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Air India Airbus A320 VT-EXC.
Air India Airbus A320 VT-EXC.

Air India’s new London flight, fixed price tickets, drops Bangalore Dreamliners

National carrier Air India will commence its fourth daily flight from India to London Heathrow, the third daily flight between New Delhi and London effective November 1, 2015. The carrier flies one non-stop from Mumbai to London too.

The schedule of the new flight is:

  • AI 161 departs New Delhi at 02:15 arrives London Heathrow at 06:30
  • AI 162 departs London Heathrow at 08:45 arrives New Delhi at 22:35

The timing of this flight puts its in the peak travel schedule and should be the best flight for Air India. With this flight Air India will offer one service each in the morning, mid-day and late evening. Very surprisingly the airline has chosen to operate this flight with a Boeing 777-200LR instead of its new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with which it operates all its other London flights.

Fixed price travel booklet

The airline has introduced the eSuperSaver scheme which offers travel in economy class at a fixed price per sector inclusive of all fees, levies, and taxes. The scheme offers four, eight, or 12 sector booklets for travel on sectors up to 750km or unlimited on Air India’s domestic network. has a price matrix as shown below.

Scheme price matrix

Sector Length

Up to 750 km Above 750 km
Four coupon booklet Rs 18,000 Rs 24,000
Eight coupon booklet Rs 34,000 Rs 46,000
12 coupon booklet Rs 48,000 Rs 66,000

These booklets are useful for those who travel longer distances, on under-served sectors, and at very short notice. All factors that tend to increase ticket prices. The airline has not mentioned a validity for booklets purchased under this scheme thought there should. So visit the airline’s website for more details.

Celebration and shocker for Bangalore

Bangalore has received a mixed bag from Air India. On the plus side, the airline has re-timed its AI403/404 service to New Delhi to offer a connection with the soon to commence New Delhi San Francisco non-stop flight.

On the negative, the airline has withdrawn both its Boeing 787 Dreamliner service from Bangalore and replaced the aircraft with an Airbus A321.

What are your thoughts on these news? Share your views via a comment.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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  • SSN

    Will they be able to run 3 x SFO & daily LHR with 3 x 777-200LR planes?

    • Frank Wood

      They should be able to run daily DEL-SFO and daily DEL-LHR with three 77Ls. No carrier keeps active standby per type. They just keep enough slack in the system.

      My wild guess DEL-LHR 77L may be a virtual positioning flight for SFO-DEL IROPS. It will be closer to SFO than sitting at DEL/BOM.

      If the rest two AI/*A cannot accommodate LHR-DEL pax they can send a 77W/788/744 from DEL/BOM to LHR.

      Or AI can put SFO-DEL IROPS pax on a Chinese carriers and make a quick buck. AI non-stop $1600, Chinese one-stop about $900.

  • Niladri

    To be honest the 787 is better utilized in an international flight instead of domestic, considering that’s the reason AI has removed the BLR 787 service. Question is where are they deploying this 787? With the grounded dreamliner due to re enter flight ops by December as well (according to AI), I’m curious where are they scheduling the freed widebodies?

    • Go Chakrapani

      Good Bangalore doesn’t need Air India as well. Nor do Bangalore wants 787 not a great plane in comparison to A380. Bangalore is always given a secondary treatment. The bureaucratic approach that only Mumbai and Delhi is promoted why does it mean no other airports are good. If the tourism has to improve connection should be to all cities. Not a great airline as well is Air India

  • I as a regular reader and member of the bangalore aviation forum fail to understand as to why everyone cribs about anything that Air India does. I know that there will always be a soft spot for Bangalore (since the site is based over there) and will lament the injustice that happens to the airport, however that does not justify the end piece of every article into an Air India bashing paragraph.

    The newly introduced DEL-SFO sector was criticised a lot as it did not originate from BLR but it at least took off from some place in India! There were comments by others in the same article that said that EK, LH, BA and others had better connectivity options than AI and they would prefer to fly them rather than the filthy, old and broken planes that AI would use to carry them. If in any case, if AI is not going to be your preferred carrier then why point fingers with everything that they do. I personally believe they (AI) are trying hard and it would be unfair to keep bullying a carrier who is in deep mess left by the unworthy predecessors. I am born in BOM, raised in AMD and currently live in AKL. I know for a fact that there has always been a huge demand for direct flights from AMD and it has been deliberately left out even though it has more pax available who would want to opt for a direct connectivity to the UK/US (where a large majority of the diaspora lives) rather than transiting through the new / flash airports of BOM / DEL where long walks between (sometimes) terminals to connect to their connecting plane. Does anybody complaint about it? Yes they might be doing it but has there been any visible change? The answer is no. Even i would have contested for the new proposed DEL-LHR to be given to AMD-LHR but I suppose, I am made to believe that the new management in place for AI is trying to sort out things and mend them before trying to experiment with the other airports in India. Having DEL as a hub and BOM as a secondary hub they would want to try to do the right things and maybe this is a right time.

