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Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

Glasgow, United...
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Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

We are a family of four from the United Kingdom who will be holidaying in California in July 2012. Flying into San Francisco, we will spend two weeks touring around, albeit we have not yet planned a detailed itinerary. Very roughly, we want to head south after around five days in the SF area, reaching LA towards the end of the two weeks.

We then need to reach Pittsburgh for a family commitment after our two week touring holiday, en route back to Europe. We had thought that flying from LAX to Pittsburgh would be straightforward, however there appears to be only one airline – United - and only one direct fight a day. Largely as a result of this monopoly (I would guess), the current one-way fare on that route is USD 596 per person. That is almost as much as our return flights from Scotland!

So my question is: What are the options for flying from the greater LA area, or southern California more generally, to the Pittsburgh area? We don’t want to arrive at our destination too late – ideally reaching our Pittsburgh city centre hotel in the early evening, or at least before 10pm. And we want to pay a lot less than the United fare quoted. We are open to flying into and out of different airports. At the Californian end it would mean simply ending our tour in a different location. At the Pittsburgh end it could conceivably mean travelling for a couple of hours to reach our destination, in order to land at a more accessible airport.

Thousand Oaks...
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1. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

Not quite sure where you were searching but I quickly found lower fares on multiple carriers.

Expedia shows flights from LAX to Pittsburg at about $160 and one stop.

Dr. Z

Encinitas...
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2. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

Try looking at Southwest Airlines.

Dublin, California
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3. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

United, US Airways, and Continental all fly from LAX to Pittsburgh. Try using Kayak.com for your search.

West Hollywood...
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4. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

Southwest.com has 1-stop flights with layovers as short as 1 hour starting at $238 + tax.

Also, look at FrontierAirlines.com

Anaheim, California
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5. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

OK, let's talk about alternative airports.

California has only two major International Airports, LAX and San Francisco (SFO), so for most international travelers, they need to enter and/or leave from those airports (there are some minor exceptions).

But in the San Francisco Bay area, you can also use Oakland (OAK) for Domestic flights. (Both airports are served by the BART transit system.

In the Greater Los Angeles area (aka Southland), you have a few choices besides LAX. Long Beach (LGB) is close to LAX, but alas, has the ;least amount of flights a day, basically a JetBlue hub. John Wayne (Orange County/Santa Ana/SNA) is also on the 405 freeway, but south east of LAX. This is a popular airport for the Disneyland area.

Bob Hope (Burbank/BUR) is close to the Hollywood/Downtown LA area. The last one is Ontario (ONT). It is east of Los Angeles County, and for many folks, not that convenient.

One more option, you could change your vacation plans and plan the end of your Southern California stay to end in the San Diego area. And then take a flight from San Diego Lindbergh Field (SAN).

Here are some of the popular Discount airlines, which you will need to check yourself on their specific websites for flights and pricing.

The best known one is Southwest Airlines (known for it 2 free bags policy), other options are JetBlue, Virgin America, Frontier and Spirit (Spirit is known for fees on almost anything, including carry on bags, so watch out for that).

Glasgow, United...
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6. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

@Darkbeer - thanks - fabulous response!

That is just the sort of local insight I need :) I had been checking on Kayak and some airlines' own sites, but getting bewildering arrays of options, with stupid o'clock departures and six hour stopovers ... hardly pleasurable.

This detail is ideal. And at first glance the San Diego option is worth investigating... ie civilised departure times, short stopovers and reasonable arrival hour in Pittsburgh.

Edited: 28 December 2011, 16:57
Glasgow, United...
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7. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

@HopSkipJump and others

Thanks for these suggestions - I will have a look at Southwest's own site and research there for 'Southland' options.

Will let you know what we decide!

Los Angeles
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8. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

Not sure it would be significantly cheaper or have better flight availability, but if you are willing to drive for a few hours after your flight lands, you might look into flying to Cleveland, Ohio, which is about 2 hours drive from Pittsburgh.

Redlands, California
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9. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

I flew ONT-PIT in July for about $590 round trip. Ontario is the poor stepchild of our regional airports (there is a suspicion that the airport authority is delliberately making it an unattractive option in order to force more flights to LAX) but it has the advantages of being unbusy and relatively stress-free. The terminal is brand new. I flew Southwest and was very pleased, even the legroom wasn't bad.

10. Re: Flying between southern California and Pittsburgh

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