Travel Tips for Super Bowl fans heading to Los Angeles

(This is a slightly different version of a story we wrote for NBC News online)

Football’s big day is coming up. The Los Angeles Rams are set to play the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 2022 on Sunday, February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA, less than 4 miles from Los Angeles International Airport.

If this is the year you are determined to be in the stands on game day – or at least in town for the festivities – here are some tips on how to get there, book a hotel, and get a ticket to the game.

Spoiler alert: It won’t be cheap.

Flying in for the Big Game

Local Rams fans can skip the plane ticket search because this year’s Super Bowl is being played in the team’s home stadium. But Cincinnati Bengals fans and others hoping to fly in for the game have a short window to look for and lock in last-minute flight deals. 

The good news is that in addition to the bustling Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) there are multiple commercial airports in the area. So, sports fans who don’t find a good fare into LAX can expand their search to nearby, smaller airports such as Long Beach (LGB), Burbank (BUR), Ontario (ONT), and others to compare fares. Plus, some airlines, including United, American, and Delta have added extra flights to help Cincinnati residents make their way to LA.

With the game just a few days away, there are still flights available, says Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, “But it’s getting more difficult to get them cheap.”

In addition to expanding the pool of cities (at both ends) when using search engines to find fares, Keyes says travelers should keep in mind that Southwest Airlines flights only appear on the Southwest site. Fans will also be able to find better-priced flights by expanding their travel dates beyond the weekend. “Consider making it a week-long vacation,” says Keyes. “Because fares will certainly drop by half the next weekend.”

Daily rental car rates, and the parking fees at hotels and at the stadium can be quite hefty, so Keyes also suggests checking car rental rates on Turo, an Airbnb-type service for rental cars, or relying on rides hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to get around.  

Wing in on a private jet

If you can’t find a good fare for a commercial flight or don’t want to deal with the hassle, another option to consider is flying in for the big game on a private jet.

In part, because the Rams are the home team and the Bengals are a small market team, the number of private jets heading to the game is expected to be below the record-levels set in 2014, when the Super Bowl was played in New York/New Jersey, and in 2020 when Miami hosted the big game, says Doug Gollan Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons.

But there are still plenty of private jets heading to the Los Angeles region for the game this year and plenty of seats for those willing to pay the price and accept surcharges that can range up to 100%.

“From Cincinnati to Los Angeles and back on a jet that seats 8 passengers, I would expect the fare to be around $100,000,” says Gollan, “Although normally you could probably get that flight from around $70,000 roundtrip.”

While there are plenty of upsides to flying to and from the game on a private jet, Gollan notes that with one-off charters there could be some downsides. “If your provider cancels your flight, they won’t just rebook you on the next flight, as commercial airlines do,” he says. “They will requote the trip pricing based on the new aircraft they’ve sourced as a replacement, and you can either pay the new – higher cost or get a refund.”

And that may not be ideal for those who have game tickets and nonrefundable hotel and limo reservations.

In the airports

For those flying to the big game, the parties will start at the airports with pop-up souvenir stands and fan activities in the terminals.

To send Bengals fans off, Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport has a giant “WHO DEY” balloon sculpture and signage and will be handing out CVG bag tags and CVG/Bengals rally towels.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has hard-to-miss Super Bowl signage and a good-natured wager with CVG airport in which the CEO of the losing team’s airport will have to wear the winning team’s QB jersey for the day.

LAX also has a detailed travel “game plan” posted for travelers with information on everything from getting around the airport and in the city to tips for negotiating the busy times at the airport after the game.

For the past year or so, LAX, and other regional airports have been working with National Football League (NFL), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), among others to safety and security for travelers heading to and from the game, especially during the busy post-game “get away” on Monday, February 14.

“Our passenger projections show that the number of travelers departing airports in the LA area will be similar to what we routinely see on a busy holiday weekend,” said Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman.  She said in addition to some unseen precautions that will be in place, travelers will be able to spot some of the more than 30 TSA explosive detection canines and handlers working at the airport and other Super Bowl venues in the LA area.

Dankers says TSA’s key message to Super Bowl travelers is to arrive at the airport early and arrive prepared. That includes packing game souvenirs with significant monetary or sentimental value in carry-on luggage along with any Super Bowl souvenir programs.

