USA-India Air Travel in 2021: Latest Updates from Nonstop Connectivity to Digital Health Passport

US India travel news 2021, nonstop flights to India 2021, cheap flights to India from USA

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Airlines to introduce digital health passport for hassle-free travel  

A travel pass or digital health passport is gaining momentum as a key to unlock air travel across geographies. The travel between USA and India won’t be an exception to this in 2021. In the second half of 2020, IATA called for a digital heath passport as a global solution to facilitate air travel amid country-specific entry requirements, visa restrictions, border closure, etc. The IATA Travel Pass is all set for a pilot trial with the objective of “informing travelers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they need prior to travel, enabling them to share their test results and vaccination reports in a verifiable, safe manner and giving governments the confidence to reopen the borders.”

Reportedly, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines are the first carriers to use the IATA Travel Pass in order to collect their passengers’ COVID test results or vaccination reports and verify their eligibility for hassle-free travel on select routes initially. On successful completion of the trial, the Gulf airlines will roll out IATA’s travel app across their global networks. Emirates Airlines plans to launch a trial of the app in April. The IATA Travel Pass will help airlines share their passengers’ COVID health status and eligibility information with destination countries’ airport authorities.

With effect from January 23, American Airlines requires its international passengers to use a digital health passport, VeriFLY app, to provide a proof of their negative COVID health status and check whether they meet other travel requirements for entry to the US or other countries.

Emirates resumes suspended operations in USA 

Emirates Airlines’ operations for Seattle, San Francisco, Orlando, Dallas, and New York JFK have remained suspended for months. Starting this February, the airline will revive the suspended routes in a phased manner. In Emirates Airlines’ USA network, Seattle and New York are the first to see the resumption of Emirates flights on February 1, 2021. Emirates will connect Seattle to India with weekly four flights via Dubai. From February 1, Emirates Airlines will not only resume flying to but also increase the frequency of its operations to New York JFK Airport. Of all the airlines operating flights between New York and India, Emirates will fly to New York JFK twice a day.

The next phase of resumption starting on March 2, 2021 will see Emirates flights back to Dallas and San Francisco. The frequency of Emirates flights to DFW International Airport, Texas will be four times a week and the airline will be flying to SFO Airport three times a week. Emirates flights to Los Angeles will become daily with effect on February 1. It means Indians in California will be able to travel on Emirates’ LAX to India flights via Dubai seven days a week.

Alaska Airlines and JetBlue will seamlessly connect travelers on Emirates flights from major 10 destinations in the United States this summer.

Delhi IGI Airport automates immigration clearance

Immigration clearance at New Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport was an ordeal, at times, due to a huge rush of international arrivals on VBM and air bubble flights. Therefore, the airport has installed e-gates that completely automates the immigration clearance process and makes it contactless both for inbound and outbound travelers. New Delhi International Airport’s e-gates make faster passenger identity and document verification possible without human intervention, thereby eliminating the nuances of boarding long-haul flights in the last minute and particularly when the immigration checkpoint is staffed with limited manpower. The fast, automated, contactless immigration clearance process at India’s biggest and busiest airport will be operational in March 2021.

Seattle gets more connectivity to India in 2021

On the west coast, Seattle and San Francisco are the only cities to get better connected to India with both one-stop and nonstop flights. American Airlines’ nonstop flights from Seattle to Bengaluru, which was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic, will possibly be launched later this year. It is one of the most awaited routes between the USA and India in 2021. Seattle to Doha and Seattle to London Heathrow are the two new routes adding to the connectivity between India and the West Coast of USA.

From January 29, 2021, Qatar Airways’ four weekly services to Seattle will provide seamless one-stop connections to the airline’s destinations in India via Doha. By the end of March 2021, American Airlines will start flying from Seattle to London Heathrow – which will connect to India on British Airways’ codeshare flights. Currently, Seattle is served by Lufthansa and British Airways.

New train service connects BLR Airport and Bengaluru City    

Traveling from Kempegowda Airport to Bengaluru City is faster, easier and a lot cheaper than before, with a train serving connecting the airport to the city. The end of 2020 saw the connection between Bengaluru International Airport and Bengaluru Railway Station, which makes commute to and from the city many times more cost-effective than other modes of transport. The new Kempegowda International Airport Halt Station (KIAD) is located near the airport and only 45 km away from the city.

Using the train service to and from BLR Airport, passengers traveling alone can avoid the vehicular traffic chaos in Bengaluru, ‘the most traffic congested city in the world’ as per a report published by The Economic Times in June 2020.

