There have been a bunch of announcements about new flights between India and the US in recent weeks. This weekend, a new United Airlines service was launched.

United’s fourth non-stop flight from India to the US gets off the ground

United has today inaugurated a new, non-stop service between Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and its hometown hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The daily flights are operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring United’s Polaris business class.

With the introduction of the new route, United will offer four daily non-stop flights from India. It already has daily year-round services from Mumbai and New Delhi to New York/Newark, and from New Delhi to San Francisco.

United also says it expects to introduce a daily nonstop service between Bengaluru and San Francisco, beginning May 8, 2021, becoming the first US carrier to provide non-stop service from Bengaluru to the US.

The schedule for the new Delhi-Chicago flights looks like this:

On hand to see off the first flight to Chicago was Harvinder Singh, United's country manager in India, who said:

“This new flight strengthens our international route network and provides our customers from India with even greater travel choice, as well as the option of our Polaris business class service with flat-bed seats. With a network of connections from our Chicago O’Hare hub to 84 other destinations across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, the new service opens up opportunities for both business and leisure travellers alike.”

Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi airport, also welcomed the new route, saying it would encourage personal visits by a large Indian diaspora based in Chicago, as well as boosting business travel.

Competition for India-US traffic

With business travel down, India-US traffic looks attractive to airlines, especially in the "visiting friends and relatives" (VFR) segment.

Air India has already announced plans to beat United to it by launching its own Bengaluru-San Francisco flights in January (as well as a service from Hyderabad to Chicago).

American Airlines, meanwhile, has plans for a daily service between Seattle and Bengaluru, scheduled to begin in November 2021 after an earlier postponement.

United says it will offer more non-stop services from India than any other US airline and has served India since 2005.

What’s the United Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner like?

The Dreamliner offers passenger-friendly features like large windows, spacious overhead storage and modern LED lighting, as well as lower cabin altitude and cleaner air.

The United 787-9 features 252 seats – 48 flat-bed seats in United Polaris business class, 88 seats in United Economy Plus and 116 seats in United Economy.

Polaris claims to offer “restaurant-quality” inflight dining, premium amenity kits and full flat-bed seats while United Economy Plus offers expanded legroom and seats located near the front of the economy cabin for a swifter exit from the plane on arrival.

United Economy offers complimentary food, a selection of drinks and inflight entertainment. Seats feature an adjustable headrest and a personal on-demand entertainment system.

Summing up

Airlines have been promising a bunch of new flights from India to the US and today sees some of those coming on stream, with a new United service from Delhi to Chicago.

The next big race is to see who manages to launch the first non-stop service from Bengaluru to the West Coast. Air India says it will fly the route as of next month, with United planning to provide competition from May.

Which non-stop services would you like to see launched between India and the US?