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Another new British Airways route – Oakland – and Avios availability again wide open

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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.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

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.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (41)

  • ip says:

    Oh dear…. I am guessing Zykanthos on the main ba web page refers to Zakynthos/Zakinthos. Otherwise it will be a new destination that even the Greeks weren’t aware of…

  • Lady London says:

    What wonderful news. The advantage of Oakland is that starting in Oakland in a car you don’t have to go over a bridge (I forget which) that is massively congested to get anywhere, as you do from SFO. I will definitely be booking this.

    The Californians I have worked with, even when they lived in San Francisco, mostly choose to land at Oakland, or San Jose which is also less congested.

    Bit worried that BA seems to be fighting Norwegian headon on these 2 new destinations. I don’t want to fly Norwegian, as they seem to be a bit of a Ryanair on luggage charging, but I DO heartily want Norwegian to survive. If Norwegian does not survive then BA’s and other airlines’ kind-of-OK fares Transatlantic will rapidly disappear. I was there when Laker went under. I don’t want the legacy airlines to put Norwegian out of business.

    • Nick OCallaghan says:

      If you’re heading south, SFO is fine, but to go north to Marin County or Napa for example, OAK would be great as it saves bridges and travel time, but you would miss out on the Golden Gate Bridge drive however, and heading north there’s no toll…. 🙂

  • Sam G says:

    Some very keen pricing on the new shorthaul – Murcia @ 60 quid off peak / 150 quid school hols. Well worth a look

    • Kathryn says:

      This is ideal for me, my mum lives in Murcia, and I’ve been shlepping down from Alicante – which normally means getting a hire car too. Hello more holidays!!

  • Paul says:

    I have concerns about whether Alex Cruz is the right person to run BA. His minds seems looked into running a LCC. If he really wants to compete with both the LCC and the full fat airlines, investigate doing a split brand strategy like Lufthansa rather than continuing to dilute the BA brand.

    I am probably wrong and there are loads of other influences that I am not privy to but that is just my perception.

    Ok rant over

  • Frank says:

    There are good connections to Hawaii on Alaska airlines via Oakland

    • Stu R says:

      …. and flights to Hawaii out of Oakland and San Jose on Hawaiian are generally up to ½ the price of similar cash fares out of SFO!

    • Kipto says:

      Yes, flew into Oakland from Oahu, Hawaii, in August. Taxi cost $70 into central San Francisco..

  • David S says:

    There is also the new route to Lima, Peru from LGW. Haven’t got around to checking availability yet.

  • TT says:

    What do you know about SJC underperformance? Flight has been busy every time I’ve taken it apart from on its second run ever!

    • Rob says:

      BA has put it in writing that the route is underperforming, hence the quotation marks.

    • Nick OCallaghan says:

      I have only taken the LHR-SJC route once, but the flight was overbooked and I was upgraded to World Traveller Plus, perhaps a sunday in September is the exception to the rule!

  • Will says:

    What isn’t wrong with BA? I recall Oakland being like the New Jersey of San Fran – at least it has mainline rail I guess but SFO has decent connections.

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