Skip to main content

OAK wants to add SF to its name. But our readers have more hilarious ideas

A traveler stands near a sliding door at Oakland International Airport's Terminal 1.
A traveler with luggage exits the Oakland International Airport. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

Most Bay Area residents agree that San Francisco is “the city” and Oakland is “the town.” But Oakland’s proposal to tack “San Francisco” onto its airport’s name has infuriated city leaders, who are threatening a lawsuit to protect San Francisco International Airport’s identity.  

On Thursday, the Port of Oakland Commission will vote on changing OAK’s name to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport. 

Ahead of that potentially explosive decision, we at The Standard decided to turn to the internet for suggestions for alternative names that might not get Oakland sued—and maybe come up with some more clever monikers in the process. 

A row of black seats in a terminal with a floor emblem reading "PORT OF OAKLAND" featuring a globe and airplane.
The Port of Oakland, which owns the Oakland International Airport, will vote on Thursday on a renaming plan. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

The responses ranged from affectionately derisive street slang—“Brokeland International”—to hilariously convoluted mouthfuls, like the “Raiders Airport of Las Vegas in California.”  

In fact, commentators had a field day teasing Oakland for its lack of professional sports teams in the wake of the Golden State Warriors’ move to San Francisco’s Chase Center, the NFL Raiders’ exit for Las Vegas and the Athletics’ impending move to Sin City, with a pit stop in Sacramento.   

“No Sports San Francisco Bay Area International Airport,” joked one reader, while another came up with this zinger: “The Athletics-Raiders-Warriors Departure Field.” 

Others proposed monikers mocked Oakland’s crime woes—namely, the exit of the city’s lone In-N-Out burger outpost in March, shuttered due to what the company said were repeated “break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robberies. ” 

Two commenters offered variations of “The In-&-Out Memorial Airport”—including one by Bay Area “memelord” Abraham Woodliff, who added an epitaph in all caps, “RIP TO ALL MY FALLEN BURGERS IN THE STRUGGLE.” Another said that OAK should play up a reputation for speedy flight service with the simple and pithy catchphrase, “In and out.”

Others went even darker or perhaps more sarcastic. One commentator suggested “Smash N Grab International,” while a few suggested that OAK could go by “BIP International” or “BIP City Airport”—a reference to the notorious smash-and-grab car break-in crimes that have, unfortunately, become epidemic in both Oakland and San Francisco in recent years.  

Another said OAK could simply swap out its three-letter airport code for “BIP.” Oof! 

What can we say? The internet is callous place—although we wouldn’t be doing our journalistic due diligence if we didn’t mention that car break-ins in Oakland are down to 1,300 in the first two months of 2024, from 2,327 during the same time period in 2023, and that it's San Francisco, where car break-ins are trending downward since last year, that has been dubbed “Bip City.” Still some may interpret the bip riffs as a badge of honor. “It’s become symbolic of the area and almost a point of pride,” Sarah Daly, a criminologist who studies the links between culture and crime, told The Standard last year. 

Mean jokes aside, the City of Oakland wasn’t the butt of every suggestion in The Standard’s poll. We found the tagline “Hyphy flights only” a particularly clever homage to the East Bay city’s West Coast rap contributions, while we got a giggle out of the plain but punny suggestion “Oak Tree.” 

Several commentators poked fun at OAK trying to play up its geographical proximity to San Francisco with the name change—even though the airport is 24 miles from downtown San Francisco compared with SFO’s 14-mile drive to the city’s core.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, figured a few commentators. One suggested OAK rebrand as “San Francisco International Airport Terminal 4,” while another floated the idea that you could “put a train in a tube between them”—aka BART—and simply call Oakland’s aviation hub “SFO East Terminals.” 

Some suggestions took the gag even further afield—saying that Oakland’s airport could sandwich in San Francisco with some clever wordsmithing, like “The Berkeley/Fremont Airport, featuring San Francisco,” or align itself with the state capital and go by “West Sacramento International Airport.” 

At an airport drop-off zone, people stand by signs for Alaska and Delta Air Lines; a car waits, and a security officer observes.
Travelers wait for their cars at the exit of the Oakland International Airport, also known as OAK. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

Other readers went full-on Gertrude Stein and suggested eschewing any geographic descriptors with titles like “No there airport” or “The There's No There There International Airport,” riffing on the Lost Generation poet and novelist’s famed quote about the town.    

In response to the variety of names suggested by readers, a spokesperson for OAK had this to say: 

“For every airport name, there will be lots of differing opinions. We understand and respect that,” wrote Kaley Skantz in a statement to The Standard. “Our proposed name modification is both pro-Oakland and pro-jobs. We want to boost jobs and economic activity for Oakland. OAK is located on the San Francisco Bay and current travelers know of OAK’s convenience and reliability. We want others to know that our airport is also convenient to top destinations located in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

A person checks a flight information display board at an airport, carrying a shoulder bag. Signs for Wi-Fi and REAL ID are visible.
Paul Loeffler checks on his flight status at the Oakland International Airport. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

Since the proposed name change, Southwest Airlines, Volaris and Spirit Airlines have thrown their support behind adding “San Francisco Bay” to Oakland’s airport name, beefing up the airport’s PR campaign for the rebrand.     

SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel countered that Standard reader suggestions reflected San Francisco officials’ concerns that a name change might cause more confusion and chaos for travelers to the region. “It’s clear from the comments that our concerns are widely shared,” Yakel wrote. 

But the geographic name suggestion that gave us the biggest chuckle was “EBAY,” a moniker that would situate the airport squarely in the East Bay while paying homage to Silicon Valley.  

Plus, instead of a lawsuit, maybe the Port of Oakland could get a sweet sponsorship deal with that one.    

Christina Campodonico can be reached at