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Oak&About February Long Weekends & Getaways
That Extra Day

February is an excellent month for a lot of reasons. 

Romance, long weekends, and this year’s bonus Leap Day! To be honest, it’s one of our favs. 

This month we looked for places to go that would maximize that extra day off so that you’re spending more time relaxing and less time traveling. We picked two spots that are famous for romantic R&Rs, beaches, fun outdoor activities, and amazing dining. 

SAN DIEGO — This all-around great city boasts amazing coastal neighborhoods and a vibrant downtown area. There are heaps of places to stay, including hotels and resorts, bed and breakfasts, rentals, and campgrounds. Our big pick is Hotel del Coronado for its seaside locale, access to marvelous dining, and fantastic amenities. Check out February’s Winter Waters Sustainable Dinner with Chef JoJo Ruiz on February 24th for a special happening. Southwest Airlines flies nonstop from OAK to San Diego up to 11 times daily and, remember, when you fly Southwest “bags fly free.” Tickets only at

SANTA BARBARA — Always a great pick for something closer to the East Bay. Contour Airlines has great flights to one of California’s beachside gems where you can dive in the ocean, spend an afternoon wine tasting, or relax in a luxurious spa. There are many great wineries in the area that deserve your attention. Our pick in Santa Barbara for a seaside locale, some spa time and the perfect romantic getaway is the Ritz Carlton Bacara Resort.

We look forward to seeing where you go. When you Fly The East Bay Way, snap some photos and use the hashtag #OAKvacation to let us know!


Seattle the “Emerald City” is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and the perfect place to discover new things.

Art Galleries, Concerts and Shopping galore!

Record stores your jam? Check out Everyday Music in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. And don't miss the best wineries in the Pacific Northwest in Woodinville, just a 30-minute drive from Seattle.

Or if you’d prefer to hunker down and explore downtown, Seattle core boasts Pike Place Market, Tankard & Tun, and Showbox for a night of music. On your way there, make an addition to The Gum Wall if you’re in that type of mood. JSX flies into Boeing Field, while Southwest and Alaska fly into Seattle-Tacoma.

Alaska Airlines

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Alaska Airlines flying into OAK. Together with their sister carrier Horizon, its been a great 35 year run. The company has grown from serving the Pacific Northwest to flights to Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. Alaska now offers up to seven daily flights to six destinations out of OAK.

Alaska also just celebrated their 10th anniversary of flying between Hawaii and OAK. They offer great morning nonstops that get you to the beach on-time to all four major Hawaiian Islands; Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Island of Hawaii. True to Alaska's original roots, there are routes between OAK and Seattle and Portland, too.

Based out of Seattle, Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, has a long history of service and growth. Considered the fifth largest airline in the United States, Alaska has been rated the best airline for customer service by J.D. Power and Associates for more than a decade.

Ever wondered about the Eskimo on the tail of Alaska’s airliners? The Eskimo first appeared in 1972, when Alaska adopted a four-logo paint scheme — a totem pole, to represent the native culture of Southeast Alaska; a gold miner, to represent the booming gold rush days in Alaska; Russian spires, to represent early Russian heritage in the state of Alaska; and a native Alaskan adorned in a traditional qulittaq (parka with ruff) to represent the Arctic region and its people. Indigenous Alaskans in the Arctic, traditionally of Inupiat or Yupik descent, commonly refer to themselves as Eskimo. These four liveries adorned Alaska’s jets from 1972 until 1976, when the company adopted the Eskimo tail fleet-wide and it has been there ever since.

And whose face is it? Well, experts don’t agree. Is the face based on Chester Seveck, who used to greet incoming flights from the airlines with his wife? Or it is Oliver Amouak, an Inupiat who worked for Alaska — starting in the 1950s — in a traveling show called, "It's Alaska!" There may never be one answer about who actually smiles from the tail of each flight as it leaves the gate but the smile is always there along with Alaska’s reputation for excellent service that celebrates their long and rich history. Learn more about Alaska Airlines here.

Alaska Airlines History
Bryant Francis
Bryant Francis

Bryant Francis took the helm of the Oakland International Airport just about four years ago with 20 years of industry experience. “I’ve always been drawn to travel,” he says. “It started with trips our family would take from Pennsylvania down south, getting on board those Delta flights in the wee hours of the morning. I fell in love with the whole wonder of flight and the environment of airports.”

Q: Things have changed a lot at OAK since you’ve been here.

