San Francisco, the tech capital of the world, has sub-par international connections, especially for passengers traveling to Latin America, Southern Europe, India and the Middle East. Of the four BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), non-stop flights from SFO are offered only to China. Tech entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv, Bangalore, Helsinki or Santiago de Chile have been forced to rely on connections that make their trips long and tiring. But that may soon change.
Norwegian has begun to fly non-stop from Oakland International to Oslo and Stockholm on new Boeing 787-Dreamliner aircraft. Norwegian, one of the largest low-cost airlines in Europe, offers hundreds of connections from its Scandinavian hubs. Not only that, it charges lower fares than legacy airlines and boasts a separate Premium Economy class.
Two other airlines – Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi and Turkish Airlines, based in Istanbul – will begin flying non-stop from SFO to their respective hubs in late 2014 or early 2015. Etihad is known for its excellent premium class service and competes with Emirates, whose routes to India and Africa via its hub in Dubai, have been popular among travelers in Northern California.
Turkish Airlines, one of the fastest growing and highly rated European airlines, has excellent connections via Istanbul to Tel Aviv, Kathmandu and destinations in the Southern Mediterranean and Africa. Both Etihad and Turkish plan to fly the Boeing 777 on their routes, while Emirates plans to expand its capacity and use the gigantic Airbus A380 on the SFO-Dubai route (the Emirates A380 is known for its Onboard Lounges in First and Business class).
SFO still suffers from a lack of non-stop flights to key destinations like Rome, Madrid, Moscow, Rio and others. With new aircraft like the Boeing 787 and upcoming Airbus A350, Northern Californians may soon enjoy non-stop flights to these cities.