Vistara Long-Haul US Flights: What Passengers Can Expect

Vistara is gearing up to launch direct flights between India and the US in a few months. Speaking exclusively to Simple Flying, Vistara CCO and CEO-designate Vinod Kannan told us more about the timeline on these flights. So what can passengers expect from the flight? Let’s find out.

Vistara Boeing 787-9
Vistara is pending the delivery of its third 787-9, which has been delayed due to an FAA concern with Boeing’s manufacturing processes. Photo: Getty Images

Coming soon

While Vistara has long signaled interest in US flights, it took its first major step in the direction when it applied for FAA approval. With the first set of permissions promptly granted, the airline was one step closer to entering a key long-haul market from India. So when do flights begin?

Speaking to Simple Flying at the Future Flying Forum last month, CCO Vinod Kannan told us more about the airline’s plans. On the timeline, he said that a few more hurdles remain before flights,

“Flying into the US requires a whole host of approvals, there’s the approval required from the FAA, the DoT, the TSA, so there are multiple agencies that are involved, and all those things are now being worked upon…We will [also] have to wait to see when we get the third aircraft before adding any additional routes because we don’t have the aircraft resources at this time.”

Vistara Boeing 787-9
Flying to the US requires several regulatory permissions to ensure safety, security, and fair operations of all foreign carriers. Photo: Vistara

This means the timings of flights will be closely linked to the FAA lifting the ban on new 787 deliveries. As of November, we still have no idea as to when Boeing will be able to resolve manufacturing concerns flagged by the regulators. However, seeing the business impact, we will hopefully see deliveries in early 2022.

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Once flights do begin, passengers are in for a fresh new experience to the US. Vistara operates one of the youngest 787 fleets globally, which come with the latest cabin products. In September, Simple Flying was invited to try out the business class seat on the Delhi-London route. It’s unlikely that Vistara will upgrade these seats, with other airlines using similar products on their US services.

Vistara 787-9 Business Class
Vistara’s business class comes in a 1-2-1 layout and features a spacious product. Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

The airline’s 787-9s are equipped with 299 seats across three cabins, business class (30), premium economy (21), and economy (248).

Considering the 14+ hours flights from India to the US take, Vistara’s 32″ of pitch and 18″ of width in economy is on par with the competition (same as Air India and slightly more than United). This means service will be a deciding factor in passengers’ choice.

In business class, the airline is targeting frequent flyers and luxury travelers with a 1-2-1 seat map. With direct aisle access, good catering, and private seats, Vistara is hoping to peel away passengers from the competition. Moreover, given the focus on direct flights during the pandemic, the airline will benefit from growing volume.

IMG_3846Vistara 787-9 Business Class Seat
Vistara’s business class seat will compete with United’s Polaris cabin. Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

For now, passengers can expect to see a solid onboard product on the 787 when they start flying. However, how this converts on a near ultra-long-haul flight is yet to be seen and will be an important factor in Vistara’s success.

What do you think about Vistara’s plans to fly to the US? Have you flown their 787s before? Let us know in the comments!