10 Best Airlines to Fly to California (Updated 2023)

by Flora
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Embarking on a journey to the sun-soaked landscapes of California? To aid travelers in choosing the right airline for their adventure, we’ve meticulously reviewed over 150 global airports, creating this comprehensive guide to the best airlines to fly to California. We’re here to ensure your trip to the Golden State is as enchanting as the destination itself!

California, the golden state of endless possibilities and dreamy landscapes. It beckons travelers with its sun-kissed beaches like the Venice Beach, majestic mountains, and iconic landmarks. Whether you’re yearning to witness the enchanting allure of Los Angeles, explore the innovative hub of Silicon Valley, or unwind in the serene vineyards of Napa Valley, choosing the right airline can elevate your journey to this diverse paradise.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the best airlines to fly to California that promise unparalleled service, comfort, and convenience. Each airline has been meticulously evaluated to provide you with insightful details. This aids you in making an informed decision for your upcoming Californian adventure. Your journey to the Golden State begins here!

The best airlines to fly to California right now
This article on the best airlines to fly to California contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Quick tip to find cheap flights to California

Looking for cheap flights to California right now? Before diving into all the airlines that fly to California, I first want to share a quick tip on how to save money on airfare.

For the past three years, I’ve used Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) to get amazing flight deals. All you have to do is enter your home airport and where you want to go, and from there, they’ll send you mistake fares and other ridiculously cheap flight deals. And the coolest part? It’s 100% FREE! In 2022, I saved thousands of dollars from their email alerts. This includes most recently, a $205 roundtrip fare from Boston to San Francisco.

There’s a free and a premium version – the free one has pretty much everything you’ll need. Though if you’re like me and travel a lot every year, it’s worth upgrading to the paid version for $49 per year. In my experience, you’ll get your money back after finding just one discounted flight! As such, I recommend signing up for the free trial (you can cancel at any time) to try it for yourself. And if you like it, be sure to use my coupon code JON20 to save 20%!

Now without further ado, here are the best California flights in 2023.

1. American Airlines

American Airlines, with its extensive network and diverse fleet, stands out as one of the premier choices for travelers heading to the Golden State. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, this airline boasts major hubs in cities like Dallas, Chicago, and Miami. It offers a gateway to numerous destinations within California such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Diving into the unique features of American Airlines, passengers are treated to a plethora of amenities designed to enhance their travel experience. From spacious seating arrangements to gourmet dining options, every aspect meets the varied needs of travelers. The airline offers a range of services, including Wi-Fi, extensive in-flight entertainment options, and personalized attention. This ensures a pleasant journey to your Californian haven.

Traveling the expansive skies with American Airlines means enjoying top-notch service and unparalleled comfort.
Traveling the expansive skies with American Airlines means enjoying top-notch service and unparalleled comfort.

Navigating through the vast skies with American Airlines is synonymous with experiencing top-notch service and comfort. It caters to a wide spectrum of travelers, offering options from budget-friendly fares to luxurious premium cabins. The diverse price range accommodates the preferences of every traveler. This makes it one of the best airlines to fly into California.

In addition to its remarkable services, American Airlines frequently rolls out attractive deals and offers. It allows travelers to explore the enchanting landscapes of California without burning a hole in their pockets.


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2. Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines is famous for its impeccable service and extensive route network. This makes it one of the best airlines from the US to California. With its headquarters in Atlanta, Delta operates from multiple hubs, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. This ensures seamless connectivity to various Californian gems like San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego.

Delta takes pride in offering a flight experience that’s a cut above the rest. Passengers are welcomed with warm hospitality and are offered a range of amenities to make their journey enjoyable.

Delta is a compelling choice, providing a range of fare options tailored to accommodate every budget.
Delta is a compelling choice, providing a range of fare options tailored to accommodate every budget.

