The worst business class I ever flew: A review of Air India on the 777-300ER from Delhi to New York

Today, how would India’s national airline perform? The one Zach wrote previously came before our rating system for flight evaluations. And now it’s my turn to review Air India. Although my understanding of airlines has improved over the past three years, I’m still trying to find an answer to that final question.

It seems like it’s going to be a wild ride. Make sure to fasten your seatbelts. This flight with India Air was nowhere near that. In the previous year, business-class long-haul reviews have scored an average of 79 points. Well,

Table of Contents

Booking

One of the reasons why we booked this very long flight in a good business class seat at a cheap price is because it was equivalent to $1,567 in our valuations. We paid approximately $67 for fees and taxes, and we used 75,000 points from our American Express Membership Rewards to transfer to Aeroplan in order to book this flight.

It only took me a few minutes to reach out to someone, even though I struggled to comprehend the representative. I contacted them in order to choose my seat, and if you make a reservation using points and wish to select your seat, you will need to visit the Air India website and dial the phone number provided under Customer Support.

If you are looking to book a seat on United’s service from Newark to India, then the former Platinum Card is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards® points in your first 6 months of having the Card. This is in addition to the points you will earn on your purchases, after spending $6,000 on the Card.

However, I stray from the main point.

[Flight_stats ticket-class=”first” review-stat-section=”Ground Experience” tpg-rating=”8″ tpg-rating-max=”20″ tail=”VT-ALM” age=”11″ departure=”6″ departure-2=”48″ duration=”14″ duration-2=”24″ live-tv=”0″ tailcam=”0″ headphones=”0″ comp-alcohol=”0″ extra-pillows=”0″ turndown-service=”0″ /].

My firsthand experience on Air India was luxurious and soothing.

I’m joking, I’m joking. It was exhausted and tense.

The flight to JFK that was scheduled for 1:35 a.M., And the initial arrival at 10:35 p.M., Were supposed to have a three-hour gap between them. However, due to the delay of my first flight from Male (MLE) to Delhi (DEL) with a layover in Thiruvananthapuram (TRV), I only had 45 minutes to reach my connecting flight to JFK upon landing in Delhi. The delay of my journey commenced at that point.

Thankfully, my checked luggage was not lost. Depending on how you look at it, our original departure time of 1:35 was delayed, giving me a bit more time to make my connection, which could be either lucky or unlucky, depending on your perspective.

Excellent. The feared “SSSS” (secondary screening) was imprinted in the corner. At the counter, an agent conversed on the phone for more than five minutes, all while examining my passport and generating my boarding pass. It seemed that he possessed a roster of individuals with limited connections and my name was included. After disembarking the aircraft, an airport employee accompanied me to the international transfers counter.

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I didn’t have much time to go to another part of the airport, but I had to go through additional screening and get my hands swabbed thanks to my SSSS designation. I hustled through security and into the departures terminal.

The airport appeared tidy, and I observed several stores operating – despite the late hour – as I briskly walked through the terminal.

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Delhi is a quiet airport — there are no loudspeaker notifications regarding boarding, delays, or cancellations.

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There is a business-class lounge as well as a hallway that you can walk down to access first-class. He noted that there is also a business-class section. Zach was able to check it out during his flight three years ago on India Air. Although you might have guessed, I didn’t even take a second peek at it.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Naturally. Gathered around it were individuals. There existed a solitary charging station, and it boasted a satisfactory number of seats at the gate, although insufficient to accommodate all the travelers aboard the Boeing 777-300ER, which can hold 342 individuals in Air India’s arrangement. Another security screening was necessary for all passengers to undergo at the gate.

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Boarding was chaotic, as passengers formed a queue before the gate agents even commenced the boarding procedure.

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In 2013, departing from JFK, a photograph of the identical aircraft, a 12-year-old 777 registered VT-ALM, was discovered in our records. I was unable to capture an image of the airplane, hence I managed to arrive just in time for boarding.

(Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

Nodded off and stretched out on my fully reclining seat (more on that in a moment), I was utterly fatigued at this juncture. We were informed that we would experience a delay due to a mechanical problem but it would only require approximately 45 minutes or so once we embarked on the aircraft, at 2:15 a.M.

At 3 a.M., We were still on the tarmac and were informed that there would be a delay.

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It became evident that the duration was significantly greater than anticipated. Finally, following a considerable amount of anticipation, we departed at 6:48 a.M. That was the moment when the genuine thrill commenced.

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The 777-300ER of Air India has a business class arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Air India, rather than Emirates, is the airline that operates most of its Boeing 777s. However, it should be noted that Emirates also offers this service, albeit less frequently. Indeed, it is possible to have a middle seat in business class.

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The mini-cabin is located behind the bulkhead, between two curtains. In Coach class, there are no passengers in the middle rows, as the airline reserves these for the rest of the crew. Usually, these mini-cabins are not available in this case. The kitchen and bathroom are located right behind rows 14 and 12 on India Air’s 777s. By the way, the row numbers are not consecutive. I chose an aisle seat, 12C, to avoid the middle.

(Image courtesy of SeatGuru)

It was okay, although it didn’t work out as planned. However, I ended up behind the passenger window seat. As a member of the Aisle Team, I firmly declined when politely asked to switch seats with the woman sitting behind the window seat.

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Upon reaching my seat, I discovered several items awaiting me, such as a cushion, cover, and earphones.

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The chair was not exactly the most sanitary I had ever seen on an aircraft.

They did not offer Champagne until later. I chose to drink water. Upon boarding, flight attendants served water as a welcome drink, along with the option of wine or juice.

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The cushion adorned with silk was of a respectable size, albeit not particularly supportive or cozy. Maybe not entirely crafted from silk, but it was undeniably sleek.

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No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is a coverlet enveloped in paper. At least the packaging is recyclable.

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It wasn’t the poorest airplane blanket I’ve ever come across, but it wasn’t luxurious or comfortable by any stretch of the imagination.

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There are suspended adaptable lights for reading.

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Additionally, there is a USB port and an international power socket located on the side of the seat.

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That is the storage. That is the case. Do you notice this small compartment here? However, there is hardly any room for storage, my seat provided a satisfactory amount of space for my legs.

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During the duration of the flight, items began to accumulate rapidly.

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You had to seriously work to adjust the seat, using the exact amount of pressure and the right angle. It was hard. You had to press one of these cute little buttons to adjust it.

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The chair did not even recline completely flat, and it was extremely narrow and highly uncomfortable.

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Once we were airborne, flight attendants placed a pillow on my lap, and stored the blankets in one of the overhead compartments.

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I refer to this as a self-made turndown service.

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This small partition separated me from my seat companion. Sort of.

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I used various points to clean neither the flight nor the flight. The flight attendants did not keep the two bathrooms very clean on the flight, and the passengers in business class had access to two bathrooms.

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You were wrong. If you didn’t know any better, you might think this plane was incredibly luxurious and cool. The one redeeming factor was the mood lighting, which changed from red to green to blue.

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[Flight_stats ticket-class=”premium” review-stat-section=”Facilities and Entertainment” tpg-rating=”8″ tpg-rating-max=”15″ screen=”15″ movies=”45″ tv-shows=”61″ live-tv=”No” tailcam=”No” headphones=”0″ comp-alcohol=”0″ extra-pillows=”0″ turndown-service=”0″ /].

Flight attendants distributed magazines shortly after passengers boarded, which is truly a rare sight.

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Air India possesses an in-flight entertainment system. And that’s the only positive aspect one can mention about it.

I was in the bulkhead seat, so the screen was on the wall. The rest of the TVs were behind the seats.

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However, they did have a decent selection of Bollywood movies. That was the only thing that sounded appealing to me, literally. I watched a movie called “The Lake House” from 2006, which I had only seen a handful of times. The point is, it wasn’t a touchscreen. There were no great movies. You had to scroll like you would with a computer cursor.