A: We’ve made quite a bit of progress in many areas of our business, improvements to our facilities, and enhancing the customer experience. We’ve enjoyed significant growth in terms of increasing daily flights and nonstop destinations serviced. While the pace of that growth has slowed temporarily, I firmly believe the future is very bright as it relates to the potential for Oakland International going forward.

Q: What does “customer experience” mean to you?

A: It’s how people feel when they’re using our facility, the types of services and amenities that we have for them. We want them to feel welcomed, to be comfortable, to feel at ease, and for the stress to fall away when they walk through the door.

Q: What changes can visitors expect to see in 2020?

A: This is going to be a big year. The most exciting for me is the completely re-imagined food and beverage program that will be taking place throughout the year. There’s going to be a very heavy local flair with multiple local restaurateurs being represented among the fleet of new brands. We’re also adding all-new seating to the boarding gates in Terminal Two and at some gates in Terminal One. We’re continuing restroom renovations, and that will last a couple of years, as you can imagine.

Q: Being new-ish to Oakland, what have you discovered about our fair city?

A: So much. I love walking Lake Merritt. To me, that is quintessential Oakland. I like taking friends and family there when they visit because I think that’s such an asset for Oakland and the East Bay. I’ve found a couple of restaurants in the East Bay that I love. Trabocco Kitchen in Alameda, Farmhouse Kitchen in Jack London Square, and Spices 3 in downtown Oakland. But, walking Lake Merritt. I have to get those steps in!


Did you see the big news that Spirit Airlines is launching the only Oakland to Fort Lauderdale nonstop on April 1st? Yeah, no foolin’... And Southwest is now offering six daily flights from OAK to Kailua-Kona... Yes, those are hammers in Terminal 2. Construction is underway in The Hangar, a new dining venue that will feature offerings from Brown Sugar Counter, Red Bay Coffee, and Drake’s Dealership. There will also be more natural sunlight and a real fireplace to sit by on those chilly mornings. We’re looking at a summer opening. Stay tuned... Big update about the Frequent Parker Parking Rewards Program — get your “One Free Day” coupon via email and get tripping. Click here for more information!

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Dominica Rice-Cisneros laughs when thinking about bringing her brand of fresh, home-style Mexican food to OAK. “Everybody complains about airport and airplane food. I’m excited to be part of changing that at the Oakland airport. I’ve been through airports in Germany and Italy, where they have all these local bakeries and restaurants there that represent their cultures. I want to bring that to Oakland, but with tacos and corn tortillas.”

Q: Fantastic. So, are you going to be able to offer the full Cosecha menu?

A: We’re finalizing the kitchen right now, and we hope that we can do the full menu. Our focus will definitely include Cosecha’s famous grab-and-go Citrus Salad and, of course, homemade tortillas and tacos. We have customers that come into our restaurant in downtown Oakland for tacos and then take a salad with them for their flights.

Q: Sounds like you know what OAK travelers are looking for!

A: I’m always at that airport. I try to book all my travel through there if I’m going to L.A. or Mexico or Europe. So, I feel like I’m the target audience! Then I think about my kid and what my kid is looking for. We’re looking for something fresh, something clean and not too heavy. That’s the cooking we do at the restaurant already, so we’re ready.

Arley Cornell

Arley Cornell, the Oakland-based artist behind the fun illustrations in our newsletter, picks up the phone at the end of a walk with Millie, a Labrador retriever he and his wife Claire just adopted from a local shelter.

A: Sorry, Millie needs to lose a few pounds, so we’re walking a lot during the day. The placard on the window at the shelter said it was her New Year’s Resolution. (laughs)

Q: No worries! You’re new to the East Bay. What do you like about the area?

A: Right. Claire and I moved up here from San Diego three years ago. We’re spending a lot of time hiking and heading up to the mountains to backpack and camp.

Q: How did you get into illustration?

A: I started drawing when I was very young and then found my way into graphic design, character illustration, and animation. I found a nice little niche doing characters and motion graphics animations. I’ve done a fair amount of work for companies and nonprofits like charity: water, International Justice Mission, and One Tree Planted.

Q: What’s your style?

A: I would say that I work on design-forward character illustrations and animations. A lot of times, it is playful and communicative and approachable.

Check out more of Arley’s work at his website Gnarly Arley.

Gnarley Arley Cornell Illustration
1 Airport Dr
Oakland, CA 94621
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