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Backgrounder Note



Air India is India's finest flying Ambassador. The urge to excel and the enthusiasm, which characterised Air India's first flight, way back on October 15, 1932, is quintessential even today - thanks to Air Indians who have kept alive the tradition of flying high. The recent merger of Air India and Indian, the country’s leader in the domestic sector, has helped the airline to emerge as a major force in the airline industry. The re-branding exercise is currently underway and passengers are getting to see the unified face of the new invigorated Air India. The merged entity, which presently has a fleet of 136 aircraft, offers passengers seamless travel across domestic and international routes.

New Thrust
Air India is gradually expanding its fleet. Seventeen new aircraft - eight B777-200LRs and nine B777-300ERs have so far joined the fleet apart from 15 Airbus A-321s and 16 A-319s. On the international network Air India now operates 28 weekly services to three destinations in the USA - New York, Newark and Chicago including a daily NonStop flight between Mumbai-New York and Delhi-New York following the induction of brand new Boeing 777-200LR in its fleet. With a fleet of 136 aircraft, Air India has been gradually expanding its network to cover new destinations in India and abroad.

NonStop Flights

The discerning passenger of today looks for speed and comfort. With the induction of the state-of-the-art B777-200LR aircraft, Air India now offers both speed and comfort through its nonstop services to New York.  Daily Nonstop flights between Mumbai/Delhi-New York offer convenient departure and arrival timings, comfortable seats, 23 inch screen to watch 250 hours of video programming, mood lighting and gourmet food. The eight-seat First Class cabin has been designed to offer the passenger comfort and luxury with exclusivity. Each First Class seat can be transformed into a fully horizontal flat bed, 77 inches long and 31 inches wide. A passenger travelling First Class has the facility of convenio service i.e. meals at times preferred by a passenger. The 35-seat Executive Class cabin too has spacious and comfortable seats. Each seat can be transformed into a 72-inch long flat bed.  The 195 Economy Class seats are ergonomically designed for comfort during the long haul flight.  Mood Lighting – the entire aircraft cabin has the facility of mood lighting in soft shades of mauve, green and pink to soothe and relax passengers.

Air India’s B777-300ERs operated on Mumbai/Delhi – London sectors have a total of 342 seats in three-class configuration – four First Class, 35 Executive Class and 303 Economy Class seats.  The First Class with 1-2-1 seating is designed to offer the premium traveller luxury, comfort and privacy and an extensive range of facilities.  Each First Class seat is an individual cabin by itself.  The seat, which is 23” wide and has a seat pitch of 80 inches, converts into 31-inch wide full flat bed.  The seat offers lumbar support, a massage system and a large bi-folding meal table which slides and swivels, giving the passenger flexibility to move easily from his/her seat when the table is deployed.  In Executive Class the 2-3-2 abreast 19.5 inches wide seats with a pitch of 76 inches, transform into 26.5 inch full flat beds.  The seats have a large back shell and a divider between seats for privacy.  The four-way movable leather headrest provides for greater comfort.  In Economy Class the 3-3-3 abreast seats with a pitch of 33 inches and a 6-inch recline are 18 inches wide.  All the seats, except those in the front row, have a roller type therapeutic leg rest installed in front for added comfort.  Inflight Entertainment - Passengers can enjoy 350 hours of audio video on demand.  There is something for each and every passenger – movies, games, news and music.  State-of-the-art Thales i500 inflight entertainment system, which provides high noise immunity, makes travelling on the long haul flights a pleasure.  A USB port in all classes enables passengers to connect electronic devices, e.g. digital camera, keyboard, MP3 player and mobile phone. 

Refurbished B747-400
Air India has also revamped its First Class on all its long haul Boeing 747-400s, deployed on the Mumbai-Frankfurt-Newark sector by retrofitting 180-degrees flat-bed seats in the First Class. The plush, new seats, offering highly innovative standards in design, safety, reliability and appearance, are equipped for work, sleep or rest in accordance with the passengers' preference. The re-configured First Class seats only 12, instead of 16 earlier.

