Guide to Air India’s New Business Class: All You Need to Know in 2024

by Jem
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Ready to upgrade your travel tales? Step into the world of Air India’s new Business Class – a realm where luxury and comfort meet at 30,000 feet. Here’s out ultimate guide to flying Air India Business Class, including its perks, in-flight amenities, and more.

Flying high in the skies takes a whole new meaning with Air India Business Class. As a seasoned traveler, I’ve explored various airlines, but Air India stands out in the Indian skies. And believe me, the latest Air India A350 business class is a game-changer.

This guide is your all-access pass to the world of luxury and comfort that Air India offers. From exclusive lounges to gourmet dining above the clouds, I’ll walk you through what makes Air India a top choice for luxury travel.

Ready to dive in? Let’s discover why Air India is one of Asia’s best airlines, from the plush seats to the exceptional service. Get ready to uncover the secrets behind Air India’s new business class product and see if it’s the right fit for your next adventure.

#1 tip to find cheap Air India Business Class tickets

Looking for a steal on Air India’s business class tickets? Before jumping into the article, I first wanted to give you this insider tip to find cheap airfare on business class flights.

For years, I’ve been using this site called Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), which sends alerts on airline deals, discounts, and mistake fares. It’s a total game-changer… saving me $10,000+ on flights each year.

Their $49/year premium version is well worth it- just one discounted flight pays for the whole thing.

And if you’re into business/first class, you’ll want to sign up for their Elite version. Last year, this service saved me $2,750 on a first class flight and $1,500 on a business class flight. At just $199 year year, trust me, it’s a small price for massive savings.

Overview of Air India: What’s New in 2024?

Air India is undergoing a radical transformation to usher in a new era. Backed by Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, Air India is set to merge with Vistara by March 2024. This will position them as India’s second-largest airline.

With a colossal order of 470 new aircraft, Air India is demonstrating a strong commitment to innovation. Their current fleet, including the new A350, blends comfort with modern technology and caters to a diverse range of travel needs.

Air India’s extensive network spans 37 international and 44 domestic destinations, connecting continents from Asia to Oceania. It has a notable presence in the United States with five destinations, and three each in the UK and Saudi Arabia. The San Francisco to Bengaluru route, operated by the 777-200LR, stands out as their longest flight at roughly 18 hours.

The cabin transformation, especially in Business Class, marks a new chapter in comfort and style. Next up, we’ll dive into the specifics of Air India’s Business Class, detailing each aspect that makes these flights a blend of luxury and practicality.

Air India Business Class  flight for all types of travelers.

Air India’s New Business Class Benefits in 2024

Air India Business Class offers a blend of luxury, comfort, and convenience. Here’s a rundown of the key reasons why Air India is one of the best airlines for business class:

  • Revolutionary Business Class Suites: The A350-900 features 28 business class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat offers direct aisle access and sliding privacy doors.
  • Innovative Cabin Design: The cabin boasts a fresh color palette with deep blue and wood accents, and wavy lines on the suite walls.
  • Staggered Seat Configuration: Window seats are staggered for added privacy. Odd-numbered seats are closer to the aisle and even-numbered seats are nearer the window.
  • Middle Seat Options: Middle seats offer a ‘honeymoon’ configuration for couples, with seats close together, and an alternative setup with seats further apart for solo travelers.
  • Personal Storage and Comfort: Each suite includes a wardrobe for garment storage, additional space for shoes, and a cabinet with a mirror and lamp.
  • Advanced Entertainment and Workspace: A 21-inch entertainment screen, a foldable tray table, USB-A, and universal power outlets are provided for entertainment and productivity.
  • Lie-Flat Beds and New Bedding: The seats recline into fully lie-flat beds, complemented by new bedding and amenities for a restful flight.
  • Lounge Area: A lounge area between business class and premium economy offers snacks and a variety of liquor.
  • Phased Introduction: This new business class is a significant upgrade from Air India’s legacy products and marks the beginning of a phased introduction of improved services and cabins.

Air India Business Class Products: A Detailed Comparison

Air India, already known as one of the best airlines in India, is elevating its game with the introduction of new Business Class experiences. This quick overview will compare the current offerings with the exciting new Airbus A350-900.

