In late August, British Airways announced a new daily nonstop flight between London Heathrow and San Jose, California. The flight launches on May 4, 2016, and is also British Airways’ first US route operated by a Boeing 787-9. This route is British Airways’ fourth destination in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.
Growth at San Jose Airport has been interesting, given that this was the airport’s first transatlantic route. Meanwhile they already had existing transpacific flights, on ANA to Tokyo Narita, and Hainan to Beijing.
Anyway, it looks like British Airways will be getting some rivalry from other European carriers in San Jose, as Lufthansa has just announced that they’re launching 5x weekly flights between Frankfurt and San Jose, California, as of April 29, 2016. That’s right, Lufthansa will be launching service to San Jose before British Airways does.
Via airlineroute.net, the flight will operate with the following schedule:
LH488 Frankfurt to San Jose departing 10:40AM arriving 1:40PM
LH489 San Jose to Frankfurt departing 3:20PM arriving 11:35AM (+1 day)
At 12 hours westbound and 11hr15min eastbound, it’s quite a long flight.
The flight will be operated by a three class Airbus A340-300. Initially it will feature 30 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 221 economy class seats.
Interestingly the flight will be swapped to a Cityline A340-300 as of June 30, 2016, which features 18 business class seats, 19 premium economy seats, and 261 economy class seats. That’s the same configuration that Lufthansa flies to some of their leisure destinations, like Tampa.
That seems like an interesting choice, since I figured the San Jose flight would be going primarily after the tech industry, and therefore would be a premium-heavy route. Putting a leisure-configured aircraft on the route seems a bit backwards. I’m not sure if that’s simply a function of aircraft availability or if I’m misunderstanding the market they’re going after.
Regardless, this is a great new option for Star Alliance flyers, especially since award space can be really tough to snag on Lufthansa’s flight to Los Angeles and San Francisco (though perhaps given the limited premium cabins on this flight, it won’t be any easier here).
It’s interesting that this announcements comes just weeks after British Airways announced their service, with the flight even launching before British Airways’. While I don’t understand the aircraft choice, this is a great new addition for Star Alliance fliers in the Bay Area.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s new flight between Frankfurt and San Jose?