The airline’s commitment to passenger comfort is evident in its spacious seating, delectable cuisine, and a vast array of in-flight entertainment options. Whether you are a solo traveler or flying with family, Delta ensures a harmonious blend of comfort and entertainment throughout your journey.

For travelers seeking the best airline to fly to California, Delta emerges as a compelling choice. It offers a spectrum of fare options to suit every budget. From economical seats to the lavish Delta One suites, passengers can choose their preferred level of luxury, ensuring a tailor-made travel experience. The airline’s transparent pricing and diverse fare options appeal to a broad range of travelers. This promises a journey that’s as pleasant as the destinations it serves.

3. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is a preferred choice for those seeking the best business class to California. Operating from its hub in Doha, Qatar Airways establishes seamless connections to the vibrant cities of California such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Qatar Airways’ business class, known as Qsuite, offers unparalleled luxury and innovation in the sky. Passengers are treated to private suites with doors, allowing them to enjoy privacy and comfort. The suites feature fully lie-flat beds adorned with plush bedding and pillows, ensuring a restful sleep. The dining experience is a culinary journey, with a diverse menu of gourmet dishes created by renowned chefs, accompanied by a selection of fine wines and beverages.

Qatar Airways, operating from its hub in Doha, provides seamless connections to the dynamic cities of California.
Qatar Airways, operating from its hub in Doha, provides seamless connections to the dynamic cities of California.

Passengers can stay entertained with Oryx One, the airline’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system. This offers a rich selection of movies, music, games, and TV shows. For the discerning travelers who desire unparalleled luxury and comfort on their journey to the golden state, Qatar Airways is undoubtedly one of the best international airlines to California.

4. Emirates

With its iconic luxury and groundbreaking services, Emirates is a stellar choice for travelers embarking on a journey to the enchanting landscapes of California. Originating from its hub in Dubai, Emirates connects the cosmopolitan city to major Californian destinations like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The airline is renowned for transforming air travel, providing what many consider the best flight to California. Passengers aboard Emirates are offered spacious seating, gourmet cuisine, and an extensive range of in-flight entertainment options. The airline offers private suites in First Class. It features sliding doors, personal mini-bars, and fully flat beds with mattress, ensuring passengers experience unparalleled privacy and comfort. The onboard Shower Spa, exclusive to First Class, allows passengers to rejuvenate during the flight, arriving at their destination feeling refreshed.

Travelers in search of the finest airlines for California journeys should opt for Emirates
Travelers in search of the finest airlines for California journeys should opt for Emirates

Emirates’ award-winning in-flight entertainment system, ICE, offers over 4,500 channels of movies, TV shows, music, and games, on larger screens in high definition, coupled with noise-canceling headphones, making the flight a pleasurable experience.

Travelers seeking the best airlines to travel to California should choose Emirates for its exceptional service, innovative amenities, and luxurious atmosphere. The airline’s dedication to enhancing the passenger experience is evident in its continuous introduction of pioneering services and features. This promises a journey that’s as memorable as the destinations it serves.

5. British Airways

With its main hub in London, British Airways offers seamless connections to several Californian cities. This includes Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. The airline is renowned for its blend of traditional British hospitality and modern amenities. It is a prestigious choice for travelers seeking the best airlines to go to California. Passengers are treated to spacious seating, exquisite dining options featuring British and international cuisine, and a wide array of entertainment choices.

Club World, British Airways’ esteemed business class, offers passengers an oasis of comfort and luxury in the skies. The service features fully flat beds, allowing passengers to relax and arrive well-rested at their destination. The seats are arranged in a yin-yang configuration, providing direct aisle access to every passenger and ensuring privacy.

British Airways offers an outstanding choice, harmonizing comfort, luxury, and impeccable service for discerning travelers.
British Airways offers an outstanding choice, harmonizing comfort, luxury, and impeccable service for discerning travelers.

For travelers exploring the various airlines that fly to California, British Airways emerges as a distinguished option. It offers a harmonious balance of comfort, luxury, and impeccable service. The airline caters to a diverse range of travelers, providing various cabin options from premium luxury to affordable comfort. It ensures a tailor-made travel experience for every passenger.