Boeing 777 and 787

  • Current Configuration: The existing Boeing 777 and 787 fleets offer a business class product that, while functional, has been considered less competitive compared to global standards.
  • Features: These aircraft currently feature angled lie-flat seats with direct aisle access for most seats.
  • In-Flight Entertainment and Amenities: Standard in-flight entertainment systems and business class amenities are provided.
  • Retrofit Plans: Starting in mid-2024, these aircraft will undergo a retrofit to include the new business class cabins, aligning with the standards set by the new A350-900.

Airbus A350-900

  • Introduction of New Aircraft: Air India will start receiving new A350-900s in 2024. Their first A350 flight took to the skies on January 22, 2024.
  • New Cabin Features: These new aircraft will feature the latest business class cabins unveiled by Air India, marking a significant upgrade in both comfort and design.
  • Suite Configuration: The A350-900 business class will offer suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat will benefit from direct aisle access and enhanced privacy.
  • Modern Amenities: Expect state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment, superior bedding, and a refreshed dining experience.
  • Rollout Schedule: The new A350-900s are to be delivered in 2024, with the retrofitting of existing Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft to follow.

Airbus A320 Family

  • Current Operation: Air India operates the Airbus A320 family on short and medium-haul routes. You’ll find 8 or 12 Business Class recliner seats in a 2-2 configuration.
  • Seat Dimensions: The seats offer a width of 21 inches and a pitch of 40 inches. The A319 typically has 8 Business Class seats, while the A320 and A321 have 12 seats.
  • Fleet Update: With the new aircraft order, Air India will introduce 210 new Airbus narrow-body aircraft. This includes 140 A320neos and 70 A321neos, along with 190 Boeing 737 Max, featuring updated products and interiors.

Overall Transformation

  • Brand Revamp: Alongside the cabin upgrades, Air India is undergoing a brand makeover. This includes a new logo and livery, which I think looks fantastic.
  • Future Outlook: With Tata’s takeover, Air India is poised for what is being hailed as the “biggest turnaround in aviation history”. They’re aiming to regain their prestige and elevate its Executive Class offering to new heights.
Air India business class, is already regarded as one of the best airlines in India.
Air India business class, is already regarded as one of the best airlines in India. | Image Credit: Air India

Baggage Allowance with Air India Business Class

Traveling in Air India’s new Business Class? Here’s what you need to know about your baggage allowance:

  • Carry-On Baggage: As a Business Class traveler, you can bring one piece of hand baggage. Just make sure it doesn’t exceed 12 kg (26 pounds).
  • Checked Baggage: Air India’s baggage allowance is generous. You’re allowed two pieces of checked baggage, each weighing up to 32 kg (70 lbs).

Tips for Booking Air India Business Class Tickets

Booking a flight with Air India, especially if you’re eyeing their new Business Class, can be a savvy affair if you know the right tricks. Here are some tips to help you find cheap business class tickets on Air India flights in 2024.

Leverage Aeroplan Points

For North American travelers, Aeroplan, thanks to Air India’s Star Alliance membership, is your go-to program. It’s an efficient way to book Air India flights, particularly if you’re accumulating points through credit card spending or other partner programs.

Point Costs for Different Classes

From the West Coast, a First Class ticket on Air India costs around 130,000 Aeroplan points. A Business Class ticket is roughly 90,000 points. Taxes and fees are quite reasonable.

Geography Matters

Your point cost might vary based on your departure point. Direct flights to India from Eastern North America generally align with the West Coast in terms of points, but adding a connecting flight could bump you into a higher distance band, requiring more points.

Early Booking and Flexibility

As with most airlines, booking early with Air India often secures better rates and more availability. Flexibility with your travel dates can also lead to more economical options.

Check for Deals and Sales

Keep an eye on Air India’s website and subscribe to their newsletters. They occasionally run promotions that can offer significant savings or better value for your points.

Explore Partner Airlines

Being part of Star Alliance, Air India offers the possibility to book flights with partner airlines. This can sometimes open up more routes or better timings, depending on your destination.

Use Stopovers to Your Advantage

Aeroplan allows stopovers for a nominal fee on international flights booked with points. This can be a great way to see an extra city without the cost of an additional flight.

