United Airlines is making some big changes to its India route network.
It starts with dropping plans to serve Bangalore, a hotly anticipated route that was supposed to originally launch in spring 2021.
The airline has postponed the San Francisco-to-Bangalore route multiple times since it was announced in September 2020, but now the route is getting cut entirely before it even starts, Cirium schedules show.
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A United spokesperson confirmed to TPG that the airline will abandon plans to serve Bangalore — a city some people call the Silicon Valley of India.
Along with dropping Bangalore, United will shift its existing routes to New Delhi.
Last winter season, the airline flew there from Chicago and Newark. Back in 2022, it served New Delhi from San Francisco as well.
Originally, United was planning three routes to New Delhi for this upcoming winter, but that plan changed over the weekend, according to Cirium schedules.
Instead of offering daily service from Chicago and Newark during the winter, United will consolidate to two daily flights from Newark. (The daily San Francisco route is unaffected.)
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The twice-daily flights from Newark to New Delhi will commence on Oct. 28 and run through March 29, 2024. They’ll operate with the following schedule going eastbound:
- United Flight 816 departs Newark at 9:40 a.m. and arrives in New Delhi at 10:10 a.m. the next day.
- United Flight 82 departs Newark at 10:15 p.m. and arrives in New Delhi at 9:50 p.m. the next day.
In the previous schedule, United’s Chicago and Newark flights both departed in the evening. So, consolidating service to Newark allows the airline to offer two different flight times that will likely appeal to different types of travelers.
All United’s routes to New Delhi are operated by 257-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring Polaris business class, Premium Plus, Economy Plus and economy cabins.
United is the largest U.S. carrier serving India. Delta Air Lines doesn’t currently fly to the country, and American operates just a single daily route from New York to New Delhi.
Meanwhile, United offers multiple daily flights to New Delhi, as well as daily service to Mumbai.
Bangalore was a route that United announced during the depths of the pandemic in September 2020. Some industry observers thought the move was in response to American’s plan to also add Bangalore service — an announcement that came in February 2020 as part of bigger plans to turn Seattle into a West Coast international gateway hub.
American never ended up launching flights from Seattle to Bangalore, and the carrier doesn’t currently have plans to fly to this Indian business hub.
It seems that the slow return of corporate business travel (especially from the likes of Microsoft, Apple and other big tech companies), as well as the Russian invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine, and the corresponding airspace closures mean the West Coast to Bangalore flights may no longer be commercially feasible. (United declined to comment about the route changes.)
If you want to fly nonstop from the U.S. to Bangalore, Indian flag carrier Air India currently offers thrice weekly flights from San Francisco aboard the Boeing 777-200LR, or long-range, aircraft.