BA

Bits: BA drops Oakland and moves some Vegas to Gatwick, up to 50% off LHR and European airport transfers

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News in brief:

British Airways suspends Oakland service for Winter timetable

The new British Airways service from Gatwick to Oakland on the US West Coast, which has reportedly been running with loads as low as 50 passengers, is to be cancelled for Winter 2018/9.  The last flight seems to be Saturday 20th October.

To fill the gap, three of the ten weekly services from Heathrow to Las Vegas are to be moved to Gatwick.

It is not clear at this point if Oakland will return for the Summer timetable starting in late March 2019.  Like Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale, the route was started primarily to annoy Norwegian who were operating identical services.

British Airways suspends Oakland

£29.99 one-way transfers from Heathrow to London – and earn miles!

EDIT:  Code SAVE10UK gets a further £10 off the UK fares and CHAUFFEUR10 gets a further €10 off EU fares

Sixt mydriver is an attempt by the German car rental group to get into the territory currently occupied by Uber and Blacklane.  It offers a broad range of airport chauffeur trips.

The company is offering special rates, discounted by up to 50%, for its Economy Light service (basically Uber X, eg a Toyota Prius) on public holidays in May.  And there are lots of holidays in May!

Weekend:  Thursday 26th April – Tuesday 1st May
Weekend: Thursday 3rd May – Sunday 6th May
Ascension Day: Wednesday 9th May – Sunday 13th May
Whitsunday/Pentecost: Thursday 17th May – Monday 21st May
Weekend: Thursday 24th May – Sunday 27th May
Corpus Christi: Wednesday 30th May – Sunday 3rd June

Here are the fixed one-way prices to the city centre:

Berlin to / from Tegel:  €19.99
Berlin to / from Schoenefeld: €29.99
Paris to / from CDG: €29.99
Paris to / from Orly:  €29.99
London to / from Heathrow: £29.99
London to / from London City:  £19.99
Stockholm to / from Bromma:  €29.99
Madrid to / from MAD: €19.99
Rome to / from Fiumicino:  €29.99
Rome to / from Ciampino: €19.99

You must pre-book by 15th April at the Sixt mydriver website to get these rates.  The offer is not mentioned on the home page but the price will come up when you search on a qualifying date.

You can also earn airline miles with these trips.  Click ‘Add additional information’ on the payment screen and you can enter a Virgin Atlantic, Miles & More, KrisFlyer or Asia Miles number.   With Virgin Atlantic you will earn 3 miles per €1 – details are on the Flying Club website here.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Mihai says:

    I booked the Oakland flight 3 times (once in a ridiculously low cost CW) and only got to fly it one leg, all others cancelled and moved to the SFO flight. Will miss the easy J fares.
    With San Jose and 2 SFO flights I think there was too much capacity.

    • JamesB says:

      Biggest problem might be recognition, I imagine many people in the UK don’t have a clue where Oakland is. For those who do, its reputation of being a bit rough might then becomes a problem.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Yes indeed. I think it would do a lot better if there was a San Francisco city group that contained SFO,OAK and SJC.

  2. DanTTL says:

    Having flown into Oakland in Norwegian last week, this is a blessing to any of the other users of that airport! On a Wednesday evening it took 2.5 hours to get through immigration, with only 2 of the dozen or so booths staffed for most of the time. According to the staff we were lucky not to be there on a Tuesday or Saturday when it’s “really busy”. The airport is clearly struggling to handle a relatively quick rise in passenger numbers. The terminal is a dump, very few facilities and generally shabby and dirty (do not go anywhere near the toilets). It does have a fairly decent link to the BART however, so if they sort things out it could become a real competitor to SFO. For now I would make efforts to avoid it in the future.

    • I’m not keen on BART. It might be quick and cheap but it felt a bit like taking your life in your hands….and I’ve been happily riding the tube for 40 years.

      • JamesB says:

        Used it many times at all hours including all the way to Pleasanton. Never had a problem. Last time was over 7 years ago though so I have no recent experience.