NOTE: Air India Business Class prices can vary based on whether you buy direct or connecting flights. Again, if you want to find the best possible deals on business class airfare, I highly recommend signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going.com). While the free version is great for finding discounted economy flights, the Elite version is what you’ll need to find cheap business and first class deals.

Air India Business Class Airport Experiences

When you’re flying Air India’s new Business Class, the ground experience, especially at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, is something to look forward to. This is India’s busiest airport, having welcomed over 67.3 million passengers back in 2019 (dropping to 37 million in 2021, post-pandemic).

Situated in Palam, about 16 kilometers from Delhi’s bustling city center, the airport is well-organized with three terminals. Terminals 1 and 2 are your go-to for domestic flights. Terminal 3 handles both international and some domestic flights.

The real gem here is Air India’s Maharajah Lounges, one of the best airport lounges in the world. Located conveniently on the mezzanine level next to the food court in the respective terminals, these lounges are open to all Air India First Class, Business Class, Flying Return Elite members, and Star Alliance Gold customers.

Air India’s Maharajah Lounges offer hot food, snacks, and a salad bar. You can catch up on work with the available Wi-Fi, workstations, and freshen up in showers. While most of Air India’s Maharajah Lounges are in India, they do have a presence internationally. You’ll find lounges at New York’s JFK and London Heathrow airports.

One thing to note, though: Air India used to offer a complimentary chauffeur pick-up and drop-off service for Business and First Class passengers on long-haul routes originating outside of India. However, this service has been put on hold due to the pandemic, and it’s still up in the air whether it will make a comeback.

One should look forward to the on-ground experience, particularly at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
The Maharajah Lounges on Air India are the true gems here. | Image Credit: Air India

In-Flight Comfort & Amenities on Air India Business Class

Stepping into Air India’s new A350 Business Class, you immediately understand why they’re racing to become one of the best airlines in 2024. Every detail, from the suite design to the entertainment options, is crafted for an unparalleled in-flight experience. Here’s a peek into what awaits you.

  • Business Class Suites: The A350-900 features 28 business class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat has aisle access and privacy with sliding doors.
  • Cabin Design: Suites are adorned with a new color palette of deep blue and wood accents.
  • Seat Configuration: Window seats are staggered for privacy, with odd-numbered seats closer to the aisle and even-numbered seats closer to the window. All seats come with sliding doors for added privacy.
  • Middle Seats: ‘Honeymoon’ seats in even-numbered rows are close together for couples, while odd-numbered rows offer more privacy for solo travelers.
  • Personal Storage: Each suite includes a wardrobe for garment storage, separate space for shoes, and a cabinet with a mirror and lamp.
  • Entertainment and Workspace: A 21-inch entertainment screen is available, along with a tray table that slides out and folds for convenience. USB-A and universal power outlets are also provided.
  • In-Flight Entertainment (IFE): The advanced IFE system high-resolution screen, offering a diverse library of movies, TV shows, and music. You’ll also receive noise-canceling headphones.
  • Lie-Flat Beds and Bedding: Seats recline into fully lie-flat beds, complemented by new bedding and amenities for a comfortable rest.
  • Lounge Area: A lounge area between business class and premium economy offers snacks and a variety of liquor.
An unmatched in-flight experience is achieved through the suite design and entertainment selections.
An unmatched in-flight experience is achieved through the suite design and entertainment selections. | Image Credit: Air India

Food & Drink in Air India Business Class

From personal experience, Air India ensures you’re well-fed, no matter the flight duration. On shorter flights of five hours or less, you’ll enjoy one major meal. For those longer hauls, between five and nine hours, expect a major and a minor meal. On flights stretching beyond nine hours, the treat is two major meals and a minor one.

As one of the best airlines to fly to India, they’ve recently revamped their in-flight menu. Onboard, you’ll enjoy a fusion of international, modern Indian, and regional Indian dishes. What’s exciting is the inclusion of healthy gourmet and vegan options.

I always find the main dishes, whether Indian or international, absolutely delicious. From mixed vegetable paratha and kadai paneer to grilled prawns in fennel cream sauce, the variety caters to all tastes.

Desserts are a high point, with options like Mango passionfruit delight or the indulgent Khajur Tukda with Kesar Phirni. If you’ve got specific dietary needs, Air India offers a wide selection of special meals, be it for religious, medical, or dietary reasons.

