Vistara Wants To Fly From India To The United States

Filed Under: Other Airlines

If Vistara has its way, the airline could start operating flights between India and the United States in the coming months. While this of course isn’t a great time to talk about travel to & from India, hopefully the situation is better several months down the road.

Vistara requests DOT permission for USA flights

Vistara has today filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to request permission to operate scheduled flights between India and the United States. The airline is seeking expedited approval, as it hopes to launch flights around September 1, 2021, using Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Vistara doesn’t state in the filing which airports in the USA it intends to fly to.

For context, 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 around 45 planes, with another 47 planes on order.

While the airline primarily operates narrow body aircraft, the airline also has some new Boeing 787-9s, which would be used for these routes.

Vistara’s 787-9 economy class

I’d love to see Vistara fly to the United States

It would be awesome to see Vistara fly to the United States, for a variety of reasons:

Vistara’s 787-9 business class

Bottom line

Vistara has filed with the DOT requesting permission to launch 787-9 flights between the United States and India as of September 2021. I would imagine the authority will be granted, though it’s anyone’s guess if the airline actually chooses to follow through on this service.

The market between the USA and India could use more competition, and this would be a great way to redeem miles for what appears to be a solid product.

Would you like to see Vistara start flying to the USA? Which routes do you think the airline will fly?

Comments
  1. I’m assuming Krisflyer miles can’t be redeemed for international Vistara routes, right?

    Right now, their award chart only seems to be for travel within India.

  2. My guess is two routes: DEL to EWR and DEL to ORD. Air India flies to both airports, both cities have large Indian populations, and United has hubs at both.

  3. Probably DEL-EWR since AI doesn’t fly that route and better UA connections at EWR, a safer bet. Would be surprised if they compete with AI on their first route due to recent interests from Tata to acquire AI.

  4. Your point about direct aisle access reminds me that United is way behind on their Polaris conversion. Still flying 2/3 flights per day on their “flagship” LAX-EWR route using old seats. Seems like a slowdown in travel would be a great time to update planes. Also their website tracker for the conversion isn’t up to date.

  5. There is Covid in India and USA. All flights should be banned to India and USA. USA should be lockdown and shut the borders forever until there is 0 cases like here in Perth.

  6. I’m learning only today about this airline While I am not based in India maybe it makes sense. But then most Indian airliners fly to and from Dubai, where I am based, and I don’t recall this name. So I went to its website and yes, they do fly to Dubai. How come that two third of my colleagues are Indians and don’t fly with this carrier?

  7. This will be awesome.. they got create network in India & United currently partners with them.. hopefully will provide another option to United/Air India

  8. Nicola: your coworkers are probably pretty cheap? Vistara is a very nice full-service airline that isn’t a LCC dump like IndiGo, SpiceJet etc. Only started flying to Dubai in late 2019 just before pandemic.

  9. @Nicola: This is most probably because most South Asians fall into one of two buckets when booking Dubai-India travel:
    1. Just book the cheapest airline: This is almost never Vistara since they’re a full-service airline competing with up to 4 competing LCCs on multiple routes.
    2. Pick a reliable, reputable airline and always fly with them: Vistara only started flying to Dubai in August 2019, so I don’t think too many people would commit to Vistara, especially considering Emirates and Air India fly to almost every major Indian city upto 3x daily (or at least they did pre-pandemic)

  10. Why not? It is TATAs.
    I prefer SFO-COK direct flight.
    Else prefer to fly to any of the European countries or TLV. Spend few days there. Take a direct COK flight after. Free European vacation with little extra money!!! It works really well. I tried once.
    Arkia had direct TLV-COK flights. Unfortunately they stopped due to pandemic I assume.

  11. Sadly at the moment it shouldn’t be a consideration. There should be an embargo on all travel from India until such time the situation gets better.

  12. “Vistara’s inflight product would be so much better than Air India’s, given that the airline has brand new 787s with direct aisle access from every seat”

    I assume you mean in Business Class? Otherwise having all direct aisle access from every seat, even in economy, would be an industry game changer for long haul travel. LOL.

  13. “Vistara’s inflight product would be so much better than Air India’s…”

    Let’s be real, a paper airplane has a better inflight product than Air India.

  14. I just flew Vistara business class DEL-HYD last month. Very impressed with the service & aircraft amenities.
    Regarding Nicola’s question why he may have not heard about Vistara from his Indian colleagues in Dubai, it’s because the Dubai-India traffic has been monopolized by Emirates & Air India. Those 2 airlines alone were flying more than 100 flights a week (pre-COVID) in that sector. I’m a South Asian & call me crazy, I prefer convenience over product, especially for a 3.5 hour journey. So if an Emirates or AI flight were available, I would jump on it.

  15. Clearly a number of readers missed “The airline is seeking … to launch flights around September 1, 2021”

    I hope that current India’s Covid state of emergency is over by then.

    Also, @Maria wins for best comment.

