BENGALURU: Air India seems to have pulled off a coup of sorts like Etihad Airways did with the US immigration and Customs officials. Etihad will now have a direct competition in Air India with the latter too introducing flight services from Bengaluru to San Francisco with the American officials offering immigration and custom clearance checks at the Bengaluru airport itself.
Air India is touting that their passengers will have huge benefits travelling to San Francisco as they will undergo immigration and customs at their boarding points itself and can have comfortable journey further. Air India will commence its services from Bengaluru to San Francisco via New Delhi on December 2.
It is to be seen how Bengalurueans will respond to the Air India’s new offering as there is a Delhi stopover in between, and the flight from Delhi to San Francisco will be one of the longest. There is a huge traffic between Bengaluru and San Francisco as both cities are bonded by information technology, and have common offices. An estimated 1.5 million people working in the IT & BPO sectors in Bengaluru.
In fact, Etihad Airways which connects Bengaluru with San Franciso via Abu Dhabi was the first to pull off such a coup with the US authorities by opening immigration and customs counters at Abu Dhabi airport.
Passengers travelling to San Francisco undergo customs and immigration formalities at Abu Dhabi airport thus saving a lot of time for themselves at the port of arrival. The travel from Abu Dhabi and San Francisco on the Etihad flight feels like domestic journey as there are no formalities to complete on arrival at San Francisco.
According to Air India, Flight AI-173 from Bengaluru to Delhi will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 21.15 hrs with a A321 aircraft. The flight will arrive in Delhi at 2345 hrs. Flight AI-173 to San Francisco will leave Delhi on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 0235 hrs and will be operated with B777-200LR aircraft. This flight will arrive into San Francisco at 0700 hrs (local time) on the same day. The return flight will depart at 1030 hrs and arrive at Delhi next day (Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays) and at 1620 hrs depart to Bengaluru to arrive at 1745 hrs by Airbus A321 aircraft.
Passengers from six other cities and IT hubs, in India i.e. Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Pune too will have seamless connections. Likewise, the return flight from San Francisco via Delhi will provide onward connections to nine cities i.e. Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bhubaneswar, Air India said.
Source : Economic Times
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