Revealed: Details Of Vistara’s New 787-9

Filed Under: Other Airlines

It appears to me like India’s best business class may have just been introduced…

What is Vistara?

Vistara is a Delhi-based airline that’s a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. The airline has been around since 2015, and currently operates a fleet of a few dozen planes, including A320s, A320neos, and 737-800s.

Vistara A320

What’s especially exciting about Vistara is that they have six Boeing 787-9s on order, meaning that they’ll become a long haul airline.

Vistara has a partnership with United Airlines, allowing MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles for travel on Vistara.

New Vistara Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Vistara has just taken delivery of their first Boeing 787-9, which is also the first 787-9 to be delivered to an Indian airline (Air India operates 787-8s). The plane will feature three classes of service.

Vistara 787-9

What’s interesting is that many airlines tease new cabins months (or even years) before planes actually enter service, while Vistara hasn’t revealed the details of these cabins until now, after taking delivery of the first plane.

Here’s a video tour inside the cabins of the 787-9:

Vistara 787 business class

In business class, Vistara has selected the Stelia Aerospace Symphony seat, which is the same you’ll find on Singapore Airlines’ regional aircraft, including the 787-10. Turkish Airlines has also chosen this seat for their 787s.

I guess it’s not too surprising to see Vistara choose the same seat as Singapore Airlines. This is a solid seat, and compared to what’s otherwise offered by Air India is excellent. Though globally it’s not exactly a cutting edge seat.

Each seat features a 76″ flat bed, 18″ HD personal monitor, AC and USB power outlets, and more.

Vistara 787-9 business class cabin

Vistara 787-9 business class seat

Vistara 787-9 business class seat

Vistara 787 premium economy

Vistara has become the first Indian airline to offer a proper premium economy product. Seats will be in a 2-3-2 configuration, and will feature 37″ of pitch, 13″ HD personal monitors, footrests, AC and USB power outlets, and more.

Vistara 787 economy

Economy will be in the typical 3-3-3 configuration, with 31″ of pitch, 12″ HD personal monitors, six way headrests, and USB outlets (really, no AC outlets?).

Vistara 787-9 economy class cabin

What routes will Vistara’s 787s fly?

While we have a sense of Vistara’s plans, we don’t yet have any exact details. In light of the coronavirus situation, obviously this is a terrible time for any airline to be starting additional service.

Based on what I’ve heard, the plan is first for the airline to operate the 787 between Delhi and Mumbai for the month of March, to familiarize crews with the plane and work out any kinks.

Then the plan is to launch long haul service after that, with London expected to be one of the first destinations.

I’d imagine the focus for the 787-9 will largely be Europe, though I could also see Vistara flying the 787-9 to Singapore, given the Singapore Airlines connection. While the route is within range for their narrow body planes, it is a premium market.

As of now no Vistara 787 long haul flights are on sale yet, though.

Bottom line

Congrats to Vistara on the new 787-9. With Jet Airways having gone out of business, it’s nice to see India get another long haul airline. However, it doesn’t seem like Vistara has immediate plans for long haul service, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

Vistara’s 787-9 looks pretty nice — it’s not cutting edge in terms of what we otherwise see globally, but it’s a big improvement over Air India’s product.

What do you make of Vistara’s 787?

  1. Flew by Vistara’s PE last December from Mumbai, must say it was a pretty good experience!
    With Air India in utter despair and in shambles, Vistara is India’s only premium class airways these days. I hope they fill in Jet Airways’s spot.

  2. Hey Ben, it’s actually the Stelia Symphony seat in J class, same as the SQ 787-10 and TK 787-9, which is a modified Solstys design. The Stelia Opal is the seat used on the AirCalin A330neo.

  3. Hope Vistara will start direct flights to Netherlands soon. Way to go Vistara… Good job Vistara Airlines.

  4. The coronavirus probably changes things – but it was thought that Tokyo would be the first destination that Vistara would pick

  5. I first flew them in 2016 out of Srinagar. I really like them. With Tara and SIA owning them hopefully they will do well.

