The Best Airlines To Fly Into Mumbai, India


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Mumbai is the largest city in India and serves as its financial, commercial, and entertainment capital. It’s also one of the fastest growing cities in Asia with a population of over 21 million.

The city is a mix of old-world charm architecture, modern high rises, cultural and traditional structures, and even beach side roads. Many travelers from abroad specifically visit for the art, history, culture, food, theatre, cinema, nightlife and a lot more.

Mumbai International Airport welcomes over 51 million passengers each year and has been growing. The airport is nearing capacity so the city is constructing another airport to keep up with demand.

If you are planning a trip to Mumbai or just laying over, we will break down the best airlines to fly.

Airports Near Mumbai

Mumbai is primary served by one international airport today, located just a few kilometers from the northern part of the city.

AirportTaxi To CenterEst Taxi Price
Mumbai International Airport (BOM)10 min – 45 min$10

Even though the airport has been nearing capacity we still find it to be modern and spacious especially on arrival. We’ve departed from Mumbai on Singapore Airlines to Singapore and was impressed with how easy the aiport was for check in experience and the business class lounge. Although this might have just been a non peak time.

The new airport will be known as Navi Mumbai International Airport and will be located about 45 minutes from the city center. This will help relief congestion at the main airport and cut down on flight delays. The city is also looking at ways for better connectivity with new roads and trains soon to come.

Mumbai is known for its heavy periods of traffic so when you do arrive take this into account if you are taking a taxi from the airport. It is also highly recommended to book a ride share or go to the official taxi stand. Say no to anyone that is asking if you want a ride.

Airlines Flying To Mumbai

If you are departing from the US, there is really a single option if you want to fly direct to Mumbai. The countries flag carrier Air India is the only one that current flys nonstop and provides service to New York and San Francisco.

Air India doesn’t have the best reputation with travelers but they did just invest in an entire rebrand as well as placing one of the largest orders of new airplanes in history. The new design has already entered service which certainly helps them climb up this list.

Note, historically Delta and United also offered nonstop service from New York to Mumbai but since they are no longer being allowed in Russian airspace they have cancelled those flights.

If you are willing to stop over, there are several other airlines including Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, and more that offer service. While we always feel its better to fly direct, the experience on these other airlines might be worth the layover.

If you are departing from the US we will break down your options and where the best place to layover may be.

Airfare to Mumbai

Ticket prices to Mumbai can vary depending on season but from the US they never really are considered “cheap”. You can expect to pay $750 – $900 roundtrip in economy in off seats with peak season (Nov – December) this can go up pretty significantly to around $1,100 – $1,800.

Skyscanner Flights to Mumbai

We like using Skyscanner to find the best deal and their compare page makes it easy. There is a tool that can run a compare of various cities if you have set dates or months in mind. All you need to do is enter a timeframe for departure.

Best First Class

On this route you have a few options for first class with of course the flag carrier Air India but also Middle Eastern and European carriers. Know that, airplane seats on this route are some of the best money can buy and also some of the most luxurious.

However each ticket comes with tradeoffs (ex: layover) but we will take that into account when we rank each.

1. Air India A350 First Class

Air India A350 First Class

Air India has made a major investment in all new first class cabins on a whole fleet of new Airbus A350 planes on order.. Air India will take delivery of several new planes and are also retrofitting / renting from other airlines. Their new first class is a huge upgrade over the existing product and while a little dull on colors its certainly looks way better than their existing product. You can expect a suite like seat with a privacy door, upgraded food, and a much cleanlier cabin. While we do feel their new offering is still behind the middle east carriers, they are the only airline to fly nonstop between the US that I think is a huge advantage to putting it at #1.

Routes: Direct from San Francisco and New York.

2. Emirates First Class Airbus A380

When it comes to first-class travel, Emirates’ Airbus A380 seat is certainly up there with the best. The luxury airline really stands out in their first-class cabins, offering private suites, in seat bar, and an exclusive pass to the legendary onboard shower. Emirates offers plenty of routes via US cities to Dubai and onwards to Mumbai as it operates one of the worlds largest networks. A huge plus to this seat is its offering via Air Canada Aeroplan miles but the booking options are rare and a little expensive. There really are very few first class experiences like Emirates A380 still flying so if you get the chance to book it on this route you won’t be disappointed.

Routes: One stop via Dubai from New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and more.

