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Last week, Simple Flying was invited to fly Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class from New Delhi to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Now operating five times weekly, the airline is competing against flag carriers Air India and Air France, who have been operating the route for decades. However, with the youngest fleet and demand soaring, let's review the experience, from check-in to touchdown, to see how Vistara stacks up.

On the ground

Today's flight was on UK21, Vistara's 5x weekly service which departs DEL at 14:05 and arrives in Paris at 20:10, taking just under nine hours on average. Unlike Air India, Vistara doesn't overfly Russian airspace, adding a bit of time to its routing. But on this flight, I hardly minded.

I was originally booked into economy on this flight and was later offered an upgrade to business class by Vistara. The upgrade was confirmed at check-in, so I wasn't able to use the business class queues and received miles and tier points on the original fare.

Check-in and security

Vistara uses check-in row A at Delhi's IGI International Airport (DEL), at the far side of the terminal. After a quick walk from the other side, I joined the queue for premium economy thanks to Club Vistara loyalty status. There are two desks for premium economy and business class each, along with one 'priority' lane for status holders additionally.

Having arrived roughly two hours before my 14:05 departure, it was a quick wait to the front of the queue. It took a few minutes to confirm my upgrade, which was followed by a quick passport and visa swipe to confirm travel eligibility. Online check-in isn't available for anyone who requires a visa to enter France, so you will have to join the queue.

Read our review of premium economy on the Vistara Boeing 787-9 here!

Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

After a brief stop at check-in, it was onto immigration and security. Business and first class passengers on any airline have their own queue at immigration and a separate lane at security, which meant I was through in less than 10 minutes. While daytime departures have few passengers waiting, priority lanes can save a lot of time at night.

The Air India Lounge

Soon to be merged with Air India, the two Tata-owned airlines have logically begun sharing resources in Delhi. Vistara business class passengers are invited to use the Air India Lounge, located opposite the food court on the first floor of the terminal. This is a change from the last time we reviewed Vistara's business class, that time to London and deep in COVID restrictions which affected the service, when the carrier was using the Plaza Premium lounge.

Just outside an Air India Lounge.
Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

The Air India facility is an upgrade from the Plaza Premium lounge, which is always packed and has limited food choices. Flying during the day, there are few departures, so the lounge wasn't particularly crowded, and there was plenty of space to sit. However, the food and drink selection was quite underwhelming, even compared to the newly opened Encalm Lounge next door. But more on the lounge in a separate review.

Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying


My boarding pass said we would begin boarding at 13:05, a full hour before departure. In reality, boarding only opened at 13:20, despite no delays per the ground staff, and business class travelers were given a separate queue. It was a quick walk down the jetbridge from there and we were onboard in no time. Vistara uses the two-lane jet bridges, which means business class travelers have their own lane.

There was only one empty seat in the business cabin, meaning a busy flight at the end of Easter holidays. So let's head onboard.

Vistara 787-9
Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

Onboard the Dreamliner

The aircraft

My aircraft for the day was VT-TSD, Vistara's 'oldest' 787-9. This Dreamliner was delivered new in February 2020 and has been flying for just over three years now, although it did see some downtime during the pandemic. Not anymore though, this aircraft is busy flying between Delhi, Paris, and London, with an occasional domestic rotation in between.

The cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning every passenger has aisle access. While window seats don't have anyone next to them, the aisle seats alternate, with two 'honeymoon' seats closer together, and the next two separated by the center console.

Vistara 787 Seat Map
Photo: Vistara

The seat

I was seated in seat 6G on this flight, an aisle seat on the right-hand side. Vistara has opted for a darker color palette on the Dreamliner, with grey leather seats and a scarlet headrest. Waiting at the seat was a bottle of water, an amenity kit, and headphones tucked into the storage cubby. In terms of bedding, there was a pillow and blanket, but no mattress topper on this day flight.

Vistara 787 Business Class
Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

Settling into the seat, privacy is the first thing that comes to mind. From the seated position, you can't see any other passenger and vice-versa. Additionally, the soft padding along the shell means the cabin feels quieter and you can rest your head on the side during takeoff.

In front of you is the inflight entertainment (IFE) screen and a well-sized foot cubby, which I used to store the pillow, blanket, and slippers during takeoff.

Next to you are the seat controls. They are easily placed to be accidentally clicked but require a press and hold to activate any movement, preventing any sudden movements. Under the seat controls is an IFE remote with its own display, which can be useful given the screen is a bit far when you're strapped in with the car-style seatbelt during takeoff or landing (and during much of this flight due to turbulence).

Pre-departure service, menu, and amenity kit

Before departure, passengers were offered a selection of juices, freshly squeezed mango juice (aamras) or orange juice. This was followed up with the menus for the flight, which offered one full meal (lunch) and a pre-landing snack. Finally, there was a cold towel to cool off from the heat outside in Delhi. Here's a look at the menu for this flight.

