner was served around 16.30 hrs a couple of hours before landing at SFO. Hope the AI management pays some attention in this aspect.
    Looking forward to an improved service during my next flight.

    Reply
  3. Bala

    I wish they add more flights to other cities in the continental US – Dallas, Seattle, Detroit etc to other southern cities like Hyderabad, Pune etc. These are already software hubs and yield would be greater than sticking with Mumbai and Delhi. The hub and spoke model needs to change.

    Reply
  4. M S Reddy

    Air India should partner with domestic airlines with in USA for the convenience of major passengers who live far off locations `

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Sunil! The Detroit to Delhi route does not seem to be on the radar, as of today. However, it may become a reality in the next few years given the airline’s international expansion plans. Fingers crossed!

      Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Prakash! That’s a good suggestion. Indians in NY and NJ should get direct connectivity to Bengaluru.

      Reply
  5. Sam

    I think you should do a non stop to Chennai. Currently you have a quite a few passenger’s year around using the Middle East airlines like Qatar, Etihad, Emirates.. The nonstop route to Chennai will get more business for Air India than for any other airlines. A route that should be must in the works.

    Reply
  6. Vish

    We badly need a direct nonstop flight from Detroit to Hyderabad at least once a week as there are no direct flights to Hyderabad right now.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Vish! May your wish be fulfilled! FYI, Chicago to Hyderabad direct flights are there.

      Reply
      • Indian

        AIC107/108 last flew 5 months ago. that was a weekly once flight and I dont think it will come back up again.

        Reply
  7. Dan

    Why doesn’t non-stop Delhi – Charlotte/Raleigh comes into consideration? There’s a huge demand and folks keep traveling to DC/NY to catch a flight or get their parents. It will be super profitable, seen so many surveys happening but no progress.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Dan! We agree with you. Hope Indians will get direct connectivity on this route in the future.

      Reply
  8. Parthive Zaveri

    I am a die-hard fan of AI. Inspite of issues being constantly reported, I still prefer AI.

    How about flight from Florida to Ahmedabad (via Mumbai/Delhi)? Both Qatar and Emirates have flight from Miami and Orlando respectively. AI should consider tapping this business as well.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Harish! We agree with you. There should be direct air connectivity to India from Houston or DFW.

      Reply
  9. Sunny D

    Air India sucks…will always focus stupidly on newyork , chicago and san fransisco…lot of indian community has migrated from these cities during and post covid…start service from new origination airports in texas, ohio and georgia..

    Reply
  10. akm

    Yes, we need more daily direct flights from big cities in US to India. Only Indian & US airlines can offer this. Use Mumbai (not Delhi) as inbound hub/transit [instead of Gulf & Euro cities that we currently use] and passengers can continue their 2nd hop from there. Airlines & Gov are you listening for opportunities? Why should we pay other countries airlines?

    Reply

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