        • Intentionally Blank says:

          Ditto. There’s nothing wrong with the BART at all

          regards

          A very frequent BART user

  3. If BA had a clue about what it’s actually about it wouldn’t need to compete with Norwegian. The problem is, it try’s to compete with low cost by being low quality…….while all the time claiming to be premium.
    WT WT+ and ET are shabby products on clapped out aircraft. LGW has had the old 777 foisted on them while LHR still has many 747 cross crossing the Atlantic with tired hard products. The crew are invariably poor, the food dire and the premium products in terminal decline. That’s why people fly Norwegian and not BA.

    • The crew are NOT invariably poor that’s simply unfair. I’m with you on the other points.

      • JamesB says:

        Agree on crew, vast majority are excellent IME. BA is about carrying pax and making money, in this respect they seem far from clueless Personally feel safer on an old 772 or 744 than on a brand new 787.

        • Lumma says:

          The refurbed 747 (I think they’re the ones with the smallest economy cabin) are quite pleasant to fly on. I definitely prefer them to BA’s A380s. More modern IFE with bigger screens

        • Thought the F cabin on the 747 was lovely – but the J cabin upstairs last year was dire. Couldn’t see the screen. Nice crews on all occasions.

    • I’ve always flown BA in economy and the service from crew has always been bad. One time I got a free upgrade to WTP and they were just marginally better. I used to always fly economy in Singapore airlines and Emirates and not once was the service bad. Crew should not treat human beings better just because they bring more money. Learn BA!

      • Erm sorry…. but you do get different service depending on which level of service you choose to pay for. If what you mean is there should be a basic underlying ethos of good solid customer service, politeness and respect extended to all customers then I agree. But you do get what you pay for to an extent.

    • Terminal decline….LOL

  4. StaggerLee says:

    Grrrrr. Another route switch to Gatwick. Looks like I’ll be doing Vegas from Manchester with Virgin or Thomas Cook now.

    Why are BA giving up on Northern punters.

    • StaggerLee says:

      Ignore me I’m an idiot and didn’t read the article properly.

  5. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Given the mention of FCO and airport transfer this is an On topic, off topic comment:

    I need to get from FCO to near St Peter’s station. The train looks a faff with a bus from the airport to station and then long intervals between trains. I’ve been warned off cabs. Anyone recomend a good alternative. Thanks to this article Sixt are currently in the lead.

    • xcalx says:

      Also looking at FCO to get to Civitavecchia Port for a cruise Sixt problem is 3 x pax but only 2 cases or 5 x pax 4 cases. Not a case per pax.

    • Lumma says:

      Leonardo Express to termini station then the metro isn’t too difficult but it costs €14 one way per person and not including the metro ticket and if you’ve not been before it’s not that obvious where the metro entrance is depending on where you come out of the main station.

      It’s not clear from the article as to what is declared as the city centre but St Peters seems closer to FCO than the actual centre, so I’d recommend this deal

  6. Lumma says:

    Flights with only 50 other passengers seem like a great way to get to California. Nice new BA lounge at Gatwick and turn a set of 3 economy seats into a poor man’s club world

  7. OT: Anyone with a referral link for billhop? is it cumulative the free £250 payment or one time use?

  8. Louie says:

    I saw Stockholm and thought great as we’ve a couple of days there next month between Qatar and Norwegian. Then saw it didn’t cover Arlanda. Any suggestions for the best way between Arlanda and central Stockholm?

    • Arlanda airport express, 20 minutes from in terminal to central station, very comfy, reliable, clean, everything you’d expect from northern european infrastructure. Cheapest if you book online in advance, the earlier the better, you only need dates, not times. They send you a code you simply show to the ticket collectors.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        Thanks for the advance purchase tip. I’m going to Stockholm for the August long weekend, and you’ve just saved me some money.

        • On Thu-Sun and bank holidays they do group tickets, so 2 adults are 350 SEK one way. Kids under 12 are free.

