Flying American Airlines to Delhi, India

Photo of South Indian dishes like idli and vada served on American Airlines.
Despite all the hype about India, a trip to this rapidly changing country is not for the week of heart. The terror generally begins soon after you board a plane destined for anywhere in the country. I must admit, though, that the American Airlines nonstop service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi is an exception. I had a chance to fly them recently and despite my very low expectations from airlines, I was wowed.

This is a very long flight – around 7,500 miles taking about 15 hours of flight time – and combined with the new security measures, large size of the plane, immigration and customs, and Indian people who do not believe in waiting for their turn in line, it takes a good 18-20 hours or so before you step into the airport and get out.

AA, however, makes it easy on you. The airline has structured a special menu for the Delhi flights that features Indian, Indian-inspired vegetarian and Western meal selections. Unless you like really spicy food, I recommend that you choose the western meals. In our spirit of adventure both Lorena and I made the mistake of choosing Indian meal on our outbound flight and we regretted it. But there is a lot of food on the plane so that you will never go hungry.

The airline also deserves praise for an excellent group of flight attendants, though I saw that none of them spoke any Indian languages (apparently there were a lot of passengers who did not know English). Considering the large distance, I was also pleasantly surprised that the flights arrived ahead of schedule.

Strongly recommended and a much better alternative to flying via Europe.