United Airlines hasn’t taken off yet. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the route, and it has even been scheduled and bookable by United Airlines many times since the date of the initial announcement four years ago, but it hasn’t yet happened – apparently because of the aftereffects of the pandemic. Ultra-long-haul trips are very difficult to make work even in the best circumstances. In their latest filing, United decided that they’re going to launch in October 2023 – but much may happen between now and then. Will it ever take off?
United: Langley to Bengaluru
This is an image of carriers in the Star Alliance that flew to San Francisco and Bengaluru. As noted, flights to the US will be canceled on March 3rd, 2019.
As of November 22nd, the plan is for United Airlines to have a flight departing from Bengaluru on October 28th. This is before the carrier switches to winter schedules, and will have a 1X daily frequency with a seat count of 257. There are 48 Polaris business-class seats fulfilled by the Boeing 787-9 which will have direct aisle access within all passengers. Following this are 21 Premium Plus seats, 39 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats, and 149 standard economy seats.
It is set to start at these times, which are all local:
San Francisco to Bengaluru: UA152 (departing on October 28th); first flight, October 28th
Bengaluru to San Francisco: UA153, 03:55-08:30 on October 30th
The Indian Express Airlines is competing against Air India.
Air India will launch Bengaluru-San Francisco in January 2021, when that route was part of the India-US air bubble. On December 2nd, it will return to those routes with three flights a week using the 238-seat 777-200LRs. There is a business class of eight seats and economy for 195.
San Francisco, Bengaluru
With no cases of the coronavirus in 2019, San Francisco-Bengaluru had 139,000 round trip passengers. This number is up by 13% year-over-year, and with 190 round trip passengers daily there was a substantial increase in traffic. The destination city seems to be recovering well after the pandemic before its outbreak.
Even though the number of passengers is significant, so too is the fare: an average of $721 one-way, excluding taxes and any fuel surcharge. In contrast, the average fare in a much larger market is lower by 40% at $438. Bengaluru is a more premium market partially because of travelers flying between tech hubs. United remains interested, even if it might get caught up in construction again.
Most people flew in Emirates with high-quality service and a great experience.
The most popular destinations for travelers coming from San Francisco to Bengaluru in 2019 have been Dubai with Emirates, and a tie between Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, Frankfurt with Lufthansa, and Delhi with Air India.
A ticket going from New York to Boston through Dubai will add 1,077 miles (1,733km) in each direction. United Airlines is betting that they’ll be able to attract higher-yielding premium passengers who want to save time and hassle by paying a higher fare.