On international flights, the alcohol selection is impressive. Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut Champagne greets you, and the choice extends to fine wines, premium spirits, and a variety of teas. I highly recommend the masala chai. The beverage service is superb, allowing you to see and choose your drink as you dine.

Air India business class provides a large variety of customized meals.
Air India business class provides a large variety of customized meals. | Image Credit: Air India

Air India Business Class vs. Rival Products

Comparing Air India Business Class to its rivals like Etihad, IndiGo, and Vistara offers an interesting perspective on what each airline brings to the table. Having flown with each of these carriers, I’ve noticed some distinct differences and unique strengths.

Air India vs. Etihad Airways

  • Luxury Level: Etihad is renowned for its luxurious offerings. Its Business Class is often considered one of the best business class products in the world. Air India’s new Business Class, particularly on the A350, has made significant strides. However, Etihad still leads in terms of luxury and overall experience.
  • In-Flight Amenities: Etihad’s Business Class boasts “Business Studios” with direct aisle access, a dine-anytime menu, and an outstanding in-flight entertainment system. Air India’s new A350 Business Class is impressive, but Etihad offers a more refined experience.
  • Who Should Choose What: If you’re looking for top-tier luxury and don’t mind the price, Etihad is your go-to. Air India is a solid choice for those who want improved comfort and good value, especially on routes to and from India.
  • Personal Preference: I’d lean towards Etihad for a more indulgent experience, particularly on longer routes. However, Air India’s new Business Class is a strong contender for comfort and value.

IndiGo vs. Air India

  • Service Type: IndiGo is a low-cost carrier in India and doesn’t offer a traditional Business Class. Air India, being a full-service carrier, provides a more comprehensive Business Class experience.
  • Comfort and Amenities: Air India’s Business Class offers more space, enhanced meal service, and additional amenities. IndiGo, while efficient and economical, is more about no-frills travel.
  • Ideal for Whom: Budget-conscious travelers or those on shorter domestic routes might prefer IndiGo. For longer flights or if you’re seeking comfort and additional services, Air India’s Business Class is the better choice.
  • My Take: For short hops, IndiGo’s efficiency and pricing are attractive. For longer, more comfortable journeys, I’d opt for Air India’s Business Class.

Air India vs. Vistara

  • Business Class Comparison: Vistara’s Business Class is highly regarded, particularly on their international routes. Air India’s new Business Class is competitive, especially post-upgrade.
  • Service and Comfort: Both airlines offer commendable service, but Vistara’s attention to detail and modern cabins give it a slight edge.
  • Suitable For: Vistara is ideal for those seeking a refined experience on both domestic and international routes. Air India, with its extensive network, suits those looking for more route options and a revamped Business Class experience.
  • Personal Choice: It’s a close call, but Vistara’s Business Class might just edge out due to its modern approach and cabin design. However, Air India’s extensive network and improved cabins make it a very viable option.
Experience comfortable seating and luxurious journey in the sky.
Experience comfortable seating and luxurious journey in the sky.

Pros & Cons of Air India Business Class

Having flown Air India Business Class several times, I’ve noticed some clear pros and cons that might help you decide if it’s the right choice for your travels.

Pros

  • New A350 Business Class Suites: The introduction of the A350-900 has brought a significant upgrade in comfort and privacy. You’ll find suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, direct aisle access, and sliding doors for privacy.
  • Improved In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity: The new A350 features state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems with larger screens and a wide selection of content, along with USB and power outlets.
  • Enhanced Dining Experience: Air India has revamped its menu to include a wider variety of international and Indian cuisines, with an emphasis on quality and taste.
  • Extensive Network: As India’s national carrier, Air India offers a wide range of destinations.
  • Star Alliance Benefits: Being part of the Star Alliance network, passengers can enjoy the perks of a wider airline network. This includes lounge access and a streamlined points system.

Cons

  • Inconsistent Product Across Fleet: While the A350-900 represents a significant improvement, the quality of Business Class on other aircraft in the fleet can be inconsistent.
  • Service Variability: Some passengers have reported variability in service quality, which can affect the overall experience.
  • Limited Global Reach: Although Air India has a strong network within India and to several international destinations, it may not match the global reach of some other major carriers.
  • Outdated Cabins on Older Aircraft: Some of the older aircraft in the fleet are yet to be retrofitted with the new Business Class cabins.
  • Perception Issues: Air India has historically battled perception issues regarding service and quality. However, they’re actively working to overcome this with recent upgrades and rebranding efforts.

