AI282 to Dallas, now boarding…

One of the seminal “growing up ABCD” collective memories was the torturous trip back to India (during school vacations only!) to visit the relatives. I so vividly remember the lines, the waiting, the baggage weight limit horrors, bumped passengers, horrible food, non-existant customer service, ugh, basically everything.

One can only imagine what went through those bomb sniffing dogs minds as they encountered an aunty’s suitcase laden with 101 masala’s, spices, and vege’s.

Well, times might be a changing — US ready to open its skies to any Indian airline.

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31: Building on its idea of an open-skies agreement with India, the United States has provided a detailed proposal listing far-reaching features of such an agreement, the first of its kind being considered by India. At present, none of the US airlines has direct flights to India, barring one which operates to Mumbai. In contrast: Daily, there are are 20 non-stop services to China, 13 to South Korea and an average of 51 to Japan.

The US govt official apparently has a stake in the matter – he’s desi! –

…US Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation Karan Bhatia

The upside for us? Better service and lower fares –

The existing agreement allows only designated carriers to specific points. While Indian carriers can touch New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, US airlines can only operate to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. …

The US has argued that an open-skies agreement will also bring down air fares. While the distance between Washington DC and New Delhi is close to that from Washington DC to Seoul, the air fare to New Delhi is almost double that to Seoul. The US believes this is largely because of the open skies agreement it has with South Korea.

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