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Airports in California

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Overview

One of the busiest airports in the US and the world, Los Angeles International Airport (locally referred to by its call letters, LAX) is a mammoth facility that processes 60 million passengers each year on 600,000 flights.

Located 16 miles (26km) southwest of downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport has nine terminal buildings. The sheer size and capacity of the facility makes it a bit confusing, and long queues are a common occurrence in peak times. Passengers should allow plenty of time when making connections or clearing customs, and extra time can easily be whiled away with a meal at California Pizza Kitchen, or browsing the dozens of shops selling Hollywood souvenirs and other products.

Flights to Los Angeles International Airport come from all over the world, including major destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Location

The airport is situated 16 miles (26km) southwest of Los Angeles.

Getting to the city

A free shuttle bus service runs to the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station from the lower level of each terminal. Another shuttle connects to the Bus Center, from where city buses serve the Los Angeles area. Prime Time Shuttle and Super Shuttle are both shared-ride van services; reservations are recommended. Some hotels also offer transport.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 310 646 5252.

see full airport guide


San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Overview

Just a short drive from San Francisco's downtown area, San Francisco International Airport is the California's second busiest airport and the largest airport in the Bay Area.

With four terminals, friendly staff, a museum, library and wide selection of dining and shopping facilities, San Francisco International Airport is the perfect gateway to the Bay Area.

Location

The airport is situated 14 miles (23km) south of San Francisco.

Getting to the city

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Rapid Rail service connects the airport to the city centre, and provides a connection to the Caltrain commuter rail service at Milbrae Station, from where trains leave regularly to downtown San Francisco and San Jose. SamTrans Service, bus 292, leaves every 30 minutes for the city centre and suburbs. There are also shared vans, which provide a door-to-door service and are cheaper than taxis. Reservations are sometimes needed for service after 11pm.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 800 435 9736.

see full airport guide


San Diego Lindbergh Field Airport (SAN)

Overview

San Diego International Airport is often referred to as Lindbergh Field. It is situated a quick drive from downtown. As it is located in a suburban area, departures are only allowed between 6.30am and 11.30pm.

The three terminals at San Diego International are well-equipped with a range of amenities. They are also easy to navigate and despite having only one runway, the airport is quite capable of handling its 18 million passengers each year.

Location

The airport is situated three miles (5km) northwest of San Diego.

Getting to the city

Amtrak and Coaster community train services connect San Diego International Airport to the city centre as well as neighbouring cities. Public bus Flyer Service number 992 leaves the airport for the city centre every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends between 5am and 11:30pm, and regular fare costs $2.25, with concessions available. It goes directly to the airport, and also connects with train services. A host of shuttle and taxi companies are available for rides into downtown; shared shuttle vans offer door-to-door services and are usually a cheaper alternative to taxis.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 619 400 2404.

see full airport guide


Bob Hope Airport (BUR)

Overview

Originally built as Angeles Mesa Drive Airport in 1928, Bob Hope Airport (BUR) had a dozen different names before 2003 (including Hollywood-Burbank Airport and Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport) - before, finally, it was named after the famous comedian. Serving the greater Los Angeles area, including Glendale and the San Fernando Valley, the airport is actually closer to famous attractions like Hollywood and Griffiths Park than Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is, and offers far shorter queues and generally less hassle than the gigantic Los Angeles International. As small and personal as the other is big and sprawling, Bob Hope Airport is a great alternative for avoiding the congestion at the giant LAX; and with direct rail connections to downtown Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego, nothing could be more convenient. The only catch is that flights to Bob Hope Airport are only available from western US states and New York, and sometimes can be a little pricier than flights into Los Angeles International. If you have some time to kill at the airport, check out the Lockheed Stealth Aircraft exhibition in the departures terminal.

Location

The airport is situated three miles (5km) from Burbank and 12 miles (20km) north of Los Angeles.

Getting to the city

The Metrolink and the train station are linked to the main terminal by a free shuttle service, which leaves from in front of the terminal building. The airport is also on the MTA and Burbank Bus routes, which go to Burbank as well as downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. Taxis are available in front of the airport and car hire counters are located in the Regional Intermodal Transportation Centre.

Time

GMT -8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 818 840 8840.

see full airport guide


Oakland International Airport (OAK)

Overview

Oakland International Airport (OAK) is 4.6 miles (7.4km) from the city centre of Oakland, California, and one of three airports serving the San Francisco Bay area. Although not as popular with tourists as nearby San Francisco or San Juan, oak tree-lined Oakland has an interesting, diverse mix of cultures, with over 100 languages spoken across its distinct suburbs.

Popular with low-cost carriers, the airport saw a boom at the end of the last decade and is currently undergoing a much needed multi-million dollar upgrade to its two terminals. There are flights to Oakland International Airport mainly from destinations across the US, with the busiest routes those to major Californian cities as well as Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Portland. Terminal 2 is used exclusively by Southwest Airlines, with Terminal 1 used by all other airlines.

Location

The airport is situated five miles (8km) south of downtown Oakland, in Alameda County, California.

