October 10, 2003 -- India's no farther away than Australia. But it's one of the most difficult and expensive places on earth to get to from the US -- a distance that, up until now, was cemented by the need to stop in Europe or Asia on the way to the Subcontinent.
Starting October 18, though, Air Canada is offering a new option for travelers to India: stopping in Toronto, and then flying nonstop from there to Delhi. Air Canada's new nonstop flight will depart Toronto daily at 5:45 PM, arriving in Delhi the next day at 5:15 PM -- a 14-hour trip that leaves late enough to allow connections from all over the US, and arrives early enough to allow connections to destinations all over India.
The new flight will combine Canadian politeness and efficiency with an Indian cultural flair, featuring Indian food (if you so choose), Indian movies (no choice there), and Indian-Canadian flight attendants.
This isn't quite the fastest way to India -- depending on where you're flying from, a connection through Europe may shave an hour or so off the trip.
Air Canada's introductory fares are pretty darn good, and they're sweetening the pot with a frequent-flier deal. Fly before Nov. 30, and you'll earn enough miles on one round trip for a free flight on Air Canada to a Canadian city near your part of the US. The fares alone are good for flights through Sept. 4, 2004.
Published fares to Delhi include (roundtrip, before taxes):
- New York (LaGuardia), Newark: $1,157
- Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.: $1,185
- Minneapolis, Philadelphia: $1,195
- Boston, Chicago, Detroit: $1,200
- Miami, Portland (OR): $1,265
- Denver, LA, San Francisco, Seattle: $1,270
- Dallas, Houston: $1,300
When we checked fares on Air Canada's site, though, we found even lower fares. Flights from Philadelphia were $1,171 including all taxes and fees, flights from New York were $1,175 including all taxes and fees and flights from Dallas were $1,291 all-inclusive. Even better, these tickets are fully refundable, fully changeable, and allow up to a si- month stay. These fares are at least $100 below what we saw from other airlines when we searched travel agency sites, and sometimes they were hundreds of dollars cheaper. While you would probably be able to get a better deal on price from an ethnic consolidator, we think the flexibility and frequent-flier deal make this a compelling offer.
Book online before Oct. 13 at www.aircanada.com/specials/india_us/?frominternallink=promotions to get the promotional sale fares.
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