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Travel time from Sacramento to Iowa



Sacramento to Iowa airports and flights

How long does it really take to fly from Sacramento to Iowa? Here's a sample itinerary for a commercial flight plan. If you want to know the total travel time to reach Iowa, 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, 7:07 am:  start in Sacramento
drive for about 27 minutes
most airlines recommend you get to the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight, so arrive by 8:29 am at the latest

7:34 am:  Sacramento International (SMF)
if you need to check luggage, make sure you do it at least 30-60 minutes before departure, or in this case, by 8:59 am

8:04 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

9:04 am:  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

9:34 am:  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

9:49 am:  board American Airlines Inc. flight
you can scroll down to view other airlines that fly this route

9:59 am:  this is your scheduled departure time
but this flight is usually delayed by an average of 5 minutes

10:04 am:  so this is your actual departure time
it takes the plane an average of 12 minutes to taxi to the runway

10:16 am:  wheels up! take-off from SMF
fly for about 1.5 hours in the air

11:41 am:  Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX)
Phoenix, AZ is the same time as Sacramento, CA
land at the connecting airport
taxi on the runway for an average of 4 minutes to the gate

11:45 am:  arrive at the connecting airport
make sure you schedule enough time for your layover
there may be a minimum connection time for your flight

12:50 pm:  get to your connection gate
with the average delay, you have about 65 minutes
if your incoming flight was delayed, you may need to run

1:05 pm:  board American Airlines Inc. connecting flight
you can scroll down to view other airlines that fly this route

1:15 pm:  scheduled departure time for connecting flight
but this flight is usually delayed by an average of 9 minutes

1:24 pm:  actual departure time for connecting flight
it takes the plane an average of 16 minutes to taxi to the runway

1:40 pm:  wheels up again! take-off from STL
fly for about 2.5 hours in the air

5:58 pm (local time):  Des Moines International (DSM)
Iowa is 2 hours ahead of Sacramento
so the time in Sacramento is actually 3:58 pm
taxi on the runway for an average of 5 minutes to the gate

6:03 pm (local time):  arrive at the gate at DSM
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 2 hours to your destination

8:03 pm (local time):  arrive in Iowa

Total travel time: 11 hours




Flying non-stop from Sacramento to Iowa

How far is Iowa from Sacramento? Here's the quick answer if you have a private jet and you can fly in the fastest possible straight line.

Flight distance: 1,506 miles or 2423 km

Flight time: 3 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 10 hours, 56 minutes.

Flying private is roughly 3.6x faster, and saves you about 8 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.



Best day of the week to fly to Iowa

Looking at flights on American Airlines Inc. from SMF to PHX, and connecting flights on American Airlines Inc. from PHX to DSM, 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 Sacramento to Iowa

The most common route is SMF to PHX, then connecting to DSM, 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. SMF to PHX to DSM
    Sacramento International to Phoenix Sky Harbor International to Des Moines International
  2. SMF to DEN to DSM
    Sacramento International to Denver International to Des Moines International
  3. SMF to LAS to DSM
    Sacramento International to McCarran International to Des Moines International
  4. SMF to ORD to DSM
    Sacramento International to Chicago O'Hare International to Des Moines International
  5. SMF to DFW to DSM
    Sacramento International to Dallas/Fort Worth International to Des Moines International
  6. SMF to SLC to DSM
    Sacramento International to Salt Lake City International to Des Moines International
  7. SMF to ATL to DSM
    Sacramento International to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International to Des Moines International
  8. SMF to IAH to DSM
    Sacramento International to George Bush Intercontinental/Houston to Des Moines International
  9. SMF to MSP to DSM
    Sacramento International to Minneapolis-St Paul International to Des Moines International
  10. SMF to MDW to DSM
    Sacramento International to Chicago Midway International to Des Moines International




Airlines that fly to Iowa

We picked American Airlines Inc. for your main flight, and American Airlines Inc. for your connecting 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. American Airlines Inc. (AA)
  2. Southwest Airlines Co. (WN)
  3. Frontier Airlines Inc. (F9)
  4. SkyWest Airlines Inc. (OO)




Plan a trip to Iowa

Trippy has a ton of information that can help you plan your trip to Iowa (IA). Start by reading the Trippy page on where to stay in Iowa. Click the button below to explore Iowa 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 Iowa to Sacramento, 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 Sacramento to Iowa road trip. Or if you're more interested in the distance, How far is it from Sacramento to Iowa?

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






Return to top of page
At a Glance
without making any stops
flight distance is 1,506 miles
flight time of 3 hours, 31 minutes
Iowa is 2 hours ahead of Sacramento
37 Sacramento travel answers
7 Iowa travel answers

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