Air India is undergoing a transformation at the moment, after being privatized. The airline is investing hugely in modernizing its fleet and improving the passenger experience. This includes ordering 470 new aircraft, introducing new cabins, and completely rebranding.
As you’d expect, the challenge is that there’s a massive difference between what Air India is promising in the future, and what the airline is currently offering. After all, you can’t reinvent an airline overnight. So I at least appreciate this latest initiative from Air India, which provides some level of consistency to the United States.
In this post:
Air India only flying leased 777s from Mumbai to United States
Air India is leasing quite a few aircraft at the moment, both in order to increase capacity, plus to introduce an improved product. When it comes to wide bodies, the airline is leasing former Delta Boeing 777-200LRs, former Etihad Boeing 777-300ERs, and former Singapore Airlines 777-300ERs.
Effective immediately (as of the winter 2023/2024 schedule), the airline is exclusively flying these leased Boeing 777s on its three routes from Mumbai to the United States. Specifically:
- Air India is flying leased former Delta Boeing 777-200LRs on its route from Mumbai (BOM) to New York (JFK)
- Air India is flying leased former Delta Boeing 777-200LRS on its route from Mumbai (BOM) to San Francisco (SFO)
- Air India is flying leased former Etihad Boeing 777-300ERs on its route from Mumbai (BOM) to Newark (EWR)
Note that at least for the time being, these updated aircraft are only consistently being flown on flights out of Mumbai to the United States, and not on flights from Delhi to the United States.
What can passenger expected on leased Boeing 777s?
If you’re scheduled to fly Air India between Mumbai and the United States, what should you expect? Honestly, in economy it’s probably not much of an improvement, since Air India’s own Boeing 777s are quite comfortable in economy, with a 3-3-3 layout (even if the tech and cabin condition leaves a lot to be desired). Rather, it’s premium cabin passengers who will most notice the difference.
Air India has historically flown its own 777s between Mumbai and the United States, featuring business class seats that are angled and in a 2-3-2 configuration.
On the former Delta 777s (flying to New York and San Francisco), you can expect fully flat business class seats with doors, featuring direct aisle access. This is currently the best business class product you’ll find in Air India’s entire fleet.
What’s also unique about these jets is that they feature a premium economy cabin, which Air India hasn’t historically offered, but is in the process of rolling out.
On the former Etihad 777s (flying to Newark), you can expect fully flat business class seats that are staggered. This is far from my favorite business class hard product out there, but it’s still much better than Air India’s old product.
What’s also cool is that that these planes feature first class, consisting of suites with doors, so this is Air India’s best first class product yet.
This compares favorably to Air India’s legacy first class product, where the seats don’t have as much privacy.
All-in-all, premium passengers traveling on Air India between Mumbai and the United States can look forward to a significantly improved experience.
Air India has upgraded its premium travel experience between Mumbai and the United States, as the airline is now consistently flying former Delta and Etihad Boeing 777s on these routes. It might be time to finally give Air India another try, as I sure am intrigued to see what the carrier’s soft product is like nowadays.
What do you make of Air India’s improvements on flights to the United States?