How long does it really take to fly from Chicago to San Diego? Here's a sample itinerary for a commercial flight plan. If you want to know the total travel time to reach San Diego, you need to include time at the airports. Eventually, you'll be able to customize this itinerary to select other nearby airports and choose your preferred airline.
Thursday, 10:18 am: start in Chicago
drive for about 47 minutes
most airlines recommend you get to the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight, so arrive by 12:00 pm at the latest
11:05 am: Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)
if you need to check luggage, make sure you do it at least 30-60 minutes before departure, or in this case, by 12:30 pm
11:35 am: get your boarding pass and go through TSA security
allow enough time for long security lines during busy travel seasons or holidays, and prepare for the wait time
12:35 pm: arrive at the gate
once you're ready to board, you can get something to eat in the airport or just relax near the gate
1:05 pm: prepare for boarding
check your boarding pass for your group number or listen to the gate agent as they announce boarding, some airlines require you to be in the boarding area 10-15 minutes before departure or risk losing your seat
1:20 pm: board American Airlines Inc. flight
you can scroll down to view other airlines that fly this route
1:30 pm: this is your scheduled departure time
but this flight is usually delayed by an average of 4 minutes
1:34 pm: so this is your actual departure time
it takes the plane an average of 15 minutes to taxi to the runway
1:49 pm: wheels up! take-off from ORD
fly for about 4 hours in the air
3:48 pm (local time): San Diego International (SAN)
San Diego is 2 hours behind Chicago
so the time in Chicago is actually 5:48 pm
taxi on the runway for an average of 4 minutes to the gate
3:52 pm (local time): arrive at the gate at SAN
deboard the plane, and claim any baggage
if you're renting a car, check if you need to take a shuttle to car rental agency, otherwise you can ride in a cab, limo, or Uber for about 7 minutes to your destination
3:59 pm (local time): arrive in San Diego
Total travel time: 8 hours
How far is San Diego from Chicago? Here's the quick answer if you have a private jet and you can fly in the fastest possible straight line.
Flight distance: 1,734 miles or 2791 km
Flight time: 3 hours, 54 minutes
Compare this to a whole day of commercial travel with the airports and waiting in line for security, which ends up taking a total of 7 hours, 41 minutes.
Flying private is roughly 2.6x faster, and saves you about 4.5 hours in your total travel time.
Because of the curvature of the Earth, the shortest distance is actually the "great circle" distance, or "as the crow flies" which is calculated using an iterative Vincenty formula. For a long distance, this appears as a curve on the map, and this is often the route that commercial airlines will take so it's a good estimate of the frequent flyer miles you'll accumulate as well.
This is a medium length flight, so unless you have a nice private jet, you might be booking a commercial flight. In that case, your travel time would really need to include how many minutes to get to your local airport, wait for security, board and taxi on the runway, land at the other airport, and get to your destination. The flight itinerary at the top of the page takes into account all these factors to get a more accurate estimate of your actual flight time.
Looking at flights on American Airlines Inc. from ORD to SAN, here's a breakdown of the number of flights available each day:
Based on these statistical results, we chose Thursday for the flight itinerary above.
The most common route is ORD to SAN, so that's what we used in the sample itinerary. However, you may want to explore travel alternatives, you could try one of these routes:
We picked American Airlines Inc. for your main flight, but there are other airlines that you should check if you're looking for the cheapest flight, or you need a different schedule. Check the websites of these airlines:
Trippy has a ton of information that can help you plan your trip to San Diego, California. Start by reading the Trippy page on where to stay in San Diego. If you're looking for a place to stay, you might want to check out Hotel Del Coronado. A great place to eat might be The Prado at Balboa Park. Trippy members can suggest things to do in San Diego like Balboa Park. Check out some of the questions people have asked about San Diego like Fun for a family with small children (NOT Disneyland!). Click the button below to explore San Diego in detail.
The distance is the same either way if you're flying a straight line. But for a real trip, there can be plenty of differences so go ahead and check the reverse flight itinerary to fly from San Diego to Chicago, or go to the main page to calculate other flight times.
You can also compare the travel time if you were to drive instead. Get the full itinerary for a Chicago to San Diego road trip. Or if you're more interested in the distance, How far is it from Chicago to San Diego?
If you happen to know Chicago, don't forget to help other travelers and answer some questions about Chicago!