Seattle’s Longest Route Yet Will Take Off In November

American Airlines’ new route from Seattle to Bangalore, known as India’s ‘Silicon Valley’, is due to take off on November 6th. It has, understandably, been plagued by postponement, but its first service is now just over two months away.

American B787-9
American Airlines to due to resume India after a nine-year absence. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

At the time of writing, American’s Seattle to Bangalore route, some 8,078 miles long and bookable, will operate seven times weekly using 285-seat Boeing 787-9s with 30 lie-flat business seats. It’ll have a block time to India of 16 hours and 40 minutes and just five minutes longer on the return. The schedule is:

  • Seattle-Bangalore: AA180, leaving at 17:55 and arriving the next day at 23:05
  • Bangalore-Seattle: AA181, departing at 03:00 and arriving back the same day at 06:15
American B787
In 2019, Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad all have larger point-to-point demand from Seattle than Bangalore. However, Bangalore had the highest average fare. Photo: N509FZ via Wikimedia.

Seattle’s first service to India

Bangalore will be Seattle’s first service to India. It will be the third non-stop service between North America and the southern Indian city after Air India and United from San Francisco. Air India launched the route in January this year, while United is expected to start in December.

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Some 20 non-stop routes across four airlines are scheduled between North America and India this year once American and United begin. This is up from 14 in 2019. American’s new Bangalore service (and another New York JFK to Delhi due to begin on November 1st) will mark American’s return to India. It last served the country between 2005 and 2012 from Chicago to Delhi.

American B787
American to Bangalore will be Seattle’s longest route, coming eight miles longer than Singapore Airlines’ service to Changi. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr.

A good-sized point-to-point market

Seattle to Bangalore point-to-point (P2P) demand totaled approximately 39,000 round-trip passengers in 2019, booking data indicates, with an average one-way fare (excluding fuel surcharge and taxes) of $718.

While Bangalore-San Francisco was a much larger P2P market (139,000) and about the same fare ($721), Seattle’s shorter distance meant its fare-per-mile was 7% higher. This made it one of the USA’s best-performing markets by this measure. Contrast with Delhi-JFK, for example, whose fare-per-mile was 31% lower. The difference is from Seattle’s much greater premium demand, despite Seattle being much longer.

American B787
American is also beginning JFK-Delhi this November. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

And targeting those transiting Seattle

The second source of demand will be those transiting Seattle with Alaska Airlines. The airport is, of course, the carrier’s largest airport by some distance. It has 78 routes across the lower 48 states in the week starting November 6th, as shown in the map below.

Despite the breadth of connection opportunity, California, Texas, and Illinois are likely to be the key transit origins and destinations for American’s Bangalore service. Aside from San Francisco, Chicago (51,000 round-trip passengers), Dallas (41,000), Los Angeles (39,000), and Houston (27,000) stand out.

Alaska Airlines' lower 48 routes from Seattle in early November
Alaska Airlines’ lower 48 network from Seattle. Image: OAG.

It’ll be 1,022 miles shorter than via Dubai

In 2019, Emirates was the largest airline between Seattle and Bangalore, very distantly followed by British Airways over Heathrow. Now, in 2021, Qatar Airways will be another one-stop option. In April, we looked at Qatar Airways’ Doha-Seattle route, which started, in part, from Alaska Airlines joining oneworld and the feed it could thus provide.

American’s non-stop service will be 1,022 miles shorter each way than via Dubai and 1,225 miles shorter than via Doha. Will it gain a price premium for this convenience?

Are you flying from Seattle this year? Let us know by commenting.