Flying into India


India is well served by international airlines and has an excellent range of budget domestic flights. The country has four main gateways for international flights: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. A number of other cities, however, such as Hyderabad, Cochin, Kolkata, Lucknow, Amritsar, Thiruvananthapuram and Kunnar, also serve international carriers.

Most visitors fly into India, but that’s not the only way to get there. There are overland routes from countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The average plane ticket price to get there is US$ 700. You can fly into one city and out of another for a similar cost.

Quick Facts

  • If you plan to visit Rajasthan, Varanasi, or travel to the Himalayas, Delhi is the best city to fly to.
  • The peak season for going to India is June and July.
  • Air India is regarded as the most reputable government airline in India.
  • The total flight duration from the United States to India is around 17 hours.
  • Some airports in India charge you for trolleys.

Flying to India

Most visitors fly into India. International flights arrive in the capital New Delhi or in Mumbai. International visitors can also fly into Amritsar, Guwahati or Bangalore. As India is so big, many people who wish to travel within the country also take internal flights. India’s national carrier is Air India and also Indian Airlines.

Visitors will most likely fly into Mumbai or Delhi, as that is where many well-priced international flights arrive. They can start their trip from there, or interconnect from wherever they want to start. Major carriers include Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, AirAsia, GoAir, and Vistara.

Flying from North America

Some premium airlines offer nonstop flights between the USA and India. At present, nonstop USA to India airlines operate on seven routes, including two by United Airlines and five by Air India. Usually, nonstop flights cost more than direct flights and connecting flights.

Most of the nonstop US to India flights last between 14 to 17 hours, which is almost 10 hours shorter than connecting flights. Convenient baggage handling, simple itineraries, and less jetlag are a few of the advantages of traveling to India on nonstop flights from the USA.

Airlines that serve flights from the USA to India include Air India, United, Emirates, Air Canada, Aeroflot, British Airways, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, and American Airlines. Return ticket prices range from US$ 900 to US$ 1100.

Flying from Europe

Flight prices differ throughout the year. Depending on the country and airport in Europe you are going from, prices may vary from month to month. The distance from India to Europe is about 8874 km or 5514 miles, and the typical flight between India to Europe lasts about 11 hours.

Airlines with flights from countries in Europe include Ukraine International, British Airways, Air India, Air France, Jet Airways, and also Oman Air. The average ticket prices in countries all around Europe are around US$ 900 to US$ 1100 for a return journey.

Flying from England

The best place in England for getting to India is London. The nearest airport in London is London Heathrow and the nearest airport in Mumbai is Chhatrapati Shivaji International. The distance between the two cities is approximately 7,220 kilometers.

Airlines departing from London and arriving at Chhatrapati Shivaji International include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Jet Airways, and also Air India Limited. Non-stop flight time from London to Mumbai is around 9 hours 15 minutes. Some airlines, however, may take as long as 35 hours based on the stopover destinations and waiting durations.

Connecting flights and direct flights with stopovers take a longer time than non-stop flights. In such cases, flight times from London to Mumbai depend on the layover destinations. Return ticket prices average around US$ 900 to US$1100.

Flying from Australia and New Zealand

There are currently no flights from Australia to India, but Delhi has non-stop flights to Australia. You are recommended to fly from Sydney. The nearest airport to New Delhi is Indira Gandhi International Airport and the distance is approximately 10,440 kilometers.

It is advisable to opt for Qantas Airways, as they offer affordable Australian flights. Otherwise, Air India and Alliance Air have regular flights to Australia from the major cities of India. Other Australian international airports include Adelaide Airport, Brisbane Airport, Cairns Airport, Darwin International Airport, Gold Coast Airport, and Perth Airport.

The total flight time from Australia to India is around 10 hours. The ticket prices vary depending on the airline you are taking and the city you are flying from. If you are going from Sydney, the average price will be around US$ 800. If you are flying from Melbourne, the average price will be US$ 600.

There are regular flights to New Zealand from almost all major cities in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai. While there are no direct flights from India, there are many flights all throughout the day to various cities in New Zealand with stop-overs at places like Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Sydney.

There is an abundance of options to choose from, given that a range of airlines like Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Cathay Airlines, Thai Airlines, Air New Zealand and Air Asia serve this route.

The total flight duration from New Zealand to India is around 15 hours. Some airlines, however, could take as long as 39 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration. The average return ticket prices are around US$ 1300.

Air Fares and Booking

Planning in advance is crucial. Depending on the airline you go with and the country you fly from, the ticket price will greatly vary. Costs increase with increasing duration and distance of travel, and tickets for flights along highly-frequented routes such as Delhi-Mumbai are more expensive.

Fares are generally lower between April to May and September to October. They are slightly higher between June and July and in December, since this is the peak season. Even at peak seasons, when India is swarming with tourists, some travelers choose to visit the country.

If you are going with American Airlines, the average ticket price will be US$ 1000. If you are going with Air France, the average ticket price will be US$ 1500. If you are going with Air China, the average ticket price will be US$ 800.

On Arrival

The first place you will go to is immigration. You are required to fill in an 'Arrival Card' for immigration/customs clearance. This must be presented to the immigration officer. Make sure the immigration officer has stamped your passport with an arrival stamp before leaving the immigration counter. This will help avoid problems later when you are leaving India.

Luggage carts are available at the airport free of charge. On some occasions no carts are available due to the volume of passengers at the terminal. If you wait for a short time, however, carts are intermittently brought in from outside.

Currency exchange counters are available at the airports. When exchanging foreign currency for Indian rupees, keep the exchange receipt, for this can help you to reconvert unspent Indian rupees back to your original currency when you leave.

India’s Four Main International Airports

Major airports in India offer both domestic and overseas flights. They include the Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi, the Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport of Mumbai, the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata, and the Chennai International Airport of Chennai.

Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi

Delhi Airport, also known as Indira Gandhi International Airport, is the only airport serving the city of New Delhi. Named after the former prime minister, Delhi’s airport is one of the major international air transport hubs for northern India. Airlines operating in this airport include American Airlines, Air China, Air Canada, and Air France.

Facilities at the airport include 55 new immigration counters, including 10 new counters for passengers with e-visas, a luggage storage facility for both domestic and international passengers, free wireless Internet in all terminals, and money exchange counters and ATMs inside the terminals.

Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport of Mumbai

Mumbai has only one airport, the Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport. Previously, it was known as Sahar International Airport. It is the second busiest airport in India after Delhi Airport. It supports flights coming from Indonesia, China, USA, Singapore, Japan, and England, as well as Saudi Arabia.

The airport has some other good facilities such as free wireless Internet in both domestic and international terminals, money exchange counters and ATMs inside the terminals, and postal services at the arrivals halls of Terminals 2 and 1A, and departures area of Terminal 1B.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata is India's fifth busiest airport and handles 19 million passengers domestically and internationally per year. Previously named Dum Dum Airport, the newly-named Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport was named in honor of an Indian independence movement leader.

Major airlines going through the airport include Air India and Jet Airways.

Chennai International Airport

Chennai International Airport serves the Indian city of Chennai, being the fourth busiest airport in India after Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. It's in the process of being modernized and redeveloped.

As part of this redevelopment, new domestic and international terminals were built and opened in 2013, and the secondary runway was extended.

Explore India with Asia Highlights

Flying in India offers a relatively quick and convenient way of traveling around the country. There are airports in almost all major cities and many are being upgraded. With the sheer size of these airports, one can easily get lost. Go with Asia Highlights and you won’t have to worry about any problems during your tour in India.

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