Which Los Angeles Airport Should I Fly Into? – Our Ultimate Guide to the LAX Area Airports
Ah, Los Angeles! Land of fame and fortune. But, despite how easy the tanned, jet-setting celebrities make it look, you need a lot more than a dream and a cardigan to navigate this southern California city’s many airports.
True, the addition of sunshine and balmy temperatures make any initial landing pleasant, but in terms of getting to the glamor of Rodeo Drive or the funky, free-spirited boardwalk of Venice Beach, you’ll want to be strategic with which airport you fly into.
And while we wish there was some secret, celebrity-only airport that lets you avoid the 405, the truth of the matter is your travel plans should budget a healthy amount of time for bumper-to-bumper traffic and angry Angelenos. The best you can do is plan ahead and pick a Los Angeles airport that’s most convenient to your final destination.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Located in: Westchester, which is, helpfully, west of downtown Los Angeles.
Why Choose it?: Choose the Los Angeles International Airport if you want to be anywhere near Haute hotspots like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Hollywood, or Malibu, or kid-friendly finds like Disneyland resort.
Think again if: The idea of billion-dollar renovations, traffic jams, and frantic sprinting to make a connection gives you hives.
The worst thing about the airport: Despite its size — or, actually, because of it — the LAX airport is consistently ranked one of the worst airports in the US because of long waits through security and immigration. Unsurprisingly, it’s also one of the busiest, serving 40.5 million in 2016 alone.
Best thing about the airport: If you’re lucky enough to be flying through the Tom Bradley International Terminal, you can expect a luxury shopping and dining experience, with La La Land faves like Petrossian, Chaya, and Ink. sack steps away. Also, a helpful (and sometimes adorable) Twitter feed keeps fliers informed and entertained through delays.
Distance to Hollywood: You’ll be around 25 miles away, which, in good traffic means about 40 minutes on the 405 and around $35. But be warned — Los Angeles County’s traffic is notorious for a reason.
Ontario International Airport (ONT)
Located in: San Bernardino County, to the east of Los Angeles
Why Choose it?: Choose the Ontario International Airport if your itinerary is taking you to San Bernardino, it’s attendant National Forest, or you got a killer fare here.
Think again if: You’re relying on anything but a car rental for transportation.
The worst thing about airport: It might cause turmoil for travelers hoping to go to Ontario, Canada, and not paying close enough attention.
The best thing about the airport: With a smaller, #nofilter vibe, you get what you pay for.
Distance to Hollywood: 46 miles, an hour, and a hell of a time trying to find an Uber (you’re better off with a good, old-fashioned yellow cab).
John Wayne Airport (SNA)
Located in: Orange County.
Why Choose it?: Choose John Wayne Airport if you’re headed to places like Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach, and are looking for an airport that won’t overwhelm you.
Think again if: You’re looking for a late flight. Nearby neighborhood noise restrictions shut down flight schedules early.
The worst thing about the airport: It’s in Orange County. Also, if you’re looking to fly internationally, your options are pretty much limited to Mexico and Canada.
The best thing about the airport: It’s in Orange County and convenient for many travelers living south of Los Angeles.
Distance from Hollywood: 44 miles, an hour — or more — with traffic.
Hollywood Burbank Airport (Bob Hope Airport)
Located in: Burbank, close to many film and TV studio sets.
Why Choose It?: Choose Hollywood Burbank Airport if you’re a film buff and enjoy well-placed Hollywood memorabilia while you’re sprinting to your gate (fun fact: the last scene of “Casablanca” was filmed here!) or you can’t deal with the swarming masses at LAX airport.
Think again if: Your final destination is Long Beach or Disneyland. Bob Hope airport is quite a distance from these destinations.
The worst thing about the airport: The food situation is a bit grim, with only a few overpriced options; also, the branding on the airport (is it Bob Hope? Burbank? Make up your mind!).
The best thing about the airport: Limited flights mean shorter and — dare we say — more pleasant encounters through security and less of a hustle to your gate.
Distance to Hollywood: A mere 10 miles and about 20 minutes will take you south on the 101 toward the Walk of Fame.
Long Beach Airport (LGB)
Located in: Long Beach, California.
Why Choose it?: Choose the Long Beach airport if you want to experience flying in the golden age of short lines, cheerful staff, and edible, mostly affordable airport food. This is the way many Angelenos fly if they can help it.
Think again if: You want to get out of the country — LGB has only four carriers (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue Airlines), and all of them are domestic. Still, you can fly direct to anywhere from New York City to Anchorage, Alaska.
The worst thing about the airport: Dare we say, it’s too perfect, right down to its charmingly earnest Twitter feed?
The best thing about the airport: Most fliers say you can arrive a mere hour before your flight and get through security with a smile still on your face.
Distance to Hollywood: Approximately 31 miles and a lot of traffic.
To read more about the LA area airports with CNN, click here . Overall, the best airport to fly to depends on your travel plans, goals of the trip, desired distance to Los Angeles County, and multiple other factors. Ultimately, there is no wrong answer, just the best one for you! Or, choose to fly into another southern California destination including San Bernardino, the southern bay area, San Diego, Palm Springs, and more!
If your business needs help deciding which Los Angeles airport to send your travelers to or with any other corporate travel need, let our team help! We are experts in business travel operations and are excited to partner to share our travel industry experience!