        • Polly says:

          We just used the normal city train 30 mins into central station right in the middle of the city. Every 15 mins. Platform back to airport is at the far end of the station. Very cheap can’t remember what we paid. Just bought a ticket at the platform machine.

      • It’s also very expensive – more so than the HEX. You can pay a supplement to use the normal commuter train which works out cheaper if you are buying a travel pass etc. I think “best” is subjective but I do agree that the Arlanda express is probably easiest.

        • This was my first airport train ever on my first trip abroad back in 2000. And probably still the most expensive (even with a student ‘rabatt’ discount). It is quick and modern and perhaps worth a try if you can find a deal. If you are on budget – I would recommend Flygbussarna airport bus which is half-price of even cheaper and gives you a good window view of Stockholm’s suburbs before dropping you off at Central station.

    • The Arlanda express is quick but very crazily expensive for a twenty minute train ride.

      I regularly use the Flygbussarna coach service. Very convenient – picks up directly outside arrivals and runs every twenty minutes of so. Clean, comfortable coaches with free WiFi. Download the app to buy a ticket then just scan the QR code when you board. Cost is around under £9 each way and takes around 40 minutes or so depending on traffic. If you’re in a rush and cost is no issue then take the train, but if not, I highly recommend the Flygbussarna.

  9. Daftboy says:

    Thanks for the Sixt tip, very useful for an early AM flight on the first May bank holiday weekend, and came in at around half the price of Addison Lee (best comparison for me, as you can pre-book AddLee but not Uber)

    • Anthony says:

      I now use Sixt for all my airport transfers – you can’t really beat their prices – and they have a code SAVE10UK, which will take a further £10 off the fare. I just booked my transfers for May Bank Holiday,

  10. RussellH says:

    I would personally be sorry to see OAK go. It is actually much nearer to downtown San Francisco than SFO (too BART last year from OAK to SFO) and as a smaller airport I find that one gets through much more quickly. No trekking for miles just to find a gate.

    It is also much more convenient for anywhere north of the Bay Area – Marin / Sonoma / Napa / Mendocino etc. Picking up a hire car is easy – no real crowds.

    OAK is also very convenient for Berkeley and U Cal. Yes, Oakland has its rough bits, it is a working class town, but then San Francisco has some very rough areas too, and a major homelessness problem! And it is good to be remionded of this sort of thing occasionally.

    Jack London Square in Oakland is well worth a visit, and you have regular ferries across the bay to San Francisco if you want

    • JohnT says:

      Nice to hear – we are using LGW-OAK in September (BA 241 Club trip) as live in south east so much prefer LGW! Also found good Avios availability. Hope they don’t start running service down early!

      • JamesB says:

        To add to Russells comments, it is also very convenient for getting to Sacramento, Tahoe, and Lassen National Park if venturing further afield. Ages since I was there but Spengers fish restaurant in Berkeley used to be very good. norther California is fantastic, enjoy your stay.

  11. RussellH says:

    Apropos of Sixt mydriver; does anyopne have any experience of minicabit.com? I have an Amex offer for this, but had never heard of it before (not least because I am a taxiphobe).

    • I’ve used them six or seven times. It’s not exactly a premium service, and you sometimes have to wait for ten minutes at arrivals depending, but I’ve never had a major problem and the prices are competitive.

  12. OT: Virgin Atlantic cards are not coming today, sometime this week…

    https://twitter.com/VirginMoney/status/981117853473615873

  13. OT
    Anyone know if you can upgrade an avios booked using Lloyd’s voucher? Have a PE outbound and wondering if its worth keeping an eye on J availability. Thanks

    • JamesB says:

      Not sure I understand you fully but sounds like you already used the voucher to book WTP for WT avios? If so, just call avios if CW becomes available and ask them to change it for you to CW for WTP avios.

      • AndyR says:

        JamesB any idea if you have to pay the £35 change fee for that?

        • Polly says:

          If they allow it, yes change fee applies.

        • JamesB says:

          Yes IM E, seems to go on just about everything. I recently changed dates on a cash WTP flight that I had UUA, I was charged £150 pp and the £35 pp was applied on top of that too.

