headed to delhi airport immigrationWhat’s the best way to get fly India?

Getting to India’s Indira Gandhi International airport is pretty straightforward from the United States.  Depending on where you begin your travels in the US, you can typically buy return tickets for between $1100-$1500 (economy class, as of 2014).  I generally start my search for flights on Kayak.  When I find a flight that I like, I usually go directly to their website to make the purchase (e.g.  United or Delta).  I look for two things when looking for long-haul flights:  price and total travel time. Secondarily, I look at whether we can have a long layover at a decent hour in a city we’d like to explore.

I have been traveling to India for 20 years and have been there more than 20 times; I have flown the leg from the US to Delhi more than a dozen times.  It’s a long flight, but quite manageable.  You are typically flying in nice aircraft, most often in a Boeing 777, which is quite comfortable and has an excellent entertainment system for each seat.

Unequivocally I recommend flying United Airlines via Newark—Delhi (direct).  Flying United is usually cheaper and shorter than many other options.  In addition, if you fly the direct route from Newark—Delhi you arrive earlier in the evening (about 9:20 PM) versus other airlines which land between 1 AM to 3 AM.  United also has other flight options that are sometimes less expensive (flying through Frankfurt, Germany).

You will generally begin your flight one calendar day before you are supposed to arrive in Delhi.  For example, if you depart the USA on February 15th you will arrive into Delhi on the night of February 16th OR just after midnight on February 17th.  When you are flying back to the USA from Delhi, you’ll leave very late at night and arrive in the USA the next calendar day in the early morning hours.

For our tours, we set a date that guests must arrive (the first day of the tour).  We understand that most individuals will arrive late that evening or even after midnight.  You can arrive for our tours anytime after noon on the first day of the tour–we would get you checked into the hotel and allow you to rest or help you to explore.  If, however, you arrive before the first day of the tour there will be an extra charge for your expenses that day. We will see to it that you are well taken care of, but please know we may have other business to attend to before the rest of the group arrives.

How do I get out of the airport?

Lauren has written a detailed blog with pictures about navigating out of the IGI airport in Delhi.

sun salutation statue in Delhi airportWhen should I buy my tickets?

Research done at CheapAir says that the optimum time to purchase tickets from the US to Asia is 129 days before the initial flight.  That said, they also write that purchasing tickets too early is much better than purchasing them too late.  It is also worth noting that tickets cannot be purchased before 330 days prior to your return flight.

When you’re buying a ticket for one of our tours, please communicate with us before your buy your ticket. Our RetreaTours™ have a minimum number of guests required before “launch,” and we want to make sure we have those numbers before you purchase tickets.

If you have any questions please let us know.  You may choose to break up your flight with a stop on the way to or from India (you can stop in Europe, Dubai, Singapore, etc).  We can help you plan your itinerary at no extra charge.  You can also read some of our tips on how to mitigate jet-lag for your flight.