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As one of the world's largest cities, it's easy to find a flight to or from Los Angeles, no matter where you're traveling. Shopping for the cheapest, quickest flight with all the amenities you want can feel overwhelming. With this brief guide, we'll help you find a Los Angeles flight that fits all your budget travel needs.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the fifth busiest airport in the world according to passenger volume. With nonstop flights to more than 161 cities, it's easy to find a flight between LAX and almost any other destination. The airport is a major hub for many premiere carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, Great Lakes Airlines, and US Airways Express. It is also a minor hub for Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Volaris. This level of traffic makes it easy to connect to almost any other destination in the world, including Australia, Asia, and beyond from LAX.
Travelers to Los Angeles can also fly into a number of smaller airports, including Van Nuys Airport (VNY), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), Long Beach Airport (LGB), John Wayne Airport (SNA), and Bob Hope Airport (BUR). It's certainly possible to connect to these minor airports from destinations throughout the country. It's more expensive than traveling straight to or through LAX, though, sometimes twice as much.
Los Angeles traffic is among the worst in the country, rivaling even Washington D.C. and downtown New York City. Even so, renting a car in L.A. is the best way to travel the city easily. Fortunately, car rentals at LAX are among the cheapest in the nation and travelers can expect to find daily rates as low as $20 plus tax. Almost 40 car rental companies run at or near LAX, including all the major brands like Avis, Enterprise, Thrift, and Hertz.
Although Los Angeles is a massive city, it's fairly well laid out and any mobile GPS app with live traffic updates such as Google Maps will get you where you need to go. Just be sure to avoid downtown and the immediately surrounding areas during rush hour from 7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm.
Because of the city's size, bus transportation is extremely time-consuming and often involves many transfers. While it's cheaper than renting a car, it's also very inefficient. Taxis and limousines to and from the airport are often expensive as well. The subway lines of the MetroRail operate in a very small area in the downtown core, which makes traveling long distances impossible.
Since almost every major airline flies into LAX, it's easy to reach Los Angeles from almost anywhere in the country. But choosing the right airline depends on a number of personal preferences, including price, best airport lounge, airline amenities, customer service, and more.
It's no surprise that such a large airport offers many lounge options for those looking to relax pre-flight. The newest kid on the block is the oneworld® Los Angeles Lounge, just opened in 2014. This premier lounge offers world-class amenities, including showers, a bar with coffee and specialty cocktails, a taco stand, a communal fireplace, and social as well as quiet business seating areas. Those traveling with American Airlines or US Airways may wish to visit the American Airlines Admiral Club or American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Terminal 4. Travelers from any airline are welcome to buy a day pass to either lounge for around $50.
Among frequent travelers, JetBlue is routinely ranked as one of the best, particularly with regards to passenger amenities. They guarantee that first checked bags are always free, 36 channels of live TV in every seat, more leg room than any other airline, and wifi on many flights in and out of Los Angeles. Likewise, Southwest's Los Angeles flights promise "bags fly free", as well as first-come, first-served seating, and some of the lowest airfares in the country.
Airline customer service varies widely of course, even among carries in the U.S. Virgin America is routinely ranked as one of the best airlines in the country according to the industry standard AQR rating. In 2014, more than 80% of their flights arrived on-time and they denied boarding to just 0.04 ticketed passengers per 10,000 – both better than industry averages. Southwest is again another excellent choice as, according to Forbes.com, they boast the fewest passenger complaints among American carriers.
Many travelers use the U.S. west coast as a connection to Australia, so flights from SYD (Sydney, Australia) to LAX are quite common. This route is among the longest of ultra-long-haul flights in the world, requiring almost 14 hours to complete. Just four airlines makes this trip daily, including Qantas, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Virgin Australia. During this almost 7,500 mile journey, you will have plenty of time to finish a good book or three so be sure to pack plenty of entertainment in your carry-on.
Another common route is New York (JFK and LGA airports) to Los Angeles (LAX), about 6 hours long. This cross-country route is particularly popular for those looking to escape the bitter northeast cold to California's stunning miles of beaches.
While it's a long haul, travelers also often book flights from LON (London, England) to LAX airport direct. This 5,500-mile flight requires between 11-13 hours. It's quite popular for British tourists looking to trade in the gray, humdrum UK weather for the sunny skies and mild year-round temperatures of Los Angeles.
Those interested in travel between the U.S. and Canada, take note that it's easy to find flights to Los Angeles from Toronto and vice-versa. At almost 2,200 miles, this 5-6 hour flight is relatively short but allows for a variety of connections between Canada and the American west coast. It's a worthwhile trip for Canadians seeking a reprieve from the stark winters in the north.
For those in the American south looking for a west coast getaway, it's worth shopping flights to Los Angeles from Houston's George Bush International Airport (IAH). At less than 3 hours, it's a quick flight and an easy escape that takes travelers over the scenic American Southwest, including New Mexico, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon.
Unlike many cities, there is no real low season in Los Angeles. Mild to warm weather year-round means the city is a popular travel destination no matter the season. When to visit depends entirely on the sort of traveler you are and the type of vacation you're seeking. For great beach weather, visit during the summer; for an escape from the stark cold that affects much of the rest of the country, plan a trip in winter or early spring.
During the summer months, temperatures can easily rise into the 90s (Fahrenheit). Coupled with high levels of downtown smog, travelers may wish to look into neighborhoods outside the city if planning to travel to Los Angeles June through August. Holidays and major sporting and entertainment events, such as the Emmys and Oscars, also see a sharp spike in tourism.
Winter typically offers the best deals. While the temperature rarely rises above 65 degrees (Fahrenheit), travelers should pack rain gear during January and February as these months typically see the highest rainfall.
As a destination city, there is no shortage of first-rate tourist attractions in Los Angeles, including Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Universal Studios, Disneyland, Madame Tussaud's wax museum, and the Los Angeles County museum of Art. "The Getty" museum is the best and biggest in the city, known worldwide for its architecture, stunning views of Los Angeles, and a fine arts collection that includes examples of western art from the Middle Ages through present day.
For a classic Los Angeles experience, be sure to visit Manhattan Beach at the end of Santa Monica Bay. This beautiful, upscale area just outside the city boasts some of the most beautiful beachfront property in California. The pier offers travelers an array of beach activities from fishing and surfing to golfing and volleyball.
Whatever your reason for escaping to the west coast, Los Angeles has something for every traveler. With beautiful beaches, picture-perfect California weather, world-class restaurants and museums, and some of the country's best tourist attractions, it's always a great time to visit the City of Angels.
© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.
© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.