Norwegian Moves Two More Routes To San Francisco


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When Norwegian burst on to the scene with its low-cost transatlantic fares just a few years ago a good number of its US routes operated in and out of secondary airports adjacent to the major cities which travelers want to visit.

While the airline still offers flights to a number of such airports (Stewart airport in New York for example), a recent change of strategy has seen Norwegian move some of its flights to the primary airports in the metropolitan areas it serves.

As of March this year Norwegian shifted its London Gatwick – Ft. Lauderdale flights to Miami as well as moving its Gatwick – Oakland flight to San Francisco, and now the airline has announced that Oakland will cede yet more flights to its bigger neighbor.

From the winter 2019 season, Norwegian will move its services to Paris and Barcelona from Oakland to San Francisco and all the indicators are that this will be a permanent move.

The San Francisco – Barcelona service will launch on 28 October 2019 and will operate twice weekly on the following schedule:

DY7076 SFO 19:40 – 15:40+1day BCN (Mon)
DY7076 SFO 13:40 – 09:40+1day BCN (Fri)

DY7075 BCN 08:25 – 11:40 SFO (Wed & Sun)

The San Francisco – Paris service will launch on 30 October 2019 and will operate twice weekly on the following schedule:

DY7080 SFO 13:40 – 09:20+1 day CDG (Wed & Sun)

DY7079 CDG 15:15 – 16:40 SFO (Mon)
DY7079 CDG 09:20 – 11:40 SFO (Fri)

Based on the days these flights are operating (and the flight times) it looks as if Norwegian will be using a single Boeing 787 Dreamliner to operate both routes.

Bottom Line

How you view this news will depend on where you’re traveling to or from. If you’re a flyer for whom Oakland is the more convenient airport, then this is clearly bad news. If you’re based closer to SFO you’ll soon have more easy access to Norwegian’s low-cost deals across the Atlantic.

The biggest winners here are going to be visitors originating in Europe as the overwhelming majority will almost certainly prefer to fly into San Francisco International airport rather than Oakland airport as the majority will probably need a map to figure out where Oakland is!

Facilities at San Francisco International are also superior to those at Oakland (for example, SFO has a better choice of Priority Pass lounges) so, overall, I suspect these airport changes will be seen as a positive by most (although it can be quicker to get to some of San Francisco’s more popular areas from Oakland at certain times of day).

2 COMMENTS

  1. Former East Bay resident here – just wanted to chime in on the OAK/SFO issue. Personally, I think that OAK is superior for inbound traffic to the Bay Area (or folks leaving it), as long as those visitors are headed to downtown SF, the East Bay, or renting a car and driving elsewhere (Napa/Sonoma, Yosemite, etc). I recommend OAK for three reasons (1) OAK is not plagued by weather delays like SFO is; (2) by BART, OAK is equidistant from downtown SF from SFO; and (3) I find OAK to generally be a more pleasant and less hectic airport through which to transit – shorter security lines, easier rental car pick up/drop off, a far less congested terminal, and far easier pick up and drop off for passengers (including in Uber – you can reliably hail an Uber as you walk off the plane and meet it in the designated area without incurring a waiting charge or waiting yourself = perfect). For me, no lounge is worth arriving at the airport early for, so the availability of those facilities never played into my decision over which airport to use – at SFO, though, it certainly behooves you have access since some fog is often enough to slow arrivals to a crawl and delay flights for hours.

    For Norwegian, though, I think this move makes sense. As you point out, many people from outside of California are not aware of where OAK is and that it is a gateway to San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. That may be a marketing/educating-the-customer failure on Norwegian’s part, but all the same. However, another big factor is that SFO’s facilities for arriving international flights are far more robust than Oakland’s – I’ve heard people tell of hours-long waits in customs on arriving international flights at OAK despite the relatively small number of those flights operating at the airport. That infrastructure problem probably negates the aspects of OAK that generally make it a superior airport for many Bay Area flyers.

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