3. Etihad First Class Boeing 787

Etihad First Class is truly one of the most spacious and luxury airline seats in the sky. Dubbed “The Apartment” the each passenger will receive a private suite, love seat couch, large screen TV, and the most personalized service. It’s really hard to beat the amount of luxury and space you will receive that is more akin to flying private than commercial. The reason we don’t rank this as high as Emirates is because of the lack of availability and the difficulty to book. This seat only appears on Etihad A380 and they are inconsistent when they offer it. However, if you are able to snag a business class seat you can upgrade to this for about $1,800 one way that while steep will be worth the experience.

Routes: One stop via Abu Dhabi from New York, Boston, Chicago, and more.

4. British Airways First Class Boeing 787-9

First class is not as common these days but British Airways first class on the 787-9 is easily one of the best way to fly between the US to Mumbai via London. Onboard you can expect a spacious and private suite as well as top notch food and of course great champagne. Another benefit is dedicated check in areas as well as access to the iconic Concorde Room for when you are laying over in London. The down side to this option is the taxes and fees they charge on this, especially when booking an award ticket. Expect to pay $1,500 + Avios for this seat that doesn’t come cheap when there are other options.

Routes: One stop via London from New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and more.

Best Business Class

Not all business class are made equal so if you are willing to pay a premium for comfort (or shell out some points) we’ll rank the following. Given the premium that comes with first class, business class cabins on this route can be almost as luxurious as first and easily stand above many other business class offerings around the world.

1. Air India A350 Business Class

Once again Air India is first with one of their retrofitted A350 seats. It appear this cabin is a former Aeroflot plane that Air India just quickly removed the branding off. Regardless this seat is a huge upgrade from the previous 2-3-2 layout. Again, Air India has a lot to prove with its retrofit that’s still new. We’re keeping them at the top spot having high hope they’ll achieve our expectations and the fact that they are still the only nonstop provider from the US to Mumbai.

Routes: Direct from New York and San Francisco.

2. Qatar A350 Q-Suite Business Class

Qatar Airways changed the game when they released their Q Suite business class and it’s easily the best offering on this route to Mumbai via Doha. The seats are private suites that can be combined with your partner next to you or even expanded into a 4 person quad pod. It’s hard to beat the amount of privacy and personalized service offered by Qatar Airways. What we like most about Qatar is if you are able to find saver award fare then this route will only cost you 80,000 points one way. For an experience like this that is a steal but make sure you plan to book well in advance as availability is often hard to find.

Routes: One stop via Doha from New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and more.

3. Etihad A350 Business Class

When it comes to business class, this is where Etihad has a leg up on Emirates. The carrier released an all new business class offering in a 1-2-1 configuration. We were able to fly this route on Etihad from New York to Abu Dhabi and it was one of the best flight experiences we had. Each suite has a private door and aisle access, something missing on Emirates that lacks privacy. We also like that this route is bookable via Air Canada Aeroplan and for only 88,000 points each way. Etihad still operates a few different planes on this route but even their old business class on the 787 is worth it as the best on this route.

Routes: One stop via Abu Dhabi from New York, Boston, Chicago, and more.

4. Emirates A380 Business Class

Emirates went through an entire business cabin style refresh and we’re really liking their new sleek interior. While the business class seat arrangement is still in a 2-3-2, you may end up getting stuck in a middle seat that is very unfortunate in business class. Still the Emirates offering is well above most carries with excellent food and even an onboard bar to stretch your legs at. We like that this route is bookable via Air Canada Aeroplan making it more accessible and with transit access to the business class lounge in Dubai isn’t a bad way to make the journey.

Routes: One stop via Dubai from New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and more.

4. Turkish Airlines 787-9

Turkish Airlines 787-9 features it’s newest seats configured in a 1-2-1 format. This is by far the most private business class seat you will see on Turkish Airline and tends to mimic the feeling of United Polaris 787. The only down side of this configuration is Turkish only flies it on select routes. If you are planning to head to Mumbai via Istanbul from New York you will need to look closely at the aircraft or you will be on the A330 we’ve tried many times.

Routes: One stop via Istanbul from New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and more.

5. United Airlines 767 Polaris Business Class

Although United does not fly direct anymore we do want to mentioned Polaris Business Class as the most comfortable hard product of the major US airlines to fly to Mumbai. We’ve flown it multiple times on other routes from Newark to Frankfurt and indulged in the amazing Polaris lounge prior to takeoff. United used to fly the 787 nonstop to Mumbai from New York once a day and there were plenty of premium space aboard these aircrafts. You can expect a 1-2-1 layout but still giving each seat its own aisle access but don’t count on much when it comes to United food. We’ll update once United becomes available again but for now if you want to take this flight you will need to connect in London, Frankfurt, or Switzerland and continue with a partner airline.