6. Cathay Pacific

With its hub in the vibrant city of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific connects the gateway to the East with the diverse and scenic landscapes of California. This offers flights to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Passengers are treated to an experience marked by luxury and attention to detail, with spacious and comfortable seating, delectable dining options featuring international cuisine, and a plethora of entertainment choices to make every flight enjoyable.

Cathay Pacific is a top choice among those considering airlines to California, setting a sky-high standard for luxury and service.
Cathay Pacific is a top choice among those considering airlines to California, setting a sky-high standard for luxury and service.

Whether opting for the opulent First Class or the cozy and well-appointed Economy Class, Cathay Pacific promises a journey of comfort and convenience, tailored to meet the individual needs of every passenger. For those exploring airlines that fly to California, Cathay Pacific emerges as a premier choice. It sets the standard for luxury and service in the skies.

Fun fact: The airline’s “Betsy Beer” is the world’s first hand-crafted bottled beer specially brewed at 35,000 feet. This unique beverage is designed to complement the reduction in taste and smell sensitivity that passengers can experience at high altitudes. The beer is named after Cathay Pacific’s first aircraft. It combines Hong Kong and UK-sourced ingredients to create a flavor that appeals to diverse palates.

7. Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is the flag carrier of New Zealand. It boasts innovative and passenger-friendly services, making it one of the preferred airlines to fly to California. Operating from its hub in Auckland, Air New Zealand offers seamless connections to Californian cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. This ensures passengers experience the warmth of Kiwi hospitality as they traverse the Pacific.

Air New Zealand is famous for its innovative Skycouch, a unique offering in the economy class. The Skycouch is a row of three economy seats that can be converted into a flat surface. It provides more space and comfort for passengers to relax and stretch out.

Air New Zealand assures passengers of a Kiwi hospitality-infused journey, tailored to meet each passenger's unique needs.
Air New Zealand assures passengers of a Kiwi hospitality-infused journey, tailored to meet each passenger’s unique needs.

This feature is especially beneficial for families with young children or couples, allowing them to create their own private space. Additionally, the airline offers a distinctive Kiwi dining experience, with a menu featuring fresh and flavorful New Zealand produce and award-winning wines.

For travelers seeking the best airlines to California, Air New Zealand stands out with its unique approach to air travel and its commitment to excellence. Whether opting for the luxurious Business Premier or the comfortable and well-appointed Economy class, Air New Zealand promises a journey steeped in Kiwi hospitality and convenience, tailored to meet the individual needs of every passenger.

8. Japan Airlines

With its main hub in Tokyo, Japan Airlines connects the Land of the Rising Sun to major Californian destinations like Los Angeles and San Francisco. It envelops passengers in a world of Japanese elegance and innovation.

Japan Airlines is renowned for its commitment to excellence and its meticulous attention to detail. It provides what many consider one of the best airlines to fly to California. This airline distinguishes itself with its acclaimed “JAL Sky Suite”. It is a unique and innovative seating configuration designed to maximize passenger comfort and privacy.

Japan Airlines guarantees travelers the finest in Japanese hospitality and convenience when flying into California.
Japan Airlines guarantees travelers the finest in Japanese hospitality and convenience when flying into California.

The Sky Suite offers passengers in Business Class a fully flat bed. It provides a spacious and private area to relax and sleep. Each suite is equipped with a personal 23-inch TV screen. It offers a wide range of entertainment options, including movies, music, and games.

Whether opting for the luxurious First Class or the comfortable and well-appointed Economy Class, Japan Airlines promises Japanese hospitality and convenience for travelers seeking the best airlines to fly into California.

