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British Airways is Launching Service to San Jose, CA

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British Airways has announced that it will begin new daily nonstop service from its hub at London Heathrow (LHR) to Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) beginning May 4, 2016.

The route will be San Jose’s first nonstop to London and San Jose and is aimed squarely at connecting London with the businesses of Silicon Valley. And at least there should be fewer weather delays than at nearby SFO.

The flight schedules will be as follows:

BA 279: Depart LHR 15:15, Arrive SJC 18:05
BA 278: Depart SJC 20:00, Arrive LHR 14:05

In more exciting news, British Airways will be flying a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the new route. British Airways plans to begin flying its first 787-9 to Delhi in October, though the aircraft might get a few practice flights in to Austin and Toronto before it begins its Delhi service.

BA has released a seat map for the 787-9 but no photos of the new first class.
BA has released a seat map for the 787-9 but no photos of the new first class.

The BA 787-9 will have a passenger capacity of 216 seats. The eight in first class will supposedly have a new British Airways first-class seat, though no photos have yet been released. Meanwhile, Club World (business) will have 42 seats, and there will be 39 in World Traveller Plus (economy) and 127 in World Traveller (economy). Those economy seats should also be a half-inch wider than the current standard BA seats. That’s compared to the 787-8, which has 214 seats, no first class and just 35 seats in Club World, but 25 in World Traveller Plus and 154 in World Traveller.

At different times, BA has flown its 787-8 to Austin, Calgary, Chengdu, Chennai, Hyderabad, New York, Philadelphia and Toronto, though operations change frequently and can vary seasonally. For instance, though Austin launched with a 787-8, it is now being serviced by a 777.

The London-San Jose route is a natural fit for the new aircraft and the tech-savvy crowd it will service. This fuel-efficient plane was specifically designed for longer-range routes between small- and medium-sized markets without enough demand for jumbo jets, but enough to justify creating a new route.

The San Jose Mercury-News estimates that SJC sees 10 million passengers a year, just a shade less than cross-Bay rival Oakland, and the city’s mayor, Sam Liccardo, cites demand specifically for the SJC-LHR flight at about 900,000 passengers a year, putting it right in the 787’s wheelhouse. Tickets on the new route will go on sale August 27.

Inside the British Airways Dreamliner.
Inside the British Airways Dreamliner.

London is just the latest new destination for the airport (others include Tokyo and Beijing), and the city and airport are actively courting new partners, so hopefully we’ll see even more announcements out of there in the coming months and years.

British Airways currently flies to the following cities in the US:

– Atlanta
– Austin
– Baltimore
– Boston
– Chicago
– Dallas-Ft. Worth
– Denver
– Houston
– Las Vegas
– Los Angeles
– Miami
– Newark
– New York JFK
– Orlando
– Philadelphia
– Phoenix
– San Diego
– San Francisco
– Seattle
– Tampa
– Washington Dulles

That will make San Jose the airline’s 22nd US destination – even more options to use those British Airways Avios or American Airlines miles to fly to London.

And in other London routing news, Delta announced yesterday that it plans to launch a new seasonal route from its hub in Salt Lake City to London Heathrow on May 1 2016.

The schedule will be as follows:

DL 50: Depart SLC 20:10, Arrive LHR 13:10 the next day
DL 51: Depart LHR 14:15, Arrive SLC 18:07

Looks like competition across the pond is going to get hot next summer!

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