The flight “No” said it was available data, but every time I clicked on it, they advertised a map. Additionally, the same goes for external cameras.

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The armrest was so thin that sometimes it would trigger the functionalities of your resting, making it even worse. The remote would have been high-tech when President Clinton was in office.

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The earphones were fragile and uncomfortable, and the original pair I received didn’t function.

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They connected to the socket between the two seats.

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The eye cover, similar to the earphones, was enveloped in paper.

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Along with the eye cover, the bag contained a set of socks.

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On the contrary, slippers were enclosed in plastic.

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“Fragile” is the first word that comes to mind. They hardly had any padding.

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We did receive a satisfactory amenity package.

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It included a variety of items, such as organic toothpaste, lip moisturizer, cleansing bar, a toothbrush, and moisturizing cream.

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Maybe. In the future, it might have it. Air India doesn’t have a Wi-Fi network in sight, as you might have guessed.

[Flight_stats ticket-class=”first” review-stat-section=”Food and Beverage” tpg-rating=”13″ tpg-rating-max=”20″ live-tv=”0″ tailcam=”0″ headphones=”0″ meals=”2″ champagne=”Yes” dine-on-demand=”Kind of?” Comp-alcohol=”0″ extra-pillows=”0″ turndown-service=”0″ /].

Oh man, I was thrilled to write this part!

Their reply, upon my awakening and inquiry, was, “Are you inclined towards a vegetarian or meat-based meal?” Regrettably, they neglected to rouse me during the initial formal meal offering, leaving me to independently seek out flight attendants in order to ascertain the available food choices, since no menu was readily accessible.

I apologize, what did you say? Could you please provide more ambiguous information?

The overall experience of the economy was not necessarily bad, although the food was not particularly enjoyable. In addition to a side salad and some bread, the ravioli, which was actually quite decent, ended up being the highlight of the vegetarian meal. Therefore, I didn’t want to risk trying the meat options and stuck with the vegetarian choice.

As I assembled the table tray, the flight attendant came over to bring the food when the tablecloth, which I held, came out of the left side of the seat.

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Unlike almost every other long-haul business class, the whole meal was served simultaneously. Well, at least they’re productive.

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It appeared that the sole option for white wine was Chardonnay, which I chose. The server informed me that they did not have any other options available. When I asked for the menu, I inquired about a drink.

Yes, it’s pretty much dine-on-demand. When I woke up, I was served and the service was formal no matter when I slept. Breakfast was like a similar affair, with no menu.

I ordered a vegetable scramble. There was no menu available, and the flight attendants did not provide any details about what each option included. The other choice was a more traditional Indian breakfast.

It was satisfying, but it wasn’t incredibly delicious. Mine was served with beans, sausages, a muffin, and a croissant.

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It was party time! After 18 hours of being on board (and having breakfast), we finally reached the end of the flight, and the drink cart was my favorite thing. About two hours before landing, flight attendants walked through the cabin with a cart full of alcohol.

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Just joking. I didn’t feel like consuming alcoholic beverages after having breakfast just a few hours ago.

The Champagne, just to clarify, was Lanson Black Label, which receives 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, meaning it is rated as “excellent”.

The first-class flight had a rating of 5 out of 15 for service, with no live TV, tailcam, headphones, complimentary alcohol, extra pillows, or turndown service.

The experience can be summarized in four phrases: Awful, dreadful, not good, extremely bad.

I felt unwelcome as it seemed that I inconvenienced the passengers with whom I tried to interact. It appeared that they were having both good and bad days, and it didn’t matter to them what your job is — I was just happy to be there. The flight attendants never said thank you or smiled.

The attitude of their response was not okay. But when I pressed the call button to test the time, I also got to my seat in about 30 seconds. They also provided me with meals when I woke up after meals. And they made sure I had a blanket, water, and food.

Conclusion

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