9. Lufthansa

Lufthansa transports passengers to California’s vibrant landscapes with its renowned German precision and hospitality. From its strategic hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, Lufthansa establishes smooth connections to Californian hubs like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The airline is dedicated to making every journey special. It offers spacious seating configurations, a selection of gourmet meals inspired by international cuisine, and a diverse entertainment portfolio. Lufthansa’s commitment to passenger comfort and satisfaction is unparalleled, creating a harmonious travel experience marked by German precision and elegance.

Lufthansa is an ideal option for travelers who prioritize punctuality and premium service.
Lufthansa is an ideal option for travelers who prioritize punctuality and premium service.

But what truly sets Lufthansa apart is its “First Class Terminal” at Frankfurt Airport, offering an unparalleled pre-flight experience. Passengers can savor gourmet meals in the à la carte restaurant, enjoy a refreshing shower or a relaxing bath, and choose from a wide range of whiskies at the bar. When it’s time to board, passengers are driven directly to the aircraft in a luxury limousine, bypassing the usual airport hustle.

For travelers with a penchant for punctuality and top-tier service, Lufthansa is a prime choice among the best international airlines to California.

10. Qantas

With Qantas, every flight is a journey steeped in comfort and Australian hospitality. Passengers are welcomed into spacious cabins, treated to a selection of gourmet Australian cuisine, and entertained with a comprehensive range of movies, music, and games.

From its hubs in Sydney and Melbourne, the Australian flag carrier facilitates smooth journeys to the sunny shores of California. It connects to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, and offering passengers a taste of Australian charm and friendliness.

Qantas, with its exceptional service and Australian hospitality, is among the premier airlines for traveling to California.
Qantas, with its exceptional service and Australian hospitality, is among the premier airlines for traveling to California.

Qantas offers a distinctive service known as “Fly Well”. It is designed to enhance passenger safety and well-being amidst the evolving travel landscape. This service includes a comprehensive set of measures such as contactless check-in, enhanced cleaning protocols, and provision of sanitizing wipes and masks to every passenger.  Additionally, Qantas has introduced a unique “Wellbeing Kit”. This kit includes a mask, sanitizing wipes, and hand sanitizer, ensuring passengers have the necessary resources to maintain hygiene during the flight.

For travelers exploring options to traverse the Pacific, Qantas stands out as one of the airlines to fly to California. It combines Australian warmth with top-notch services. The airline offers a variety of travel classes, from the luxurious First Class to the comfortable and well-appointed Economy Class.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Airlines to Travel to California

To aid you in choosing the best airlines to fly to California, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions from travelers like you.

What month is it cheapest to fly to California?

Travelers often find that the cheapest months to fly to California are January and February. This is considered the off-peak season after the holiday rush. During this time, airlines often offer discounted fares, and accommodations are generally more affordable. This allows travelers to experience the most popular airlines to fly to California at a lower cost.

How far in advance should I book a flight to California?

Booking a flight to California depends on several factors, including the season, specific events, and your flexibility. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Off-Peak Season: If you’re traveling during the off-peak season (generally the fall and winter months, excluding holidays), you might find good deals 4-6 weeks in advance.
  2. Peak Season: For peak travel times like summer and major holidays, it’s advisable to book at least 2-3 months in advance. Summer months (June to August) are popular due to vacations, and December is busy because of the holidays.
  3. Events and Festivals: If you’re traveling during a major event or festival, such as Coachella in April or San Diego Comic-Con in July, you should book as far in advance as possible, as flights might fill up quickly.
  4. Flexibility: If you have flexibility in your travel dates, you can monitor fare prices and book when you see a deal. Many fare comparison tools and apps offer fare alerts to notify you of price drops.
  5. Last-Minute Deals: While generally riskier, there are sometimes last-minute deals. However, this isn’t a reliable strategy if you have specific dates and times you need to travel.
  6. Midweek Flights: Flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays often offer the best deals. If you can be flexible with your travel days, midweek flights might save you money.
  7. Booking Tools: Utilize fare comparison websites and apps to monitor and compare prices. They can give insights into fare trends and predictions based on historical data.

