As a part of its global network expansion, US-based airline United has added flights between India and the US to destinations such as Chicago and San Francisco. The airline’s expansion plans also includes flights to Africa and the US state of Hawaii. United’s plan to add more long-haul non-stop routes is in line with the view that the aftermath of Covid19 pandemic will see higher demand for non-stop flights over connecting flights.
What flights have been added to India?
Starting December this year, United will fly daily between Chicago and New Delhi and starting spring 2021, the airline will connect the two countries’ tech hubs of San Francisco and Bengaluru. Currently, the airline operates from Delhi to Newark and San Francisco.
Are there other flights on these routes?
While there are a number of options available for connecting flights for these American airports from India, national carrier Air India is the only one other than United to connect Delhi and Chicago, and Delhi and Newark non-stop. Although Air India connects San Francisco to Delhi, United will be the only operator to fly on the Bengaluru-San Francisco route. United also operates on the Mumbai-Newark route. Similarly, Air India also connects India to other US cities like Washington DC.
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Why is United launching these flight options?
In its statement announcing the flights, United has said 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 Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. “Service from San Francisco to Bangalore connects two international technology hubs, broadening United’s west coast service to India, which also includes San Francisco to New Delhi.
Are more non-stop flights needed between India and the US?
In the aftermath of Covid19 pandemic, aviation experts have pointed out a possible shift in trend towards passengers for long-haul destinations opting for non-stop flights instead of non-stop hub flights. United’s move reinforces this view. While passengers will see their total travel duration reducing thereby reducing their potential exposure to the virus at interchange airports, non-stop flights also might help passengers adhere to the quarantine norms of certain countries, which ask for people to be quarantined if they are coming from a certain destination. Currently, the US is connected to India heavily by west Asian airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways in addition to Asian carriers like Cathay Pacific and All Nippon Airlines, through their respective hubs.
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