In its ever-growing quest for providing direct services from various points in India, Air India currently operates international flights from Mumbai and 16 other Indian cities, viz. Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Jaipur, Varanasi, Tiruchirapalli, Gaya and Thiruvananthapuram. Commencement of international operations from these cities has obviated, to a very large extent, the need for passengers from these regions to necessarily travel to Mumbai and Delhi, the traditional gateways, for taking international flights. Passengers boarding or deplaning in these cities can now complete their immigration and custom formalities at their city airport, both at the time of departure and arrival. Air India’s global network currently, region-wise, is:

Europe: London, Frankfurt, Paris

Asia Pacific: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Gulf & Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha,  Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh and Sharjah.

South Asia: Colombo, Kabul, Kathmandu, Yangon and Male.

USA & Canada: Chicago, New Jersey, New York and Toronto.

Africa: Nairobi.

Additionally, Air India has code-sharing arrangements with other international carriers. Air India's code share services are now available for:

Europe: Delhi- Istanbul / Moscow / Paris / Tashkent / Vienna /Zurich ; Mumbai- Istanbul / Vienna/ Zurich ; Delhi/Mumbai – Munich; Frankfurt - India (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai); Frankfurt- Amsterdam/Berlin/ Chicago / Copenhagen / Denver / Detroit / Dusseldorf / Los Angeles / Lyon / Munich / Oslo / Stockholm / Stuttgart / Washington / Zurich.

USA & Canada: Kuala Lumpur-Los Angeles-Kuala Lumpur; Singapore-Los Angeles-Singapore; and Singapore-San Francisco-Singapore

Asia Pacific: Ahmedabad-Singapore; Amritsar-Singapore; Bangalore-Singapore ; Bangalore-Bangkok; Bangalore-Kuala Lumpur; Bangkok-Shanghai; Bangkok-Hong Kong; Chennai-Bangkok; Delhi-Kuala Lumpur; Delhi-Singapore; Kolkata- Bangkok/Singapore; Hyderabad-Bangkok / Kuala Lumpur / Singapore; Mumbai-Kuala Lumpur/Bangkok ; Singapore-Bangkok/Kuala Lumpur; Thiruvananthapuram-Kuwait; Tokyo –Bangkok – Tokyo;

South Asia: Kolkata- Chittagong / Dhaka  

Gulf & Middle-East: Bahrain-Delhi-Bahrain; Bahrain-Bangalore-Bahrain; Dubai-Chennai-Dubai; Dubai-Kochi-Dubai; Kuwait-Thiruvananthapuram-Kuwait; Kuwait-Chennai-Kuwait; and Kuwait-Kochi-Kuwait; 

Africa: Bangalore Mauritius; Delhi-Mauritius; Chennai-Mauritius; Mumbai-Mauritius;

Australia: Melbourne-Singapore, Singapore-Brisbane; Singapore-Sydney; Kuala Lumpur-Melbourne;  

Frankfurt -The New Hub
After taking the path of consolidation during the past one year, the airline has taken a major initiative towards strengthening its global network and has restructured its operations to Europe and USA by making Frankfurt its operational hub for West-bound flights.

To begin with, Chicago and Newark flights offer more convenient connections to originating traffic from a larger geographical area in India with Mumbai-Chicago flights now operating from Delhi, instead of Mumbai. Passengers who wish to travel from Delhi to Newark are transferred to the Mumbai-Newark flight at Frankfurt.  Likewise, passengers from Mumbai, who wish to proceed to Chicago, are transferred to the Delhi-Chicago flight at Frankfurt. The connection at Frankfurt is immediate. All these flights are operated with state-of-the-art 342-seater B777-300ER aircraft configured in three classes. Passengers bound for various European destinations can take Air India-Lufthansa code share flights after traveling on Air India operated flights on India-Frankfurt sector.

Domestic Operations
On the domestic front we operate to 62 stations out of which 17 are connected to our international destinations. The 172-seater Airbus A321 aircraft connects all major metros, including all flights on the Delhi-Mumbai sector. Spacious cabin, comfortable seats and the luxury of in-flight entertainment make this a superior product that travellers look forward to. As more and more A321s and A319s join the fleet, they will gradually replace the A320s which are currently deployed on many domestic sectors.