    I would request fellow readers to refrain from being overly harsh and support AI for a little while, while they are trying to sort things out. All that AI needs right now is faith and support from it’s fellow Indians who are switching to the glamorous airlines of the middle east or the european carriers. Things will change and like what our prime minister loves to say – “Acche Din Ayenge”. 🙂 Jai Hind!

    P.S.: I am no Bhakt but an Optimist.

    • Frank Wood

      Well said. AMD-EWR, HYD-ORD, ATQ-LHR are few viable non-stops. HYD-USA is EK’s #1 market.

      I am sure rest of the USA does more IT outsourcing to Bangalore than Silicon Valley, USA itself. In dollar terms Silicon Valley, USA to Silicon Valley, India is not that significant.

      With 600 PDEW between DEL-SFO, AI made the right decision.

      • Bharath BS

        Although a 787 May not be a great choice for regional routes, I thought there is enough demand for a BLR-SFO non stop service, considering that a great deal of techie crowd that flies out of BLR. However, this demand maybe mitigated by an efficient connection en-route.

        Maybe, in the near future, some carrier may introduce a non stop service to SFO from BLR

  • Shree

    AI has ALWAYS given a step motherly treatment to Bengaluru. Note this- there are ONLY 2 international flight services from Bangalore by Air India- one each to Male and Dubai (via Goa). No evening service to Kolkata (just one early morning flight that too on an OLD and rickety plane with the INDIAN logo on it and pathetic interiors), no service to Ahmedabad, Jaipur- and now, the withdrawal of the Dreamliner is another real blow. AI used to fly to Singapore earlier from Bangalore, but God knows why they have withdrawn, when Singapore Airlines is minting a fortune on this route (Silk Air and SA). No direct flight to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, KL, London…. All in all, Air India does not see potential out of Bengaluru when Indigo, Jet Airways, Air Asia, Air Costa, Fly Easy and Pegasus find our city the most lucrative. I guess Air India is keeping all the 787 Dreamliners as mere show pieces.

  • Shree

    AI has ALWAYS given a step motherly treatment to Bengaluru. Note this- there are ONLY 2 international flight services from Bangalore by Air India- one each to Male and Dubai (via Goa). No evening service to Kolkata (just one early morning flight that too on an OLD and rickety plane with the INDIAN logo on it and pathetic interiors), no service to Ahmedabad, Jaipur- and now, the withdrawal of the Dreamliner is another real blow. AI used to fly to Singapore earlier from Bangalore, but God knows why they have withdrawn, when Singapore Airlines is minting a fortune on this route (Silk Air and SA). No direct flight to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, KL, London…. All in all, Air India does not see potential out of Bengaluru when Indigo, Jet Airways, Air Asia, Air Costa, Fly Easy and Pegasus find our city the most lucrative. I guess Air India is keeping all the 787 Dreamliners as mere show pieces.

    • Go Chakrapani

      Bangalore doesn’t need Air India. Let them withdraw all there services. We are okay with private airlines. Let the foreign airlines make money best in maintenance, time management. BANGALORE DOESN’T NEED AIR INDIA ANYMORE

      • Yash

        I dont know how hard is it for people to understand a hub and spoke model? Do you see anyone crib when ” Air Asia, Air Costa, Fly Easy and Pegasus” dont fly enough from Delhi? Please understand that AI has a hub in T3 and will not fly routes from BLR based on your whims and fancies. Due to very obvious reasons DEL forms a better hub than BLR so stop whining. AI flies the 787 to LHR, FRA, SIN, BKK, CDG, MXP, FCO, PVG, NRT, KIX, HKG, SYD, MEL, BHX, DME etc etc so how exactly are they show pieces? Just because they don’t fly to BLR?

        • Shanky

          Yes, exactly that is the reason , why BLR pax start considering DXB or SIN as its Hub ! No one cares about 787s.- for domestic short hauls. BLR pax just need good/seamless/short connections via BOM or DEL – which does not seem happen for years. This needs to be introspected by AI route planners and make changes. Middle East: you can see EK,QR,WY,SV+ now KU recently. AI does not seriously think to serve any of these destinations or use Star Alliance connects in these destinations. DXB is served by westbound star alliance(LH,UA, MS,ET,OS,LX,TP,SA,TK),similar at DOH. Why not?

        • Shree

          Should a Bangalorean fly to T3 to catch a flight to Singapore, Colombo,Kuwait, Bangkok, Dubai or KL just because they have a hub and spoke model?

          • Rohit Soni

            No, you can simply choose not to fly AI.

  • Rohit Soni

    I think this is a good move, there is a shortage of point to point seats on LHR-DEL route. AIs 77L has 238 seats in 3 class config, so they should be able to fill this aircraft.

    In the last few years the hub and spoke model is finding a few takers and travellers are preferring a P2P model. It’d make perfect sense for AI to start 2 new flights – AMD-LHR and ATQ-BHX using A321. These sectors don’t see enough traffic to warrant 788 but are close enough to operate a A321.