Where it currently stands

Many of my friends in San Diego who have family in India are always looking for the best flight deals to fly to Mumbai or New Delhi or wherever their home city in India is. Since an annual trip to India is pretty much the norm for most, flights providing direct connectivity and under two stops are in high demand.

The LAX option

a traffic jam on a highway

The drive to LAX might just be like this… (Image Credit: Unsplash)

A lot of people prefer to travel in a different way – they’d rather drive one way to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and save a few bucks, since fares from LAX are sometimes significantly lower. However, it is a time consuming task, as a drive to LAX is about 2.5 hours one way. Add to that the cost of gas and a rental car. Since I’m always on the lookout for a deal to fly from San Diego to Mumbai every year instead of driving to LAX, I’m constantly on the lookout for award seat availability.

British Airways? Well, not sure

Over the last half a decade, British Airways has been a popular option as it flies the Mumbai – London – San Diego route. Having flown that route in the past, I can confirm that it’s not the most desired option though. The layover at London Heathrow is 6-7 hours and service on BA has been going downhill for a while now. Also, British Airways charges fuels surcharges on award tickets. So the option to fly for about 30 hours and shell out a significant co-pay makes this a really bad option.

Lufthansa joins the party

Lufthansa Airlines launched a direct flight from San Diego to Frankfurt in 2018. This delighted me as a miles and points nerd, because I was hoping that it would open up an exciting opportunity to connect from Frankfurt to India, as Lufthansa has decent connectivity from Frankfurt to major Indian cities. Lufthansa is a part of Star Alliance, so it made it really easy to book this trip using my United Airlines miles to fly Lufthansa.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Flight options for United.com for travel to Mumbai

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Flight options for United.com for travel to Bengaluru


I checked award seat availability on United.com and then I quickly transferred miles from my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card to United Airlines.

The Pundit’s Mantra

In conclusion, for a total travel time of just 20 hours and 20 minutes from San Diego to Mumbai or 21 hours and 20 minutes from San Diego to Bengaluru, you can get to India really quickly for just 42,500 United Miles and $40 in taxes.  Please have a look at United’s schedule on United.com to look for award seat availability to other Indian cities for booking your next award trip to India.

This is a great option for San Diego residents as it will help them avoid the 405 and the long arduous drive to LAX.