Convenient connectivity has been provided to/from major metros like Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore for passengers booked on the NonStop flights. Increasing occupancy levels on the NonStop flights is testimony to the popularity of this premium product.

The Regional operations cover the following stations :

Northern Region :  Agra, Amritsar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gwalior, Jaipur, Jabalpur, Jammu, Jodhpur, Khajuraho, Kulu, Leh, Lucknow, Pathankot, Raipur, Srinagar, Udaipur and Varanasi.

Eastern Region : Agartala, Aizwal, Bagdogra, Bhubaneshwar, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Gaya, Guwahati, Imphal, Jorhat, Kolkatta, Lilabari, Patna, Port Blair, Ranchi, Shillong, Silchar and Tezpur.

Western Region : Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Goa, Indore, Jamnagar, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara.

Southern Region :  Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Madurai, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati, Tiruchirapalli and Vishakapatnam. 

Frequent Flyer Programme
Air India has a Frequent Flyer Programme branded "Flying Returns”. Members of the Flying Returns Programme (FRP), the most attractive FRP for the Indian traveller, can accrue mileage points while flying on Air India, Lufthansa and flights of Air India’s code share partners, and redeem them for award tickets on Air India or Lufthansa. Through tie-ups with leading hospitality-associated organisations in India, members can earn additional mileage points to redeem their tickets faster. "Flying Returns" has a membership of nearly 6,00,000 in India, the Gulf, UK, USA, Canada and South-East Asia.

Star Alliance
With a quantum jump in product profile resulting from induction of new aircraft and consequent expansion of network, Air India will be all set to join the Star Alliance by middle of 2010. Star Alliance, is a leading global airline alliance of 21 top international carriers. Once Air India becomes a member, passengers will enjoy enormous benefits, including seamless transfers while travelling across the world, more frequent flyer mileage points, code-sharing leading to a wider choice of flights and access to lounge facilities worldwide. The Star Alliance network offers more than 17,000 daily flights to 916 destinations in 160 countries.

Dining aboard Air India is a gourmet experience. The airline offers a choice of menus to suit all types of palates - Indian and Continental. Apart from these, there is western nouvelle cuisine, an appetizing choice of Asian specialities, and even Japanese meals on the India-Japan route. Besides, if any passenger has a special food requirement, he can choose from any of the 23 special meals, details of which are also available on the website The meal preference can also be intimated through the travel agent while making reservation. The menus are constantly revamped and the wines carried on board live up to the food they complement! Meals are served to First Class passengers in bone china crockery. Alcoholic beverages are served complimentary in all classes.

Inflight Entertainment
The selection of music on board Air India aircraft would be the envy of any radio station. Passengers can choose from Indian popular music, Indian Classical, Ghazals, Bollywood hits and from Western Classical, Pop, Jazz, Country and Nostalgia. A special channel for Regional songs has been compiled to suit all passengers coming from different regions. A Japanese channel is available for our Japanese passengers.

Air India's video programmes include a choice of the most recent English and Hindi feature films. One-hour video magazine represents the finest in comedy, nature & wildlife, adventure, action and life style. There are special movies in Tamil and Malayalam selected for passengers travelling from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Chennai to the Gulf and Singapore.

Air India Express
Air India’s budget international airline, Air India Express, was launched in April 2005. Air India Express operates 200 weekly flights on its network between 17 Indian citieis viz. Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Srinagar, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirapally and 14 international stations viz. Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Bangkok, Colombo, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Sharjah and Singapore.

Online bookings can be done on

Facilities on the Ground
Besides the much-talked about and appreciated inflight service on board, ground facilities have also been upgraded. Air India's lounge for transit passengers at Mumbai Airport is equipped with shower facilities, specially designed slumberettes, Wi-Fi, a gymnasium and a business centre. First and Executive Class passengers can surf the net or send e-mail in the comfort of our business centre located in the Maharajah Lounge while waiting for their flight to depart. There is a lounge for unaccompanied minors as well. Air India has its own exclusive lounges at Delhi, London, Hong Kong and New York in addition to the one in Mumbai. At other international airports, Air India has tie-ups with other international airlines or local Airports Authorities for lounge facility.