  6. Between the acrobatics needed to use most AC power points in Y and the lack of space to use a laptop in a Y seat anyway, I don’t think they are that useful really. In J and F, sure, but in Y a USB point that can charge a mobile phone and/or tablet is far more useful.

  7. While the product is hardly cutting edge, it strikes the right balance between being competitive in terms of passenger experience and commercially viable considering the realities of the Indian market.
    India is a relatively low yield market even for premium fares and Vistara being a new carrier with a limited network is hardly going to be able to command a yield premium on international routes.
    Moreover the longest flights Vistara will initially be operating will be London and Tokyo.
    A high density business class with direct aisle access is therefore a perfect choice for Vistara. They will still be able to offer a hard product westbound from India that is well above average and superior to Emirates, Air France/KLM (330s), Virgin (barring the 350), Lufthansa, Swiss and arguably even Etihad. Granted it can’t compete with BA’s new club suite but Vistara will not be able to charge the same fares anyways.
    Moreover, this configuration will allow them to operate these widebodies viably to destinations such as Singapore and Shanghai that are within a 5-6 hour radius from Delhi.
    While premium economy at 37 inches and economy at 31 inches hardly sounds sexy, they will allow Vistara to undercut fares.
    If they manage to package the experience with a high quality and innovative soft product, Vistara could very well cement a place on long haul routes from India. Glad to see them being pragmatic about it versus Kingfisher and Jet that came up with premium products and spacious configurations that they were unable to sustain.

  8. What makes a cutting edge J Class product? Sliding doors at this point like you have on QR and some of DL, BA, VS aircraft? They’re nice, but they’re not dispositive of the cutting edge standard. I think doors buy you bragging rights. At this point, Vistara just needs to show that their product is the same as SQ’s, and those are bragging rights enough.

  9. I think Vistara is all about incremental evolution and product development, which is good for Indian market. 1) Versatility – Given some unverified news that these aircrafts dont have a crew rest area, it is likely that Vistara will keep its fleet of 787-9 versatile enough to do both the 8 to 10 hour flights (London or Tokyo) or premium short range of 5 to 6 hours flights (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore). Once they do well in that, they will get bolder and might go the A350 way like SQ. 2) Cost – Business class long haul travel is still nascent in India, and many purchases are using miles instead of cash. I remember flying from Hong Kong to Delhi on Jet airways in 2017 holiday season. The business class was 40% occupied and the four first class seats were empty. On what should be a packed day! So this dense premium configuration is pragmatic for India. What i am curious about is the demand for premium economy. Vistara reduced its business class seats on A320 from i think 4 rows to 2 rows (8 seats) and emphasized more on PE seats. 3) Soft Product – I think Vistara is going (and should) to double down on the soft product across all classes, as service in India is either a hit or a miss. Outside of Pilot costs, Vistara can leverage lower market rates for greater cabin and on ground experience.

    PS: Like your posts. Big Aviation geek here (mostly a silent lurker!), and think you are more balanced than others. Keep up the good work.

  10. Hopefully they clean the restrooms. Restrooms on planes going to and from India become filthy extremely quickly.

  11. Forgot to add! might seem a bit strange to point, but the average height and width of a south asian human (or south east asian) is a bit lower than OECD countries in general. I from southern india and at 6’1″ tall i feel way taller in Asia and India, than in US or Europe! So, maybe the premium seats are a bit more spacious for the Indian audience than folks in the west 🙂

  12. In the picture for the economy seat I can see a universal power outlet located just before the first armrest. Maybe they just didn’t list it?

  13. There are AC Outlets right under the economy seat if seen carefully. Perhaps they forgot to mention it.

  14. I think you’re right, Amsanae & Callum. The little green glowing light just under the seat cushion appears to give them away. Looks like there’s one per seat rather than having to share like on some setups. Still not very easy to use, especially if you’re not in the emergency row, it seems.

  15. Just had the misfortune to fly SQ 350-900 and 787-10 with these horribly narrow business class seats (at the shoulder). The stupid ‘flying wing’ constrains your shoulders and I’m not terribly wide. Painful for 4 hour daytime flight. Impossible for overnight.


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