Best Economy Class

There usually isn’t a major difference in economy class hard product but there may be items some airlines do better than others. However, on long haul routes to Mumbai, airlines like Emirates, Etihad, and United offer Premium Economy, which is certainly a step above a standard seat. While many premium economy seats are similar, we especially like those offering comfortable seats and reasonable food to make us pick one over the other.

1. Emirates Premium Economy

In their cabin refresh, Emirates also updated their Premium Economy to appear very similar to a business class just without the full bed. The premium economy experience has each seat in a 2-3-2 format and offering extra recline making it more comfortable than standard economy. What you really get in this part of the plane is a food service similar to business without the full bed. On the plus side the upgrade from economy to premium economy is only a few $100 and in our opinion is totally worth it for overnight flights to Mumbai.

Routes: One stop via Dubai from New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and more.

2. Etihad Premium Economy

Etihad has a very similar premium economy offering to Emirates although not as up to date in our opinion. You can expect a larger seat in a 2-3-2 layout but the seats will be very close together. The food offering is also upgraded and you will certainly have better service with such a small cabin. We don’t find availability on this cabin often but it certainly beats a standard economy seat.

Routes: One stop via Abu Dhabi from New York, Boston, Chicago, and more.

3. United 767 Premium Economy

United also started offering Premium Economy on many of their long haul aircraft and is very similar to Emirates and Etihad. The good about United is they make it much easier to upgrade into with either points, cash, or plus points. If you are booked in Economy you can expect to pay about 20,000 points to upgrade to this seat or 20 plus points. In our mind its worth it especially for a red eye to get a more comfortable seat but don’t expect a great meal as United does not compare to the Middle East carriers.

4. Emirates Airlines Economy

In Emirates Airlines economy you can expect a layout of 3-3-3 and a very newly designed cabin. The main difference you will see on Emirates is the level of service that you won’t find as good on any other airline. There are also several routes to Mumbai via Dubai daily that can ensure there is a time that fits your schedule.

Routes: One stop via Dubai from New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and more.

5. Etihad Economy Class

Etihad prides itself on a very comfortable economy cabin that has seats on par with other top tier airlines. Each seat has a large IFE and large headrests making it easier to sleep in this seat. While most standard economy seats are the same across many airlines, we liked the service we have received each time on Etihad as well as it having some of the best food in the sky.

Routes: One stop via Abu Dhabi from New York, Boston, Chicago, and more.

Award Flights to Mumbai

Airline miles and credit card points are some of the best way to get a cheap if not entirely free ticket to Mumbai. If you are unfamiliar with this process read our guide on credit card points and miles.

The fastest way to get airline miles and also the biggest benefit to credit card points is the ability to transfer them to airline partners. If you are looking to increase your balance for a flight to Mumbai see the latest offers in our guide to the best credit cards for every traveler.

There are multiple airline partners that fly to Mumbai but not all are created equal. If you are planning a trip you will want to consider booking through:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: Booking options on Air India, Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish. Points can be transferred from Chase, American Express, and Capital One.
  • British / Qatar Avios: Booking options on Qatar, British, and American. Points can be transferred from Chase and American Express.
  • Etihad Miles: Booking options on Etihad. Points can be transferred from American Express, Capital One, and Citi.
  • Emirates Miles: Booking options on Emirates and United. Points can be transferred from Chase, American Express, Capital One, and Citi.
  • United Airlines MileagePlus: Booking options on United and Emirates. Points can be transferred from Chase.

While there are many more programs that offer points bookings to Mumbai, the above programs typically are the easiest and cheapest way to book.

Summary & Takeaways

Mumbai as a travel destination is one of the most popular and is only set to grow. With the expansion of the new airport we expect to see more airlines with expanded service to the city and perhaps even better seat offerings.

The biggest unknown in Mumbai’s future travel plans is how the flag carrier Air India will pan out. Their massive investment has just started and its too early to tell how well they will do and if travelers will come around to them.

Regardless, we think everyone should at least try out the flag carriers of countries and if it doesn’t work for your schedule there are plenty of options in every cabin.

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