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Travel time from Los Angeles to Washington, DC



Los Angeles to Washington, DC airports and flights

How long does it really take to fly from Los Angeles to Washington, DC? Here's a sample itinerary for a commercial flight plan. If you want to know the total travel time to reach Washington, DC, 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, 10:09 am:  start in Los Angeles
drive for about 36 minutes
most airlines recommend you get to the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight, so arrive by 11:40 am at the latest

10:45 am:  Los Angeles International (LAX)
if you need to check luggage, make sure you do it at least 30-60 minutes before departure, or in this case, by 12:10 pm

11:15 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

12:15 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

12:45 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

1:00 pm:  board Southwest Airlines Co. flight
you can scroll down to view other airlines that fly this route

1:10 pm:  this is your scheduled departure time
but remember flights can be delayed, so take that into account
it takes the plane an average of 13 minutes to taxi to the runway

1:23 pm:  wheels up! take-off from LAX
fly for about 4.5 hours in the air

8:45 pm (local time):  Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI)
Washington, DC is 3 hours ahead of Los Angeles
so the time in Los Angeles is actually 5:45 pm
taxi on the runway for an average of 5 minutes to the gate

8:50 pm (local time):  arrive at the gate at BWI
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 1.5 hours to your destination

10:13 pm (local time):  arrive in Washington, DC

Total travel time: 9 hours




Flying non-stop from Los Angeles to Washington, DC

How far is Washington, DC from Los Angeles? Here's the quick answer if you have a private jet and you can fly in the fastest possible straight line.

Flight distance: 2,299 miles or 3700 km

Flight time: 4 hours, 31 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 9 hours, 4 minutes.

Flying private is roughly 2.3x faster, and saves you about 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 fairly long flight, so unless you have a Gulfstream G650 or your own Boeing or Airbus, 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.



Best day of the week to fly to Washington, DC

Looking at flights on Southwest Airlines Co. from LAX to BWI, here's a breakdown of the number of flights available each day:

  • Sunday
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday

Based on these statistical results, we chose Thursday for the flight itinerary above.




Alternate flights from Los Angeles to Washington, DC

The most common route is LAX to BWI, 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:

  1. LAX to IAD
    Los Angeles International to Washington Dulles International
  2. LAX to BWI
    Los Angeles International to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
  3. LAX to DCA
    Los Angeles International to Ronald Reagan Washington National




Airlines that fly to Washington, DC

We picked Southwest Airlines Co. 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:

  1. Southwest Airlines Co. (WN)
  2. Spirit Air Lines (NK)
  3. Alaska Airlines Inc. (AS)
  4. United Air Lines Inc. (UA)




Plan a trip to Washington, DC

Trippy has a ton of information that can help you plan your trip to Washington, District of Columbia. Start by reading the Trippy page on where to stay in Washington, DC. If you're looking for a place to stay, you might want to check out JW Marriott Hotel. A great place to eat might be National Gallery of Art. Trippy members can suggest things to do in Washington, DC like National Mall. Check out some of the questions people have asked about Washington, DC like Best hotel near museums. Click the button below to explore Washington, DC in detail.






What about the return flight?

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 Washington, DC to Los Angeles, 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 Washington, DC to Los Angeles road trip. Or if you're more interested in the distance, How far is it from Washington, DC to Los Angeles?

If you happen to know Los Angeles, don't forget to help other travelers and answer some questions about Los Angeles!






Return to top of page
At a Glance
without making any stops
flight distance is 2,299 miles
flight time of 4 hours, 31 minutes
Washington, DC is 3 hours ahead of Los Angeles
528 Los Angeles travel answers
130 Washington, DC travel answers








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