  16. Vistara will always be my favorite airline in India. Did a bunch of travel there in 2019 and the quality of other airlines was a joke. Vistara is basically the only full service airline in India. I can only hope they join Oneworld (unlikely given Singapore ownership, but they’re partnering with JAL and BA so a man can dream).

    Their domestic Premium Economy is an especially good value. Same seats but extra legroom, hot towels, PDBs and a full meal on every flight. And usually for only 10 or 20 dollars more. As the kids say, I will always “simp” for Vistara.

  17. Most possible destinations are SFO and EWR but doubt AI would allow UA to provide connections.
    Other options are JFK and SEA to get connections with AA or DL.

  18. I’m not so sure about their long term viability, full service airlines don’t seem to last that long in India (Jet airways, Kingfisher), due to a highly price concious market and majority will go for the cheapest ticket that can be booked even if it is 2% less on a no frills carrier!

  19. Isn’t Tata Sons also one of two companies that is putting in a bid on the purchase of Air India? If successful, then Tata Sons ( and by extension, Vistara) will have additional wide-bodies to deploy to the US along with AI’s current landing slots.

  20. Vistara should probably look at the West Coast- EWR and possibly LAX given that SFO is over served?
    Just a heads up on the inflight product- the business class product is the same seat seat on SIA’s 787-10. While it has direct asile access and is way there then Air India- its known to be claustrophobic. It ain’t United Polaris and Delta One for sure.
    Also their economy seats are known to be quite cramped- legroom is 31 inches on the 787-9 and 29 inches on the A321 neos (used on mid haul flights).
    The soft product should be fabulous though.

  21. This is a great development! I was in India in 2019 and had great experiences flying aboard Vistara! Finally, I don’t have to fly the European and US junk that I have to select typically to travel to the subcontinent and back! By junk I was referring to pretty much all of the European airlines and the sham we consider to be good airlines in the USA.

    Whoever mentioned Indigo above – Indigo is actually a fantastic low-frill airline. They are clean, efficient, and on-time. The three main things which matter to a budget-conscious traveler. Certainly Indigo is better than anything one can fly domestically (budget or not) in the US or in Europe.

  22. A propos of “Vistara’s inflight product would be so much better than Air India’s”, recently I reread your old first class review of Air India and you were highly complimentary about the flight attendants, pilot and service level. For soft product, at least, I had the impression that you had a very good impression of Air India.

  23. Reply to MMcG …. The US in way more integrated with North America and Europe… if Australia wants to cut itself off from the world forever, so be it, but there will never be zero COVID cases in a country of 320 million, vs. Australia of 25 million. This is the same fear based hysteria that is going on in Canada right now, blaming even 1 international traveler for their COVID woes….

  24. Depending on how aggressive they can be as they get started, I’d say a decent start would be JFK-DEL, ORD-DEL and LAX or SFO-DEL. Depending on how that goes, perhaps some flights from tech centers to Bangalore or large US markets to Mumbai might be in order as well.

    These guys will obliterate Air India as far as flight quality, reliability and service are concerned. Yes, I do recognize that many in India (and the US for that matter) will book based on price alone. But many others will not, especially given the length of these flights. Long term, there will be a ton of demand for flights between the two countries, so this is an excellent development.

    And yes, I recognize the current situation with COVID in India. But this will pass. Airlines need to strategize plans well into the future, so the comments about what’s happening in the here and now are short-sighted and sound like Chicken Little.

  25. I totally support Air Vistara. We had bought non refundable tickets(4 tickets) and because of covid had to cancel the ticket. Without any hassle air vistara totally refunded the money. United airlines made big deal about refund. And everytime called told us to charge fees even for valid covid reason. Ultimately uscarrier gave back full refund. But Air Vistara service was much better. India needs to be carefull however for international business. It is then that airlines are getting into problems.

  26. BLR-EWR would be logical since there’s NYC finance/tech outsourcing to BLR and a massive Indian community in NJ (including lots of South Indians). Would also be good for people connecting from elsewhere in the US (like DFW/IAH areas have a high South Indian population).

    As an Indian carrier Vistara might be able to get better timing at BLR than other airlines. Most international long hauls arrive at BLR between 12am-2am and depart between 1am-5am, which is awful for sleep in hoth directions. Vistara could offer BLR-EWR departing ~12pm arriving ~7pm and EWR-BLR departing ~9pm arriving ~10pm, this would be great for sleep on both ends.

  27. A route which never fails- Mumbai to Newark. Two airlines have been doing it daily even during the pandemic. For a new airline in this market, New York metro area is the safest bet. They will probably start Delhi-Newark followed by Mumbai-Newark, see how that goes then try SFO. I don’t see them trying Chicago/DC/Dallas anytime soon. They are also a United partner so EWR or SFO make the most sense, followed by O’Hare.

  28. The first flight is definitely going to be Newark, anything else doesn’t make sense for a new airline in this market. From India, Vistara has 29 destinations from Delhi, 11 destinations from Mumbai and 8 from BLR. They will definitely start with Delhi for max connections, but Mumbai will follow soon, like they did with London routes. Many people underestimate the lucrative nature of plain old Mumbai-Newark/New York.

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