portola2727 wrote:x1234 wrote:Since BOM/DEL is so successful why not start SFO-BOM or EWR-BLR?
SFO-BOM/ EWR-BLR are mostly only low yield VFR traffic. SFO/EWR/ORD-DEL work because the O&D demand is very high. SFO-DEL also works because DEL is also a pretty big tech hub with connections on Air India/Vistara. For BOM, I think the next logical destinations after EWR-BOM for United to Mumbai are LAX-BOM or ORD-BOM. LAX-BOM mostly due to the film traffic between LA and Mumbai and VFR traffic. You could call it the Hollywood - Bollywood express . ORD-BOM as United could easily cash on connecting traffic from the West Coast.
It seems like you're not too familiar with the India market.... people will shell out BIG bucks to fly on a lieflat seat, even many price-conscious folks. SFO-DEL is not filled by tech, by the way – it's largely VFR since DEL is not a tech hub. J cabins on AI and UA are consistently full, solely for the reason that I pointed out earlier - there are enough people that want a flatbed to warrant a nonstop. DEL is a hot mess and no VFR traveler flying to India would subject themselves to connecting in DEL when it's much "cleaner"/more seamless (and cheaper) to connect in Europe/Middle East or even Asia and then fly onwards to arrive in your final destination.
People also questioned who would fill the back half of the plane when UA announced plans for SFO-BLR. They also don't seem to realize the immense amount of VFR traffic there is between the two cities/regions, on top of the many business travelers flying between the two.
LAX-BOM will never happen, at least not on UA. It's long and doesn't have enough premium traffic to support it IMO, so I would believe that only an Indian carrier would decide to launch it. For context, SFO-BLR is actually a couple of nautical miles *shorter* than LAX-BOM, and LAX-BOM is largely VFR. The idea of a "Hollywood-Bollywood Express" as you put it is an interesting thought, albeit quite unviable IMO. SFO-BLR has the tech traffic to warrant a nonstop, but LAX-BOM doesn't have that luxury and is probably a smaller market than SFO-BOM (perhaps someone has data for this??).
ORD/SFO-BOM are two routes that I think could be announced within the next few years. Those are markets that sorely lack nonstops despite high VFR traffic. UA would do well to boost their already-large Indian footprint.