Domestic Flights in India
Travelling around India is convenient with many domestic airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways and Indigo Airlines. They all have flights coming from major airports as well fly to remote places in the country.
Flying domestically is more expensive than travelling by train, as it is the most convenient mode of transport to travel between the major cities in India, considering the huge distances between them.
- The Delhi Airport and the Mumbai Airport are the two largest airports in India.
- Air India is the flag carrier airline of India.
- At all Indian airport security lines, there is a special queue for ladies.
- Allow 1-2 hours to get to the airport from major city centers.
- If you don’t have a valid, printed e-ticket or airline confirmation email showing your itinerary, you will not be allowed in the airport.
Major Domestic Airlines
There are a handful of domestic airlines in India, but some have better services and baggage allowances than others. Many do not allow any checked baggage for free and some have very strict weight limit for carry-on baggage. Here are some domestic airlines you can choose from.
Air India is India's government-owned, full-service airline. The airline is based in Delhi and has a secondary hub in Mumbai. The airline offers flights to 84 destinations, 48 of those are domestic flights to major cities like Agra, Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur, and Mumbai, and 36 international flights to Hong Kong, China, Canada, and Australia.
This airline has well planned routes and flight schedules that flies to most destinations in India. It is reliable when it comes to baggage handling, comfortable seats, plenty of leg-room in their planes, and serves tasty meals.
Jet Airways is widely regarded as a reliable full-service airline. It has previously won many awards for quality service. In particular, the airline was known for its outstanding in-flight service, food, punctuality, and baggage handling.
Jet Airways is based in Mumbai and also has hubs in Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. The airline has international flights to Hong Kong, Belgium, Singapore and Italy, and domestic flights to Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
Indigo Airlines is considered as one of India’s best low-cost carrier; always on time offering a very good value for money. Despite keeping fares low, the airline hasn't compromised on punctuality, connectivity of flights, safety or customer service.
Indigo airlines fly to 48 destinations, 41 in India and seven international. Some international flights include Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey, and some domestic flights to Mumbai, Jaipur, and Kolkata.
Go Air is small privately-owned Mumbai based airline company that started operating in late 2005. It specializes in low fares. It operates a fleet of 21 Airbus A320 airplanes to 24 destinations in India, including to remote destinations include Leh, Srinagar, and Guwahati.
Go Air operates to a network of 28 destinations, among which 4 are international flights. They are to Thailand, Maldives, Muscat and Abu Dhabi. Of the 24 domestic destinations in India, some of them include Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, and Kolkata. They also offer flights to major cities in India including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, and Chennai.
Flights Connecting the Main Destinations
|From||To||Price||Non-stop flight time|
|Delhi||Varanasi||US$ 70||1½ h|
|Delhi||Leh||US$ 100||1 h|
|Delhi||Mumbai||US$ 70||2 h|
|Udaipur||Mumbai||US$ 80||1½ h|
|Mumbai||Kochi||US$ 60||2 h|
Delhi to Varanasi
Varanasi is considered one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and one of the holiest of the seven sacred cities in India. The city is situated on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, a major religious hub in India.
You can travel from New Delhi to Varanasi by booking a flight. The total flight time between New Delhi & Varanasi is around 1½ hours and the ticket price is approximately US$60 to US$90. You can fly with Vistara, IndiGo, SpiceJet, or Air India. There are about 8 daily flights and most flights will depart in the afternoon and evening.
Delhi to Leh
Leh, located in the Indus river valley, is at the crossroads of the old trading routes from Xinjiang, Tibet and Kashmir. It was the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh. Since opening to tourists in 1974, it has become a bustling tourist town, with large numbers of Kashmiri traders.
Flights to Leh from Delhi take about an hour and costs approximately US$100 to US$150. Vistara, GoAir, SpiceJet and Air India offer this route. There are about 8 flights per day and almost all flights depart in the morning.
Delhi to Mumbai
Mumbai, a cosmopolitan metropolis, earlier known as Bombay, is the largest city in India and the capital of Maharashtra state. It is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country, symbolized in the presence of Bollywood, the center of the globally-influential Hindi film and TV industries.
Mumbai can be easily reached from Delhi by flight. The total flight time between New Delhi and Mumbai is around 2 hours. Ticket prices range from US$60 to US$90. GoAir, Air India, Vistara, and IndiGo are some airlines that offer this route. There are about 15 flights serving this route daily and the flight times vary throughout the day.