Air India Future Developments

Looking ahead, Air India is on an exciting trajectory, especially with its commitment to expanding and modernizing its fleet. As someone who keeps a close eye on aviation developments, I’m genuinely impressed by their ambitious plans. They’re on track to become one of the best airlines in the world, and frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air.

The introduction of the Boeing 737 MAX for domestic and short-haul international routes is a game-changer. It’s expected to cut fuel usage and emissions by about 20%, compared to the older models it’s replacing.

For the long haul, the Boeing 777X is set to be a jewel in Air India’s crown. It will be the largest aircraft in their fleet and the world’s largest twin-engine jet. This speaks volumes about Air India’s ambition to expand its global footprint. Alongside this, the Airbus A350, already known for its efficiency and quiet operation on long-haul routes, further solidifies their commitment to a modern, efficient fleet.

Air India’s environmental efforts go beyond just fuel-efficient aircraft. They’ve made significant strides in reducing single-use plastics onboard, achieving an impressive 80% reduction across their global network. The way they serve water in economy class has been completely revamped, eliminating 500ml plastic bottles. They’ve also switched to paper straws, wooden stirrers, and 100% compostable materials.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is the future, and India, with its resources, is all set to lead the charge. Vistara’s already on board, and I’m betting Air India won’t be far behind. As a traveler and an observer of the aviation industry, I’m excited to see how these changes will unfold and position Air India as a leader in the global aviation space.

Enjoy gourmet cuisines as you embark on your journey.
Enjoy gourmet cuisines as you embark on your journey. | Image Credit: Air India

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Air India’s New Business Class

Are you still curious about which airline is the best to fly to India? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you decide whether Air India’s business class is the right option for you.

What is business class like in Air India?

It depends on the aircraft type. The old Business Class, while functional, had a more traditional setup with angled lie-flat seats and a standard entertainment system. It was comfortable but didn’t quite hit the mark of modern luxury. In contrast, the new Business Class, particularly on the A350, is a whole different ball game. It’s a leap into contemporary luxury with suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, ensuring privacy with sliding doors and direct aisle access. The seats in the new cabins lie completely flat, a significant upgrade from the old angled ones. Plus, the in-flight entertainment system is state-of-the-art, with larger screens and more content choices.

Is business class on Air India worth it?

In my opinion, yes, Air India Business Class is worth it. The level of comfort, service, and the overall experience you get in Air India’s Business Class is definitely worth the investment, particularly for long-haul flights. It strikes a good balance between luxury and value. It’s a compelling choice for those who want to travel in comfort without the exorbitant price tag of some other airlines.

Does Air India provide pajamas in business class?

Yes, they do, and it’s quite a treat! Air India’s Business Class now offers TUMI loungewear, which is not just stylish but also sustainable. Each set of pajamas is made from recycled materials blended with cotton, offering softness and breathability. Interestingly, each set is crafted using 23 recycled plastic bottles.

Air India is among the best airlines in Asia, with luxurious seats and top-notch service.
Air India is among the best airlines in Asia, with luxurious seats and top-notch service.

Is Emirates better than Air India?

This is a tough one, as it really depends on what you value most in your travel. Emirates is famous for its opulence and state-of-the-art amenities, like private suites and an onboard bar. If you’re seeking the pinnacle of luxury and don’t mind the higher price, Emirates is one of the best airlines in the world. However, Air India’s new Business Class, especially on the A350, has made impressive strides. It offers a high level of comfort, excellent service, and a revamped dining experience, all at a more accessible price point. For those who prioritize value without compromising on comfort, Air India’s new offering is definitely worth considering.

Which seat is best in Air India business class?

In Air India’s new A350 Business Class, I’d personally go for the window seats if I’m flying solo, as they offer a great mix of privacy and views. For couples, the middle ‘honeymoon’ seats in even-numbered rows are perfect for enjoying the journey together. If you’d prefer solitude, the middle seats in odd-numbered rows provide ample space and privacy.

Air India Business Class flight for all types of travelers.
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