British Airways launches flights to Portland, Oregon (with lots of Avios availability!)

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The rumours we had heard floating around this week were true.  British Airways has just announced that it is launching direct flights to Portland, Oregon in 2020.

The service will start on 1st June 2020, and is set to operate all year round. Here is the timetable:

BA299 departs Heathrow at 15:05, arrives in Portland at 16:55

BA298 departs Portland at 18:45 and arrives in London at 12:10 the following day

During the summer season (from 29th March 2020 until 25th October 2020) the flight will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. During the winter season this will reduce to four weekly flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It will depart from Heathrow Terminal 5.

The service will use a 787-8 aircraft, which British Airways often uses to open new US routes. It is BA’s smallest long haul aircraft with Club, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller.

By the time you read this flights should be bookable for cash or Avios on the BA website here, with the guaranteed two Club World seats per flight.  As this is a new route availability should be wide open – if you were planning a trip to the US west coast next Summer but had failed to get the dates you wanted, this might be your best opportunity!

Unlike some of BA’s other recent route launches to the US it faces some direct competition. Delta Air Lines already operates a flight between Portland and London during the summer season, as well as to Amsterdam all year round.

Is Portland worth visiting?

For a start, it’s worth mentioning that Portland International Airport is itself a destination thanks to the famous airport carpet!

Portland is a fantastic place to visit. I was there in 2018 and there is plenty to do. The Pacific North West is one of my favourite parts of the US (and one of the few areas I would actually consider moving to). Portland is perfectly located for beaches, wine country, gigantic forests or even ski resorts.

Portland itself is known for its trendy vibe with craft beer breweries and fun places to eat. If you like ice cream I recommend Salt & Straw, a boutiquey Portland-based ice cream shop with some funky and fantastic flavours.

To the north, just inside the Washington border is Mount St Helens, an active volcano that had a major and tragic eruption in 1980.

Just east of Portland are the famous Multnomah Falls which are worth a look despite the mass of tourists that pilgrimage there. These photos are all my own:

multnomah falls oregon

To the west is the Oregon coast with Cannon Beach and its famous Haystack rock. Further down is Pacific City with an absolutely gigantic sand dune with fantastic views of the coast.

oregon coast

If you’re driving towards Northern California you also MUST stop at Crater Lake, an old collapsed volcano caldera that is now a large lake. It offers some of the most spectacular views you will ever see in your entire life and is well worth the beautiful drive.

crater lake oregon

If you are looking to take a trip to the US next Summer I would seriously consider flying to Portland.  It is a fantastic base to start from and with wide-open availability – at least for the next few hours – you will have your choice of travel dates.

You can book on here.

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  1. Spaghetti Town says:

    After reading the whole article i noticed rhys has written it.

    I looked at the bottom picture and thought, surely that’s not rob!?

  2. Most importantly it’s a gateway to Bandon Dunes! Not as easy as flying into North Bend but does mean no United flight from SFO to Oregon. EDI-LHR-PDX 👊

    • Absolutely! If you live in the Edinburgh area though you’ve far better courses on your own door step.
      I might visit Bandon when the new course opens next year to check it out and this flight will be handy.

      • I’m a member of one of the East Lothian courses. The Bandon courses compare favourably to the best links courses I’ve played in the U.K. Apart from age you wouldn’t know you were playing in the PNW. Absolutely phenomenal resort, I can’t wait to get back in hopefully 2021.

  3. Riccatti says:

    BA surcharges for US flights are killing the fun.

    • I’ve not been interested long enough to know. But was there a time when Airmiles provided free flights the way hotels points provide free rooms.

    • Lady London says:

      Especially as BA snuck them up to skyhigh, around last quarter last year, and did not even announce it.

      We’d been waiting for a hinted devaluation all last year till then, wondering when it was coming, when British Airways snuck it in anyway by hoisting all Transatlantic taxes er… British Airways “carrier Greed” co-pay required to use your avios, without telling anyone. I think it was quite a while before anyone realised that this was in fact the devaluation.

      • @Lady London, has the increase in BA charges pushed you towards collecting other air mile currencies than Avios? For me the European RFS flights with capped taxes look like the best value but there’s precious little of those in the North – limited to a few flights out of Edinburgh and Manchester.

