NEW DELHI: United has beaten American Airlines in launching the first non-stop flight between south India and the US. The airline on Wednesday announced two new India routes — a daily between Chicago and Delhi from this December; and San Francisco (SFO) and Bengaluru from spring 2021 (meaning between March 20 and June 21).
American Airlines was to start a Bengaluru-Seattle non-stop from this winter but due to the pandemic that has been postponed by a year.
“United has served India with non-stop service for 15 years and now builds on its existing service to Delhi and Mumbai with two new routes. Beginning December 2020, United will introduce new non-stop service between Chicago and Delhi and, for the first time ever, United customers will be able to travel non-stop between San Francisco and Bengaluru starting spring 2021,” United said in a statement.
Pre-pandemic, United had a daily on Newark-Delhi and Newark-Mumbai routes. Its SFO-Delhi was to be a daily in winter and thrice weekly in summer. United is now operating some flights under the air bubble India has created with the US.
“Chicago has the second highest population of Indian-Americans in the US, and customers from more than 130 US cities can connect on United through O’Hare International Airport. Service from San Francisco to Bengaluru connects two international technology hubs, broadening United’s west coast service to India, which also includes San Francisco to New Delhi,” United said on Wednesday. United Airlines will offer more nonstop service to India than any other US carrier.
“Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family and colleagues around the world. These new nonstop routes provide shorter travel times and convenient one-stop connections from across the United States, demonstrating United’s continued innovative and forward-looking approach to rebuilding our network to meet the travel needs of our customers,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s VP of international network and alliances.
American Airlines had this April deferred the launch of its SFO-Bengaluru service to next winter.
“Like nearly every airline, American is having to make drastic changes to its flight schedule as customer demand has evaporated. Unfortunately this impacts our plans to launch several new routes and existing summer seasonal services. As a result, we will delay the launch of new routes, including service from Seattle to Bangalore to 2021 (it) will commence during winter 2021,” American Airlines had said in a statement this April.
Among Indian carriers, Air India is the only one that flies non-stop to US destinations like New York, Newark, Washington, Chicago and SFO.


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