Getting to the city

The BART subway network links the airport to Oakland and San Francisco from the Coliseum/Oakland International Airport Station. A shuttle train links the station to the airport every 10 minutes. AC Transit bus lines 73, 805 and 58 connect to the Amtrak railway station and Jack London Square. From Jack London Square it is possible to link to the Alameda/Oakland ferry, which provides services to San Francisco's ferry terminal. Local bus fare is $2.10 for adults and $1.05 for children, with concessions available.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 510 563 3300.

see full airport guide


Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)

Overview

Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport, known locally as simple San José International Airport, is a busy facility located 2.5 miles (4km) northwest of central San Jose. Home to Silicon Valley, San José is less a tourist destination and more of a business travel hub; the airport is also conveniently situated as an alternative to airports in Oakland and San Francisco, both 35 miles (56km) away.

Previously known for its poor facilities, San José International Airport opened a new terminal in 2010 that is earning rave reviews from passengers for its smooth processing and good facilities.

Flights to San José International Airport come in from destinations all over North America, including cities like Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Denver, Houston, Honolulu, Portland, San Jose de Cabo, Guadalajara, and Phoenix.

Location

The airport is located two miles (3km) north of central San José.

Getting to the city

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) operates a special Free Airport Flyer service, on route 10, that links the airport to the Metro Light Rail Station and the Santa Clara Caltrain Station. It runs every 15-30 minutes between 5am and 11:30pm. The Terminal B VTA #10 bus stop is located at the Ground Transportation island across from Terminal B, while the Terminal A VTA #10 bus stop is located at the Ground Transportation Center across from the International Arrivals Building. There are also limousines and taxis available, and several hotels offer door-to-door shuttles for their guests.

Time

GMT -8 (GMT -7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 (408) 392 3600.

see full airport guide


Sacramento International Airport (SMF)

Overview

Sacramento International Airport serves 4.6 million passengers each year. It is an easy-to-navigate airport, but can seem overcrowded during peak periods.

Most shops and other passenger facilities are only available after security. The massage stands are a welcome sight to many weary air-travellers, while the Gordon Biersch Brewery in Terminal B has a range of cold beers on tap.

Location

Sacramento International Airport is located 10 miles (16km) northwest of downtown Sacramento.

Getting to the city

Affordable public transport to the Sacramento Airport goes by the name Yolobus. This service offers daily routes throughout the region, including downtown, Davis, Woodland and beyond. Services to downtown run from 5:30am, Monday to Friday, and from 8:20am on the weekends. Last buses depart from downtown and the airport shortly after 10pm. Regular fare is $2, with concessions available. Limousine and shared shuttle services are also available from the airport.

Time

GMT -8 (GMT-7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: (916) 929 5411
Email: air-market@saccounty.net

see full airport guide


LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT)

Overview

Ontario International Airport is a relatively small airport. It handles just 4.8 million passengers each year, but it is equipped to handle twice that amount.
The airport consists of a number of terminals, which are all equipped with great basic facilities. Staff are friendly and helpful and the airport is a convenient alternative to some of the larger airports in the region.

Location

The airport is just over two miles (3.7km) from downtown Ontario, and 35 miles (56km) east of downtown Los Angeles, in California.

Getting to the city

The best way to get into town from Ontario Airport is to take Omnitrans bus No. 61. It runs at 15-minute intervals and costs just $1.75.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Contacts

Tel: +1 (909) 937 2700.

see full airport guide


Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)

Overview

Palm Springs International Airport is an airy open-plan airport with great gardens for passengers to relax in before boarding their flights. It serves 1.5 million passengers each year and is well connected to destinations around the world.

The airport has a modest selection of shopping and dining options. The hot and dry climate means that there are slightly fewer flights available during the summer months, but in general booking a flight to Palm Springs should be relatively easy and onward travel is mostly hassle-free.

Location

The airport is two miles (3km) from downtown Palm Springs.

Getting to the city

A shuttle bus transports passengers between the airport and the Amtrak station in town. The Morongo Basin Transit Authority (MBTA) provides a bus service to Palm Springs. Taxis and rental cars are also available.

Time

GMT -8 (GMT -7 from March to November)

Contacts

Tel: +1 (760) 318 3800.

see full airport guide


John Wayne Airport (SNA)

Overview

Situated in Orange County, John Wayne Airport is conveniently located only 14 miles (23km) from Disneyland and easy distance from other popular Southern California attractions like Hollywood and Universal Studios. Previously called Orange Country Airport, the facility was renamed in 1979 for the famous Hollywood actor.

A small facility with one main building housing two terminals, John Wayne Airport has a modest variety of shops and restaurants that fail to thrill, but handily provide basic necessities.

John Wayne Airport is a pleasant alternative to the mammoth facility and congestion of Los Angeles International Airport, and offers flights to a number of cities across North America, including Chicago, Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Mexico City, Minneapolis, Newark, Mexico City, Vancouver and Calgary.

Location

The airport is located in Orange County, California, just 14 miles (23km) from the Disneyland Resort.

Getting to the city

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) buses, and the i Shuttle service John Wayne Airport. Additionally, an express bus runs to the Disneyland Resort on a set schedule. Taxis and rental cars are also available. Most ground transportation services pick up travelers in the Ground Transportation Center (GTC), located on the Arrival (lower) Level.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

see full airport guide


Long Beach Airport (LGB)

Location

The airport is situated three miles (4.8km) northeast of Long Beach City, in Los Angeles County.

Getting to the city

Long Beach Transit bus routes 102, 104 and 111 service the airport. Regular bus fare is $1.25. Taxis, shuttles and rental cars are also available at the airport.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

see full airport guide


Los Angeles International Taxis: the taxi fares above are intended as a guideline only.

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