I actually travel to Berkeley from LA
fairly often and I'll give my 2 cents.
Southwest has by far the greatest number of flights to Oakland (closest airport to Berkeley) from LAX
, Burbank, and Orange County.
Jet Blue has many daily flights from Long Beach to Oakland. Jet Blue has cool in flight service for a low cost carrier including satellite TV
in every seat.
United and United Express (Skywest) have a few daily flights from LAX
to Oakland. Most are on CRJs but a few (usually early morning departures) are on mainline aircraft.
Alaska flies from Ontario to Oakland.
United and American have multiple non-stops from LAX
. United serves Burbank-SFO
and Santa Ana-SFO
multiple times daily.
I have heard that Long Beach is pretty easy to use. LAX
can both have pretty long security waits, especially when flying Southwest. OAK
is really easy with basically every other carrier (Southwest is by far the largest carrier there and has its own terminal). Basically, you should chose your flight based on what LA
airport is most convenient. Southwest won't penalize you if you want to change the flight date or departure, but you will have to pay the change of fare, where as United/American/Alaska (I don't know about JetBlue) will charge you $50 or $100, plus whatever the fare difference is. Also, Southwest have all leather seats. I am happy with United service though and fly them whenever I can (you can also request to sit in Economy Plus, which is added legroom at no cost that they may or may not give you at the airport). United's SFO
terminal is really nice. I like flying out of that airport better than OAK
, though, OAK
is actually closer.
If you are planning on using public transportation (the bay area has a great subway system called BART -- it's how I get around everywhere, including the airport) it's maybe a 25-40 minute trip to Oakland airport from Berkeley and about an hour to SFO
. With Oakland, you take the Fremont line and then have to take something called AirBart, which costs an extra two dollars and you transfer to a shuttle bus that leaves the BART station every twenty minutes or so. The BART ride is longer to SFO
but it takes you straight into the terminal (though you may have to change lines on your way there). Actually, when you take BART into SFO
, you go right past the interntaional terminal, which gives you a cool spotting opportunity for all the neat European and Asian flights that come in. If it is significantly cheaper (or you want to try a different airline) SFO
are both easily accesible by public transportation from Berkeley. San Jose on the other hand, is not.
Have a good flight.