Air India increases frequency between Chicago and Delhi

Starting on January 15, Air India enhanced the weekly frequency of its Chicago to Delhi nonstop flights. The airline started an additional flight on this route every Friday taking the frequency to 6 times a week. Besides, January 2021 saw the airline adding two new routes – SFO to BLR and ORD to HYD – to its nonstop services between USA and India.

21 thoughts on “USA-India Air Travel in 2021: Latest Updates from Nonstop Connectivity to Digital Health Passport

  1. Don Best

    Please provide any information about visa restrictions being relaxed. I am an American citizen who has been offered employment in India and need to be there in March. My request for a work visa was denied in November due to covid.

  2. Aryan mittal

    I am indian resident , want to fly delhi in April end .. will there any Covid restriction or any vaccinations certificate required .

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Aryan! Nothing can be said certainly about quarantine norms in April. What we can say for sure is that the current regulations will be relaxed further in March or April.

  3. Samit

    Hello Indian eagle.
    I am an Indian citizen , I plan to travel to visit India from NYC area. Can I travel by Qatar airways or Emirates as my destination is Bangalore . Or is it just United or Air India to Delhi ? Can you please clarify ?

  4. RD

    can you suggest which flights are operating from Mumbai, India to LAX, USA currently ? And can someone travel on B1/B2 Visa from Mumbai to LAX ? Any idea if US Immigration are allowing entry to B1/B2 visa holder?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi RD! For the past few months, B1/B2 visa holders from India have been traveling to the USA. There are no restrictions if the visa is valid. We have booked flights for many Indians with the US visitor visa. Currently, B1/B2 visa holders from India can travel only on Air India and United Airlines (direct) flights.

  5. Deepak

    Hi, Are Indian nationals with L1 VISA allowed to travel from USA to India and back from India to USA on Emirates airlines under or beyond the air bubble agreement?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Deepak! Indian passport holders/Indian nationals flying to or from South America and Africa can travel on Emirates flights via Dubai.


    just want to know when do u think usa consulates will open . need to come to india for stamping of my h1b visa

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Nidhi! With effect on February 1, the US Consulate in Chennai resumed processing of all visa categories, including student, employment-based (H1-B, H4, L-1, L-2, C1/D), and temporary visitor (B1/B2) visas.

  7. Mayurika

    My OCI card has been sent for renewal.
    Can I travel to India with expired US passport with U sticker ?
    Or Do I have to wait for the new OCI card ?

    • indianeagle Post author

      HI Mayurika! You can travel carrying your old OCI card, old passport and new passport.

  8. Siddhardha Rallapalli

    hi, I plan on travelling to India from US (Dallas to Hyderabad) around March 13th through April 3rd for my H1B visa stamping and would like to know if travel via Qatar or Emirates flights is recommended? I had some friends suggest I avoid British Airways but haven’t heard much on Qatar or Emirates. Is Air India or United Airlines the only advisable airlines options to chose from OR can I book Qatar or Emirates as well with out any issues?

  9. Rakesh


    I plan to book a travel for my mom who is on Tourist VISA(US) from Hyderabad to LAX in APRIL , I was planning to book with Emirates , When i spoke to emirates they said they allow the Tourist to US , currently there is restriction on International travel which impacts flying from India till March but you can book in APRIL and once Emirates provides a ticket // you have valid booking then the restriction apparently is not applicable and you can travel by Emirates out of India. Any feedback?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Rakesh! In our knowledge, B1/B2 visa holders cannot travel on Emirates to USA. We are booking our B1/B2 visa-holding customers’ travel on Air India, Qatar Airways, and United Airlines (direct). You mom can travel on Air India’s direct flight from HYD to Chicago and then take a connecting flight to LAX, or on Qatar Airways from HYD to LAX.

      • Rakesh

        Thanks any idea why/what restriction is with emirates and not Qatar? I will once again confirm with emirates and let you know , I am currently in Hyderabad travelled via emirates (LAX –> HYD) and i have a return ticket in APRIL with emirates so wondering if i could get my mom to travel with me , Also i assume I can travel in Qatar ? ( HYD –> LAX) am currently on H1b VISA came here for my stamping which is complete.
        Thanks fro Air India suggestion .

        • indianeagle Post author

          Hi Rakesh! You can travel with your mom (US visitor visa) on Qatar Airways. We are not yet sure about B1/B2 visa holders’ travel on Emirates from India to the US.


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