        • It can still be worth traveling the 3.5+ hrs to the London airports even from the regions (sadly) rather than flying from a nearby airport. Prices to some destinations I’ve looked at can run up to £400 when you include extras like hold luggage. Club Europe for Avios +£50 or even avios +£1 make for a very good saving and a better inflight experience.

        • Lady London says:

          Even the Americans value BA for RFS.
          If BA harmed RFS they would have to come up with something genuinely compensatory. Or there is really not much reason to prefer BA to collect in.

          To answer your question @Harry T : For transatlantic, yes the massive increase in “taxes” by British Airways on award bookings, has indeed made me switch collecting to another currency for flights. That currency is called “the Pound Sterling”. Anyone would be absolutely nuts to use avios transatlantic, with some of the deals for cash that have been happening. The only good reason I can see to buy your transatlantic ticket with avios is if flexibility is needed. You are seriously mathematically challenged if you will pay £400 in taxes plus a wodge of avios for a ticket that is regularly available £230-£300.

          KLM is offering nice flights from UK regions but I believe they are still pricey. The jury is out on the earn/burn ratio as and when KL/AF and Virgin share miles to earn/burn. @Shoestring has always been hopeful, but I am not. I will buy him a drink if the amount of miles needed for shorthaul award flights as and when KL/AF share with Virgin happens, is not outrageous – as is now, for KL/AF members.

          Btw: AF/KL have also been leading the way on cheap cash fares transatlantic for some while now. When BA offers these deals that keep coming up, usually it’s just following those.. LH has also been trying hard price-wise transatlantic (often, by putting you on AC flights). All of which adds up to keep your avios in your pocket on those routes.

          I had my socks knocked off about a week ago when Air Italy (formerly Meridiana) sent out an offer of 50% avios for transatlantic award routes. Taxes did not seem too high. Air Italy is also an avios airline. I looked and looked but there is still no way to transfer avios to or from Air Italy. Unlike as we can with Aer Lingus and Iberia, who also use avios. If there was a way to, I’d already be on a plane on that offer. One to watch.

      • Riccatti says:

        It came to the stage that I’ve bought a cash PE Transatlantic flight for the price cheaper than BA “taxes” on a premium econ flight!

        • Lady London says:

          Exactly. Most of my comments relate to Y /nearly PY too.

          If you’re travelling in J of course the charges are better value but even in J BA’s charges are now “pushing it” transatlantic.

          And who would do First on BA transatlantic for Avios? I only did it because Iberia messed me around cancelled the Y flight I had booked and wouldn’t give me a reliable re-route. (This was the 90k.) The only award seats left were F seats. A waste of Avios but it was Christmas and I had limited time to do the trip.

          • Often do First on Avios.

          • Lady London says:

            Depends on how many you can print I suppose.

          • For a couple it’s normally a no brainier to do first on a 2-4-1 regardless of end destination. Excl new suite, first smashes BA biz in every way. Proper lounge at LHR, seat and food/beverage on board and general ambience vs 8 across zoo. I used to live in Singapore and on SQ I agree, their biz has made first redundant and been reduced to 4 seats on most flights except a380.

  4. QueenOfTheSky says:

    This is the best news I’ve had all year! OH lives in Portland so have currently been connecting through SFO or SEA with an Alaska redemption which is a major PITA, often missing connections which cuts into our time together. Delta have been prohibitively expensive and their seasonality is annoying, not to mention their ageing 767 on this route. I cannot wait to book into CW in the 787 and arrive in style, refreshed and no stress 🙂

    • Lady London says:

      Me too. I’ve been doing the route same as you. I love AS but I hate changing in US airports. The best route I found so far was SEA then drive. I will definitely be on a flight to PDX sometime soon with British Airways, but not with avios.

      Of course let’s see what British Airways does with the route long term… There are many many routes BA has tried for a few years and dropped. And it is a Delta stronglhold. If AA is come to back up BA there, it could get interesting. But otherwise it will have to make BA a lot of money to be continued longterm.

  5. Seattle and Vancouver not too far from Portland also.

    • Lady London says:

      Btw Amtrak rail fare can be insanely cheap up and down that coast if you book far, far ahead. $25-$50 one way. Lines can run all the way SFO to yvr and in between. one train company is outrageously unreliable and late, and weather can affect the lines, so have a backup plan. Read thé reviews of each train carefully.

      If flying via Seattle there is a train stop on that main Pacific coast line just outside of Seattle that is a really short cheap Uber or Lyft ride to thé airport. Think you can hire a car very near too. Saves lots of time schlepping into SEA.

