Nonstop flights from New York to Los Angeles take about six hours; with the three-hour time change, you can leave JFK by 8 am and be in L.A. by 11 am. Some flights may require a midway stop, making the total excursion between 7½ and 8½ hours. Flight times are three hours from Dallas, four hours from Chicago, and 11½ hours from London.
The fourth-largest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is served by more than 65 major airlines. Because of heavy traffic around the airport (not to mention the city's extended rush hours), you should allow yourself plenty of extra time. All departures are from the upper level, while arrivals are on the lower level. There's no Metro in or out of the airport, but it's coming in the not-too-distant-future.
Several secondary airports serve the city. Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank is close to Downtown L.A., so it's definitely worth checking out. Long Beach Airport is equally convenient. Flights to Orange County's John Wayne Airport are often more expensive than those to the other secondary airports. Also check out L.A./Ontario International Airport.
Driving times from LAX to different parts of the city vary considerably: it will take you 20 minutes to get to Santa Monica, 30 minutes to Beverly Hills, and at least 45 minutes to Downtown L.A. In heavy traffic it can take much longer. From Hollywood Burbank Airport, it's 30 minutes to Downtown. Plan on at least 45 minutes for the drive from Long Beach Airport, and an hour from John Wayne Airport or L.A./Ontario International Airport.
If you're not renting a car, a taxi is the most convenient way to get to and from the airport. There's a flat rate between LAX and Downtown for $50.50. Getting Downtown from Hollywood Burbank Airport costs $40 to $50. Taxis to and from L.A./Ontario International Airport run on a meter and cost $60 and $70, depending on traffic. From Long Beach Airport, trips to Downtown L.A. are metered and cost roughly $72.
For two or three passengers, shuttles can be an economical option at $17 to $35. These big vans typically circle the airport, departing when they're full. Your travel time depends on how many other travelers are dropped off before you. At LAX, SuperShuttle allows walk-on shuttle passengers without prior reservations; if you're headed to the airport, call at least 24 hours in advance.
Operated by Los Angeles World Airports, FlyAway buses travel between LAX and Van Nuys, Westwood, La Brea, and Union Station in Downtown L.A. The cost is $8 to $10 and is payable only by credit or debit card. With departure at least every hour, buses run 24 hours a day.
Most Angelenos use ride-share apps like Lyft, which you can download to your smartphone. The app will estimate the cost before you accept the ride. A ride from the airport (drivers pick you up at a dedicated lot) to the Eastside could cost as much as $40 or less if you pick up another passenger along the way.
Delta, United, Southwest, and American have the most nonstop flights to LAX. JetBlue and Alaska also have numerous daily flights to airports in and around Los Angeles.