Another new BA route – Oakland – and Avios availability again wide open

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a burst of British Airways long-haul activity.

First we had New Orleans, then we had Fort Lauderdale, and yesterday we saw the launch of a new British Airways route from London Gatwick to Oakland in California.

This is a bit of a surprise:

For a start, it is being flown from Gatwick and not Heathrow

Secondly, the new San Jose route is ‘underperforming’ so the rationale for adding more California capacity is not clear

Thirdly, this is a route – like Fort Lauderdale – which Norwegian is already happily running from Gatwick.  The new BA CEO Alex Cruz has spoken in internal staff videos about his obsession with Norwegian and their low long-haul cost base, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes sense to attack them head on.

Oakland really means ‘another San Francisco flight’

Oakland is, basically, another flight to San Francisco.  Even the British Airways press office could only find one thing to recommend doing in Oakland which is to visit the Coliseum, home of the local NFL team.

The photograph supplied by BA:

oakland British Airways

also looks a lot like San Francisco and very little like Oakland to me!  This is not surprising as San Francisco is only a 30 minute train ride or a 35 minute car ride away.  It is probably a good place to start a fly drive holiday.

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-200ER.

It will initially depart four days per week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, switching to Monday / Wednesday / Saturday in winter. It will be a three class service with no First Class.

Services start on 28th March.  All flights have been loaded with at least four economy and two Club World seats available for Avios redemptions.  If you had been thinking of California for next summer but had not found availability, you should jump in today whilst the initial wave of seats are still showing.

There were also seven new short-haul routes launched yesterday which we will cover in a couple of days.  Tallinn was the stand-out.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Understanding the Virgin Flying Club changes - Part 2, spending
Bits: more luggage on BA via a travel agent?, Qatar launching Dublin flights
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Simon Schus says:

    Also agree about it being less congested at OAK rather than SFO, though this can depend on whether it is gameday in the local area. For me, OAK is much less of a confusing drive to SFO, especially when you are coming from the North (also, one of the routes from the North through San Francisco and onto SFO has a toll – I don’t know about OAK).

    • Nick OCallaghan says:

      There are tolls on both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate bridge when heading into SF from the east bay (oakland) and from the north (marin) – therefore you can avoid these by heading over to OAK and not going through the city at all….

  2. Maybe we should think about it as a marking of Norwegian, or a shot across the bows. If BA can show Norwegian it can prevent them setting their own profitable yields at FLL & OAK, without a major impact on its MIA/SFO yields, it will make Norwegian think twice about expanding into other secondary edge-of -major-destination airports. It might even be worth the BA/AA JV suffering a loss to achieve that (though if it’s that clear cut then airports like OAK are being stupid letting BA in to destroy the economics for everyone).

  3. Nick OCallaghan says:

    Oakland International Airport is closer to downtown SF and my apartment than SFO! And with the BART train now open at Oakland airport, it definitely is another flight to San Francisco. Downtown Oakland is like a ghost town at weekends and after 5pm……

  4. How do you view the reward flight availability for Oakland on the BA site unless I am being stupid!

    • I’ve just had a play around to look for LIM flights and that’s not on the reward availability checker either…

  5. OT but if the news is correct BA have removed Qatar R class earning for TPs and Avios immediately. Calculator not showing R class as earning and no “cool off” period so not sure what will happen to existing bookings.

    • Clive, this is a very serious issue indeed. Especially for those biz travellers who can’t quite make their 600 TPs to retain silver. Very helpful for my OH BA work travel, as silver benefits v helpful at busy times. It seem peevish, almost vindictive on BA s part, as we are still,paying good money for those tickets.

  6. I can’t find Oakland (or OAK) on Reward Flight Finder (claims BA does not fly there). Am I doing something wrong?

  7. Thanks. I’ll take a look there. Chris