Udaipur to Mumbai
Udaipur, also known as the "City of Lakes", is a city in Rajasthan with a stunning location, rich cultural background, and great history. Fantastical palaces, temples, havelis and countless narrow, crooked, timeless streets portray the city’s charm.
You can fly with IndiGo and AirIndia to get from Udaipur to Mumbai. The total flight time will be around 1½ hours and ticket prices range from US$80 to US$130. There are about 15 flights serving this route daily. Most flights will go in the evening, but there are some flights at noon
Mumbai to Kochi
Kochi is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula, with the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala. Kochi's culture and architecture showcase the international impact from when the British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese made the city home.
From Mumbai, you can go with GoAir, SpiceJet, IndiGo, and Air India to Kochi. The flight takes around 2 hours and will cost around US$60 to US$100. There are about 10 flights flying this route daily. Most flights go during the evening, but there are some flights in the morning and at noon.
Air fares and booking
Flying around India is fairly inexpensive. The large cities and metros are well connected by airways. Taking a flight is certainly one of the most convenient and comfortable ways to travel within India. Jet Airways and Air India are the main and long standing airlines, along with other airlines including Indigo, SpiceJet and Go Air.
Planning in advance is crucial. Booking at the right period before your travel dates, you can secure flights for a fairly lower price. However, costs increases for longer duration and distance of travel
Tickets for flights along highly frequented routes such as Delhi-Mumbai are also more expensive. If you are flying to a tourist hub during the peak season, you are likely to encounter higher fares. For peak seasons, tickets prices can vary between US$100 to US$150. For low seasons, ticket prices will be around US$50 to US$100.
Booking your domestic flights is a relatively easy process. All domestic airlines have their own booking offices in the city, as well as reservation counter at the airport. You can also book online on the airlines’ websites or through travel agents. You just need to do a bit of research before booking any flight tickets online as flights prices fluctuate all the time.
Major Airports in India
Flying in India offers a relatively quick way and convenient way to travel around the country. There are airports in almost all major cities and many of them are being upgraded. Here are some of India’s major and busiest airports.
Indira Gandhi International Airport
The Indira Gandhi International Airport is said to be the busiest airport in India. Being India’s capital city, Delhi attracts numerous visitors and tourists across the world. Delhi Airport handles 20 million passengers domestically and internationally every year. The domestic and international terminals in this airport are 3 miles apart and are connected by free transfer buses.
Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport
After the privatization of the Mumbai airport in early 2006, Mumbai airport has also gone under major renovation and upgrade. It was leased to a private operator in 2006. Mumbai is the main entry point to India and the airport handles 25 million passengers domestically and internationally every year.
Bangalore International Airport
The Bangalore airport is amongst the newer major airports in India. It is said to be the third busiest airport in India and started its operation in May 2008. The airport is a substitute for the older and much smaller Bangalore airport that was located in another suburb closer to the city center.
Chennai International Airport
Chennai is the main city in southern part of India and can be called the southern capital of India. The Chennai airport is thus the main hub for arrivals and departures in south India. It manages about 8 million passengers domestically and internationally every year. This airport operated by the Government of India.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata handles approximately 5 million passengers in a year domestically and internationally. It is now India's fastest growing airport. Like the Chennai airport, Kolkata airport is also managed and operated by the Government of India.
Getting to and from the Airport
India is a place of unexpected changes. Traffic can be bad, especially in big cities like Chennai and Mumbai, so therefore allow plenty of time to get to the airport is a must. Try to arrive 2 hours before domestic flights and 4 hours before international flights.
The time it will take to get between the major airports in India and the city centers are 1-2 hours during normal traffic. However, during peak hours, traffic can be heavily congested. It is advised that you get to the airport a few hours earlier.
The check-in counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes prior to the time of departure. It is advisable to arrive at least 2 hours before to ensure a hassle free check-in. Your hand luggage is x-rayed and stamped before check-in, and all cabin baggage must have a baggage tag as to get you through security check.
There are some specific security requirements for flights to politically or socially sensitive areas as Kashmir and Ladakh. They may prohibit cabin luggage and confiscate batteries in electronics.
Explore India with Asia Highlights
With so many beautiful destinations to choose from, flying within India Thailand can be essential. By going with Asia Highlights, we can help you plan your trip and also choose the best routes and the best flights for you so that you won’t have to worry about booking flights on your own.