Friday, December 20, 2019

Delta to launch Mumbai-NYK non-stop next week

Mumbai: When Delta returns to India next week with the launch of a daily nonstop flight between Mumbai and New York, the one thing that is most likely to be an instant hit in the passenger cabin is its free messaging service. Onboard the ultra long haul flight, all passengers, including those in the economy class, will be able to send messages on iMessage, WhatsApp or Facebook messenger, for free.
``Our in flight wifi services are powered by Gogo’s high-speed Ku-Band satellite technology. While internet surfing and phone calls will be charged; messaging will be free,'' said Jimmy Eichelgruen, Delta, director-sales, Africa, Middle East and Indian subcontinent in a press meet held in Mumbai on Thursday.

Currently, about 20 carriers worldwide offer on board messaging services for free; some like Alitalia offer it free only to premium class passengers, while others like Qantas offers only on domestic routes. The passenger simply connects his/her smartphone to the airline’s in flight network which grants free access to messaging service providers like WhatsApp, iMessage etc.

After an absence of four years, Delta will relaunch its Mumbai-NewYork flights from December 24. Prior to this, Delta operated nonstop from Mumbai between 2006 and 2009 and thereafter the flights were routed via Amsterdam until 2015, when it suspended its Mumbai operations.

Currently, Air India and United Airlines link Mumbai to Newark with non-stop flights. Said a travel agent, requesting anonymity: ``Though two airlines operate non-stop flights between Mumbai and Newark, the demand is high on this particular route. With a third airline in the market, the fares will stabilise a bit.’’ Currently, among the three carriers, fares listed by Delta are the cheapest. For instance, for travel in the first week of January, Delta offered a return fare (as on Thursday evening) of Rs 1 lakh, versus the Rs 1.35 lakh to 1.40 lakh offered by other two carriers. ``These might be introductory fares that a new entrant offers. The coming months will tell how the Indian market has taken to the Delta product,’’ the agent added.
19/12/19 Manju V/Times of India
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