ISO Airline recommendation (DC to India)

I’m flying out to India on business in September. Given the following considerations, I was wondering what airline to pick…

  1. It is going to be business class. Woot!
  2. My main frequent flyer accounts are United and/or American, so an airline that was either one of them or a partner would be great.
  3. I am flying into Delhi.
  4. A new-ish fleet is good, in particular I need an outlet in the seat, and full recline (180 degrees) is really preferable.

Anyone with experience out there to let me know what are good and what suck?

Moved from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion at the OP’s request.

General Questions Moderator


Ages ago, I flew on AirIndia and it was the BEST flight I ever took! The service was great, the food was fantastic and I still dream about it!
Then again - that was years ago so can’t say how they are now.

You might want to register and log into a board called FlyerTalk - it is sort of like SDMB, except it has almost exclusively people who fly A LOT and they discuss special deals and places to go while traveling on business. I am sure if you posted there, you would probably get ample info on the best airline, best routes and any special deals you could find currently.

How about Air Canada? Nonstop Toronto to Delhi, so you just need to get across the border to Toronto. Also, it’s Star Allience, like United. Jet Airways and Air India also fly to Delhi from Toronto, but they aren’t Star Alliance or oneworld. This is accordiong to the Pearson Airport website.

It’s funny. The US airlines suck so bad now that Lufthansa is starting to look good by comparison. My Indian colleagues think that Lufthansa sucks compared with Air India.

I’d suggest you see if you can connect out of DC to an airline that will fly direct to Delhi without a stopover in Europe. If you’re in lay flat seat then the flight will go by quickly that way. I know some airlines have the bed type seating in business class now. Air India is one of them, with flat beds in the Executive Class. You can check for specific configurations for each airline and jet combo.

AA flies 777s non-stop to DEL from ORD. You’d have to add a hop to Chicago.
I fly AA’s long-hop 777s on occasion (last time ORD to Shanghai) and I can vouch for First Class. I think Business Class is pretty much just as good.
Because someone else is paying, I’d definitely take UA or AA or a codeshare and get the points to boot. But that’s just old cheapskate me. It’s plenty good enough to not be worth switching to a non-codeshare.

As it turns out, I will also be in Delhi late September and early October, on a vaca to India for a couple weeks. Business-class 777 AA from ORD. Enjoy your trip!!

I fly domestic AA as well; mostly MD80s out of ORD; occ 37s and 57s. All pretty crappy. Nothing at all like their 777s overseas.

Send me a PM if you want to see if we are on the same flight…(that way you can avoid it :slight_smile: ) lets you plan out itineraries for all its members, United is part of Star so you will get miles for any of them

We flew non-stop from JFK to Delhi in March on Air India (Coach). Although, they were OK, they did something on the flight there and back that I’ve never seen on any other plane. At the beginning of both flights, once everyone was seated and the doors were closed, the flight attendants took aerosol cans filled with some sort of deodorizer and cropdusted the entire flight of passengers. :confused::eek:

oooo stpauler The first time I had this happen was from Pointe Noire in Congo to Paris once the door was closed. They stated it was to kill any mosquitoes (malaria prevention) that had got in the cabin.

That’s not unique to Air India. It’s a public health measure that’s imposed on flights from several places, to kill off any insects that may inadvertently be freeloading on the flight.

I’m a bit surprised to read all these glowing reviews of Air India; the last time I flew with them (coach, admittedly) they were so bad I’ve never done it since. The food and service were both abysmal. Business class, however, may be different.

I flew LHR-Delhi in May on Virgin Atlantic, in economy in May. Great planes, lovely friendly staff, good food.

I have flown in Virgin Atlantic “Upper Class” - that is business and first rolled into one - twice (to and from Hong Kong) and believe me, this is one hell of an experience. It’s astoundingly luxurious. The food is restaurant quality, the seat/bed things are amazingly comfortable - and as seats are even safety-rated to be reclined during takeoff and landing - and the in-flight entertainment is superlative.

Highly recommended.

Assuming you’re in the US you could fly with them via London from New York, Newark, Chicago, Orlando, LA, Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, Washington or Atlanta (though some of these might be codeshares).

Of US carriers, however, I think they’re only airmile-partnered with Continental.

And yeah, the “cropdusting” happens on all carriers coming into the EU from India (and Malaysia too, IIRC).

ETA: sorry, missed you are flying from DC. Virgin do fly from there.

Thanks for all the suggestions, especially for the web sites.

It turns out my boss is coming too, so I may not have a choice of flights. He does, however, love Virgin so that might be the way we go…