      • Thanks James
        Yeah – i have used the voucher WTP booked for WT avois. I’ll keep an eye out and hope my avios stash is sufficient should they appear.

        • JamesB says:

          I should add for clarity that when I changed a Lloyds voucher flight the agent said she would allow changes but not cancellation otherwise I would lose the voucher so take care not to fall into that trap.

  14. Andrew says:

    OT used my other half’s PRG to pay for our holiday and we want to split the Avios we got. She is in my household account for BAEC but only for the purposes of the 2-4-1 voucher we used. We were otherwise hoping to keep finances including Avios separate (I know… we’re a sweet couple…). So what are my options to end up with the Avios in my BAEC?

    – How is Amex on matching details of either Iberia or BAEC? I have both accounts. Would they pick up on me changing my name, receiving, changing my name back?
    – I understand another option used to be set up an Avios.com HHA and then dissolve it and request Avios to be apportioned as you wish. Still an option?
    – Neither of us are gold so don’t believe we can transfer for free within BAEC.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Genghis says:

      I sent (genuinely by mistake) avios from my MR account to my wife’s IB+ account (or was it the other way around) a few years ago. Went through OK. Same surname and same address. Could be worth a 1k tester?

    • The details on your BAEC account need to match your Amex or they won’t let you move Avios in. I don’t know if you can move them to Avios.com from SPG.

    • mark2 says:

      Iberia are very touchy on details. I managed to put my wife’s second name in the second last name box so cannot do transfers as name does not match Avios/BAEC.
      But they did not object a few months ago.

  15. Wivus says:

    O/T but Bits. Sorry if these have been answered a hundred times before but I have looked but cannot find:
    If you have an Amex Platinum Supplementary can you also upgrade from your own Gold to Platinum and get the bonus?
    If you have a supplementary is that part of the 6 months too or only if you are the primary holder?

    Thanks in advance

    • Genghis says:

      1) Yes. Holding a supplementary on someone else’s account and having your own accounts are completely independent
      2) No, same reason as above.

  16. Richard Saunders says:

    So if you want to fly BA Manchester to Last Vegas you’ll have to get from Heathrow to Gatwick by train or bus. BA is useless

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Use one of the 7 Heathrow flights?

    • Not necessarily – there will still be a daily flight from LHR to LAS – there are three weekly flights from LGW in addition to the LHR service.

  17. I was on the Oakland flight a couple of weeks ago, in CW, and it was 2/3 empty. I guess the demand just isn’t there.

    But the fare was a grand cheaper round-trip than the LHR-SFO flights and the CW product is exactly the same.

    I guess it was too good a value for pax to make any money for BA

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      “I guess it was too good a value for pax to make any money for BA” is a strange way of phrasing it !

      I’d go with

      “It was a grand cheaper than the flight to SFO and still PAX didn’t want to fly – hardly surprising it’s been cancelled”

    • There was an interesting comment on Flyertalk. When you search for SanFran, it does not show the Oakland flight on ba.com. This is a massive mistake.

      • Kathy says:

        Huh! So the only people finding it were the people who already knew about it.

      • @mkcol says:

        That is ridiculous given that FLL comes up when you search MIA!

      • In their defence (and there’s not much to credit BA’s IT with!) they desperately did want and try to fix this. It’s an Amadeus issue with the two airports not being coded with an IATA city, and as no other airline had a problem with it the bill would have fallen entirely on BA. And when the GDSs are involved, these bills are astronomical. Believe it or not, BA management was as frustrated as everyone with this.

        • Roger says:

          Is there similar issue with JKT (actually CGK), tried to use it on Amex Trave and wouldnt take it!

  18. completely OT: but need two BA flights to make it to silver. Am i correct in thinking that a return HBO flight will do the trick? I am just trying to confirm that HBO fares count towards the qualifying flights. Thanks

    • They do – just make sure they give you enough TPs IF you still need them. I got caught out this year – HBO to Stockholm was 5TPs not 10 etc. but yes they count as one of the 4 necessary flights.

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