American Airlines' highly anticipated route from Seattle to Bangalore has been delayed again. I think even the current timeline is optimistic.
American Airlines Seattle expansion
In February 2020, American Airlines shocked most people when they announced the establishment of an international hub in Seattle. American Airlines has so far announced plans to fly from Seattle, London, Shanghai and Bangalore. All three routes were originally scheduled to launch in 2021.
American began to work more closely with Alaska as the Seattle-based airline joined the oneworld alliance in March 2021. To me, Americans Seattle expansion seems a bit strange. I'm curious to see how it turns out.
The pandemic caused some Americans to delay their growth, as you might imagine. Initial plans for the flight from Seattle to Bangalore were to launch in October 2020. The flight was delayed to October 2021, November 2021 and January 2022 respectively, before being rescheduled for March 2022.
Alaska joined the oneworld alliance recently
Details for Americans Seattle to Bangalore Flights
American Airlines has updated its schedule and will launch the Seattle-to-Bangalore flight in 2022. This flight will be operated according to the following schedule:
AA180 Seattle to Bangalore departing 5:55PM arriving 11:05PM (+1 day)
AA181 Bangalore to Seattle departing 1:45AM arriving 6:00AM
Americans take the route from Seattle to Bangalore
The flight covers 8,112 miles and will be blocked at 16hr40min for India and 16hr45min for India. American will fly the route on a Boeing 7877-9, which has 30 business class seats, 21 economy seats and 234 economy seats.
Americans 787-9 business class
If/when the airline launches, it will use a 787 to fly the Seattle-to-Shanghai route. American uses a Boeing 777 to connect Seattle to London. It appears that American will be using 787s to travel between the Bangalore-Shanghai routes. This is because they have complementary schedules in Seattle.
It is still uncertain if this will happen, as the Seattle-Shanghai route has also been delayed. It wouldn't surprise me if American flew in a 787 to another hub if the route is further delayed.
I remain skeptical about this route of launching.
It was a surprise to me when American announced the route, but it made sense. American would be the only airline that flew nonstop between the US (Bangalor) and the US, so they have a distinct advantage on the market. However, a lot has changed over the years.
United Airlines has announced that it will fly every day between San Francisco, Bangalore and its hub in San Francisco. This was originally supposed to be launched in May 2021 but was delayed until May 2022.
Air India has announced that it will fly between San Francisco, California and Bangalore up to 2x per week; this route was already in operation.
American seemed to be betting that United would not be able to fly San Francisco to Bangalore because of the distance. This is because United is right at the edge of the 787-9s range. United, however, managed to modify its 787-9s in order to make this route possible. This was presumably to American dismay.
United will open a San Francisco-to-Bangalore route
Why do I doubt that the Americans will succeed here? Here's how demand was between Bangalore and the United States before the pandemic.
San Francisco saw 17.7% of traffic, the highest of any US city. It was home to over 200 people per day.
Seattle had 4.3% traffic, which accounts for approximately 50 passengers per day
American depends on connecting traffic. Apparently, American was expecting it to get much of San Francisco's demand. Then United announced that the San Francisco-to-Banglades route would be available.
Although United's route looks promising, I don't see how it can be sustained. Especially when you consider that you would fly fewer miles to Bangalore via Europe from the US than you would connecting through Seattle.
Yes, Amazon and Microsoft are huge in Seattle and have a significant presence in India. The pre-pandemic passenger figures don't lie. If all passengers travelling between Seattle and Bangalore were traveling in business class, it doesn't make sense.
American will launch a route from Seattle to Bangalore?
American Airlines' new flight from Seattle, USA to Bangalore was delayed again. It is expected that it will launch on March 26, 2022. This delay is surprising considering that the United States has lifted entry restrictions for Indian travelers. Fairness be told, India still has major restrictions on international inbound flights.
It doesn't surprise me personally, but I am skeptical about its long-term viability, especially considering Uniteds plans for a San Francisco to Bangalore route (which American didn't expect would happen). I'm curious to know if/when American launches its Seattle-to-Bangalor flight.
What do you think of the Americans Seattle to Bangalore flight? What time do you believe it will launch, if ever?
(Tip of my hat to @IshrionA