Speedy Message Service (SMS)
Users of Indian mobile telephones travelling from Indian stations are requested to provide their mobile numbers at the time of making their reservations to enable us to inform you by SMS in case your flight out of India is rescheduled within four days prior to departure. First and Executive Class passengers departing from Mumbai and Delhi airports can tele-check-in. A separate entry has been created for First and Executive Class passengers travelling from Mumbai. Several changes have been introduced at Mumbai and Delhi airports with the intent of streamlining airport procedures and enhancing efficiency to make Economy Class passengers' experience, from check-in to boarding of aircraft, absolutely hassle-free. The measures include additional X-ray machines, floor walkers in check-in area, the formation of a telephone enquiry cell and more efficient communications between various sections of the airport.

Advance Check-in
Passengers can take advantage of the advance check-in facility that is available at the airport and city office for the convenience of all passengers (including First, Executive and Economy Classes) travelling from Mumbai to the US, the UK and Europe. While First and Executive Class passengers can then report to the airport with their hand baggage just 45 minutes prior to the departure of the flight, Economy Class passengers are required to check-in only 90 minutes before scheduled departure time.

Online Booking
The quick, easy and convenient way to book AI tickets online through the Air India website A passenger can make a booking for a sector of his choice for up to 5 adults, 4 children and 2 infants. These bookings can be made for flights from 4 hours until 360 days prior to departure of the flight. The passenger has to pay online using his credit card (Master/Visa). The processing of the credit card is done through a secure Payment Gateway Provider (PGP). Once the credit card has been validated and the card debited, the passenger gets a confirmation of his booking. An e ticket will be generated and the details with the e ticket link will be emailed to the passenger.

For online destinations
Electronic tickets are available for travel between the following online points in India : Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram; and online points in the USA – New York, Newark and Chicago.

Significant improvements introduced in all areas of Air India's operations on an on-going basis, reinforces the airline's commitment to quality and insistence on high standards. Air India has in tune with the times, emerged as a progressive forward looking airline, eager to satiate the growing needs and expectations of the discerning jet-age traveller of today.

Air India has won the Galileo Express TravelWorld Award 2008 for the Best Short-Haul International Airline. The award was presented to Air India on December 10, 2008. Air India has an extensive network covering all major destinations in the Gulf and South East Asia from most major Indian cities. Air India has previously been a recipient of the Galileo Express TravelWorld Award for the “Best International West Bound Airline out of India” for three successive years as well as for launching the “Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative.”

Air India was also conferred the prestigious Amity Corporate Excellence Award instituted by the Amity International Business School, Noida, Uttar Pradesh to honour Corporates with distinct vision, innovation, competitiveness and sustenance. It also won the Special category Award which recognises the Most significant corporate Social Responsibility initiative (CSR) taken by an organisation.  Air India had won four other prestigious awards in 2006:

1) Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) which ranked the airline as the first in terms of revenue out of the top airline companies out of India;

2) Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Award;

3) CNBC Awaaz Consumer Award 2006; and ‘Best South Asian Airline’ award by readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG Mice and TTG-BT Mice China, all renowned Mice and business travel publications.

The awards are an eloquent testimony to passengers’ faith in Air India and the airline’s continued effort to ensure consumer satisfaction.

Air India Call Centers
Air India reservations can be accessed from MTNL/BSNL landlines within India on the common Toll Free No. 1800 22 77 22, and from mobile and private landline phones on the following numbers.

Call Centre Location

Access number for passengers using Mobile & Private Landline Phone Regions from where Call Centre is accessible
 MUMBAI  022 2548 9999  Western India
 DELHI  0124 234 8888   Northern and Eastern  India
 BANGALORE  080 2554 8888  Southern India

For IC designated flights please call Toll Free No. 1800 180 1407 from MTNL/BSNL mobile or landline.


 U.K.  0208 560 9996
 1800 223 7776 – Toll Free number
 U.S.A.  1888 359 2412 -  Toll Free number
 CANADA  1800 625 6424 – Toll Free number

Air India website :
Air India contact Email :

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