The crew came by to take drink and meal orders before takeoff to ensure a speedy service once we reached cruising altitude. I used the time departure to take a look at the amenity kit made by Forest Essentials, a luxury Indian brand. It was well-stocked with lotions, lip balm, face mist, eyeshades, and socks, more than enough for this day flight.


One perk of flying Vistara over Air India is the addition of WiFi, which has become essential on all long-haul flights these days. Prices were reasonable-ish, starting at ₹222 ($2.72) for a 20MB messaging-only plan and ₹448 ($5.48) for 30MB messaging with attachments. For more data-heavy tasks, including social media, it's ₹899 ($11) for 50MB and ₹1878 ($23) for 200MB.

I opted for the last option since I had plenty of work to do. Speeds were surprisingly good, I managed to download and upload an 8MB file in a few minutes and could easily browse through emails and read articles on Simple Flying. While $23 is slightly expensive for limited data, the speeds made it a decent deal.

Vistara WiFi pricing
Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

One point to note is that Vistara only accepts internationally-issued cards to purchase WiFi, not Indian-issued ones. This is likely due to local regulations, but you can't use WiFi if your card is Indian, a fact that may have annoyed more than a few on flights.


Lunch was served an hour after takeoff, with a tablecloth placed right before, and came in two courses. I opted for the barbeque grilled chicken breast, which came with a quinoa salad and bread rolls (no garlic bread sadly). The portion size was perfect for the late afternoon time of the meal, given most would have had a bite at the lounge earlier. The chicken was well-cooked and the barbeque sauce wasn't overwhelming in flavor.

The tray was then cleared and deserts offered. I opted for the coffee cake but the crew were happy to let passengers try more than one dessert at well. The dessert was presented exceptionally and tasted great. It carries a long streak of Vistara food never missing the mark, at least in business class.

One of the more unique offerings, which I haven't seen on other carriers, was the offer of French-pressed Starbucks coffee after lunch. The Tata Group owns half of Starbucks' India arm, setting up this long-standing collaboration with the airline.

The bed

While it was a day flight, the crew opted to dim the lights after takeoff so passengers could get some sleep ahead of the arrival into Paris. As you can guess, the seat goes fully flat and the armrests on either side can be lowered (with some resistance) to create a bed. The bed is roughly 6'2" in length, more than enough room for most passengers and the footwell is large enough to sleep on your side.

The lack of a mattress pad meant the bed wasn't the softest but the seat itself was well-padded and wasn't too noticeable. The blanket and pillow were comfortable and I enjoyed a movie while lying down. On the routes Vistara operates, the longest being to London, this bed is more than adequate.

In-flight entertainment

Vistara features an 18" IFE screen at every business class seat. The screen also tilts to be viewed at any angle, a small but helpful feature when reclined. In terms of entertainment, the selection is mixed. There are four live TV channels, BBC World News, Sports24, CNBC, and CNN, so you can stay in touch with the world. The movie selection has a decent mix of new and classics but isn't the most sizeable by any extent, yet enough for any European flight.

There was a limited selection of TV shows (in English and Hindi) and even then only four episodes of each show. As someone who enjoys binge-watching shows on flights, I was a bit disappointed by the selection. But between the plenty of movies and the interactive map, I certainly wasn't short of content.

Vistara business class IFE
Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying

Pre-landing meal

Our flight had plenty of turbulence, which meant we had our seatbelts on for much of the time, and service was even suspended once. However, things settled down closer to landing and the pre-landing 'light meal' was offered. I use quotes since this was far from the usual snack airlines offer. I opted for the chicken pie, which was served with a salad and vegetable coulis. Alongside was a fruit pastry, which was nice but didn't beat the coffee cake from earlier.

The chicken pie was quite nice and practically a dinner before the 20:05 landing in Paris. The crew switched on the cabin lights almost 90 minutes before landing to serve the meal, which would have woken me up had I been sleeping. However, on this day flight most were already preparing for arrival by the time the food came, this time on one tray.

Vistara pre-landing meal
Photo: Pranjal Pande | Simple Flying


The crew on this flight were hospitable and came by to introduce themselves, although the cabin supervisor did know we were onboard so this may have affected service slightly. Nevertheless, all the cabin crew were helpful, coming by frequently to offer drinks and snacks and ask about the flight.

Vistara faced stiff competition on its European routes, and Paris is no exception. However, with a young fleet and new product, the airline has proven to be a strong choice for long-haul flights and its business class is definitely competitive.

Have you flown with Vistara in business class on its long-haul routes before? How did you enjoy the service, and how does it compare? Let us know in the comments!