Which airport is cheapest to fly into California?

Though home to some of the wealthiest celebrities in the US, there are actually many cheap airports in California. In fact, some of the biggest cities are among the cheapest places to fly into California. Whether you’ve been there before or you’re planning your very trip, there are countless fun things to do in California, even when you’re on a budget!

When considering cost-effective options, flying into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO) can often be cheaper due to the high volume of flights and competition between airlines. However, I recommend comparing prices and considering alternative airports, as sometimes smaller airports may offer competitive fares.

The best part? LAX and SFO regularly have affordable flight deals from California to various destinations such as Albuquerque, Calgary, Cancun and more.

Why is it so expensive to fly to California?

California is a major travel destination with a high demand for flights, particularly to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. The high cost is due to the state’s popularity as a tourist destination, the presence of major airports, and the availability of numerous attractions and entertainment options. Additionally, the time of year, flight duration, and the airline chosen can also impact the price.

What is the cheapest day of the week to fly to California?

Typically, midweek flights, particularly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, tend to be less expensive compared to weekends when the demand is higher. Booking flights on these days can often result in lower fares. This allows travelers to experience some of the best airlines to fly to California without breaking the bank.

In this extensive guide, we've examined top airlines for California travel, each providing distinct amenities, service, and travel quality.
In this extensive guide, we’ve examined top airlines for California travel, each providing distinct amenities, service, and travel quality.

How can I find the best deals on flights to California?

To secure the best deals, it’s advisable to book flights well in advance, be flexible with travel dates, and regularly check various booking platforms and airline websites for promotions and discounts. Utilizing fare comparison sites and setting up price alerts can also help in identifying the most affordable options available.

Is it possible to get last-minute deals on flights to California?

Yes, it is possible, although it might require some flexibility and diligence. Airlines sometimes offer discounted fares on unsold seats as the departure date approaches. Regularly checking airline websites, subscribing to newsletters, and using apps that specialize in last-minute deals can increase the chances of securing affordable fares.

Which airlines offer the best in-flight experience to California?

The in-flight experience varies significantly between airlines, but carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines are famous for their exceptional service, luxurious amenities, and superior in-flight entertainment options. This makes them some of the most sought-after airlines to fly to California.

Can I find direct flights to California?

Absolutely, many airlines offer direct flights to various cities in California, particularly from major international airports. However, the availability of direct flights can depend on the departure location and the airline, so it’s always best to check with the respective carriers for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

The popularity of an airline can be gauged by various metrics, such as passenger volume, number of flights, customer satisfaction, or brand recognition. In California, several airlines are popular due to their extensive operations and hubs in the state.

  • Southwest Airlines is notably popular in California, especially for domestic flights. They offer numerous routes connecting major Californian cities. This includes Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, among others.
  • United Airlines has a significant presence, especially with its major hub at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
  • American Airlines also has a strong presence, particularly at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which serves as one of its primary hubs.
  • Delta Air Lines has been expanding its operations in California, especially in Los Angeles.
  • Alaska Airlines, while based in Seattle, Washington, has a significant presence in California, especially after its acquisition of Virgin America, which was based in Burlingame, California.

California Airlines in 2023: Recap

Exploring the diverse and dynamic landscapes of California is a dream for many travelers. And choosing the right airline can significantly enhance the overall travel experience. From the luxurious amenities of Emirates to the innovative services of Qantas, each airline offers a unique journey filled with comfort, hospitality, and entertainment. Whether you prioritize top-notch services, affordability, or direct routes, there are numerous airlines to fly to California that cater to a variety of preferences and needs.

By considering factors such as in-flight experience, destinations covered, and price range, travelers can select the airline that best aligns with their expectations and requirements. This ensures a memorable journey to the Golden State. So, choose your preferred airline and embark on an exciting adventure to discover the enchanting beauty and vibrant culture of California!

The best airlines to fly to California for all types of travelers
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