      Bolt bus to/from Portland highly regarded and lots prefer it to the train. Can be very economical. Ok even overnight apparently (as buses go). I haven’t tried it yet but will prob do soon.

      • The Coast Starlight. I did San Jose to San Diego this year on that and whatever the train after LA is called. Amtrak is an experience, but you need to be aware it’s an awfully slow way of getting anywhere. We were due into Santa Barbara at around 7PM I believe, but arrived after midnight. So my evening in Santa Barbara turned into a check-in sleep leave of no benefit whatsoever. The trains are comfortable, but typically they seem to average about 40mph. Much slower than driving or flying.

      • QueenOfTheSky says:

        Amtrak Cascades is the regular daytime service running from Portland to Seattle and Vancouver. Incredibly cheap and similar timing to the bolt bus. However, beware that it is a lottery getting a nice train, my most recent Amtrak was a filthy run down train, grimy with unbearable toilets but at $27 for a 4 hour trip I wasn’t expecting much. My first time taking that route I had a much nicer train with a national park ranger giving a talk on the local wildlife and geology as we passed through the Puget Sound! It was wonderful.
        Bolt bus is also a great economical option, very similar to the National Express. Free hold bag, comfy modern coaches with free WiFi and charge ports (US plugs only) at every seat. Friendly drivers too.
        For trips < 3 days I hire a car and shoot down I5 from Seattle (although Friday traffic can be a pain) but anything longer I'll take bolt bus or Amtrak Cascades.

  6. O/T does anyone know if BA have entirely dropped their LCY (or for that matter are they planning to swap instead to departing from any LON with services to start in spring 2020) to Granada (GRX) route?

    Me and 6 great friends had booked to go over the moved bank holiday in May to make the most of the dates and had our accommodation in Granada booked but yesterday I had a ‘flights cancelled’ email.

    I’d really rather not wait too long with the cheapest viable alternative (Easyjet to Malaga) as my instinct is that plenty of people will sit down to book their holiday flights as soon as the Xmas chaos is over and we can’t afford for the prices to jump if we will now have to fly to AGP and get a minibus rather than direct to GRX.

    Any info/suggestions very gratefully received!

    • You don’t need to worry about easyJet, if BA cancel your flight they will rebook you. They’ll offer something but if you don’t like it you can ask to change to something you prefer. Main two options are accept an alternative airport nearby (Malaga?) or fly via Madrid. I’d definitely pick the latter – it’s a really easy connection, usually very short, and if you get yourself on one of the widebodies LHRMAD it can be a very pleasant experience.

  7. Shame business is the old rubbish seating…….

  8. dicksbitd says:

    There appears to be no world traveller plus availability for redemptions in June-Sep, yet there is Club. Bit irritating as I wanted to use an Amex companion voucher + GUF.

    • The Original David says:

      The BA default is 2 x CW and 4 x WT. If you wait a bit, they’ll probably release some F and WTP at some point, but perhaps not on the dates you want!

      • QueenOfTheSky says:

        No F available on the 787-8 I’m afraid! Just CW, WT+ and WT. But a very nice aircraft all the same.

  9. Perhaps worth mentioning the zero sales tax too 🙂

    • Lady London says:

      If you have shopping to do, do not wait till Saturday. That’s when all of Washington State ,(Northern part of Portland conurbation to all the way up to and beyond Seattle) comes to Oregon to do their shopping at 10% less and it’s very busy. You will be able to move around much easier and see more and do more on a weekday.

      I quite like Beaverton for a good range of mid-range and slightly lower shops. Malls have different characters eg Tanasbourne aims to be more quirky, Washington Square slightly more upmarket with a Tesla shop etc. If you want to stay in the centre there are some good brand shops like Bose.

      You are spoiled for choice for hotels I’d like to stay in like several Kimptons, or The Nines in the main square (intersting food trucks, transport hub, and a very helpful tourist office) and lots of excellent brand shops that are hard to find in Europe in walking distance.

  10. The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.

    I enjoyed Crater Lake which was very cold and still had snow around it in June. Portland was a very quirky city which simultaneously had an interesting Rose Garden and hipster central eg Voodoo Donuts, craft breweries everywhere.

  11. It’s also possible to fly direct to Portland with Delta in the summer season, has been for a few years now. You can use your Virgin Flying Club Miles to redeem.

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