Hotel Room and Home Rentals  

Average daily rates for hotels in the Los Angeles area have already surged to $445 a night, so you haven’t booked your Super Bowl lodging yet, be prepared to shell out some big dough and agree to a minimum length of stay.

“It’s the Super Bowl, so inflation is expected,” says Melissa Dohmen at, who notes that hotels in some top LA-are neighborhoods, including LAX, downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica are currently charging up to $1,500/night. Rates in South LA, East LA, Long Beach, and the LA Valley are trending lower, at about $150 to $300 per night.

For those looking to rent a vacation rental, Vrbo reports a surge in rates to an average $620/night. A search of Airbnb rentals in Inglewood, CA over Super Bowl weekend returned offerings for an average of $931/night.  

If you’re still looking for lodging, don’t give up.

“It’s definitely worth checking back closer to the game in case cancellations happen says Gaby Flores, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hilton Santa Monica. “Some hotels will receive cancellations close to the game. And most rates will drop down for last-minute arrivals, if they are not in a sold-out situation, to try and pick up those last-minute bookers.”

Need a ticket?

As of Tuesday, Super Bowl tickets were being offered for between $4400 and $22,000 apiece on sites such as StubHub, Ticketmaster, and Gametime.

Of course, it’s also possible to head to the LA area without a ticket to the big game and still have fun. Fans events and watching parties will be taking place all over the region. And tickets to the Super Bowl Experience, an interactive football theme park at the LA Convention Center are $40, but free for fans who get their 1st, 2nd, or booster COVID-19 vaccine at the center during the event.

LAX & CVG Airport Bet on Super Bowl 2022

It could get ugly.

But so far, officials from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are being very civil about the wager they’ve made on whether the Los Angeles Rams or the Cincinnati Bengals will win Super Bowl 2022.

They’re calling it the Battle of Heartland vs. Hollywood. And, per the wager, the airport CEO of the team that loses Super Bowl 2022 will have to wear the QB jersey of the opposing team for a day.

We’re going to keep an eye on the Super Bowl competition on the field – and in the terminals.

In the meantime, for fans heading to Los Angeles for the Big Game, LAX has some travel tips to help you get there safely.

IND Airport Welcomes College Football National Playoff Championship

Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is all spruced up to welcome nearly 100,000 visitors to town for the College Football National Playoff Championship. Festivities will be taking place all weekend leading up to the Jan. 10 championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

In addition to lots of fun signage and pop-up souvenir spots, IND will be hosting live music performances in Civic Plaza by Indy musicians from January 7 to 11 from 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

There’s also a photo opp site set up outside the Ground Transportation Center featuring a goalpost mural with 3D effects.

And the 22 For 22 poster show is on display in Civic Plaza through Jan. 11. The exhibit features poster art by 22 graphic artists and illustrators from Central Indiana and focuses on a theme of common football phrases.

Fans are invited to bid on framed 24×36 prints of their favorite designs through Sunday, January 9. Proceeds go to Teach Indy.

Here’s a sampling of the posters.

IND Airport welcomes NCAA fans with art, music, and more

College basketball fans arriving at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) this week will find some special art, music, food, and exhibits, courtesy of the city’s trademark Hoosier Hospitality.

In addition to a custom-wrapped INDY car in the airport’s Civic Place, there are digital displays of cascading basketballs and the #LoveIndy statue for photo ops.

Eat, Drink and Shop

Pop-up retail stores in the pre-security Civic Plaza and Concourse B are selling NCAA apparel and gear, as are other retail stores throughout the terminal. And, for that special souvenir, Scoreboard, in Concourse A, is selling an Indiana University basketball made with Swarovski Crystal.

Hungry fans can stop in for the famous St. Elmo shrimp cocktail at Harry and Izzy’s or at Shapiro’s for local delicatessen eats. And the new Sun King Tap Room is serving its “Hoops There It Is” specialty beer – wheat ale with peach.

Art and music too

In partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis, 10 temporary murals featured work by local artists on vinyl are on display in Concourses A and B.

THe party doesn’t stop there. There will also be live music at IND on Fridays and Saturdays through April 3. And, thans to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, an exhibition of pieces from the National Art Museum of Sport (in Concourses A and B).

Denver International Airport’s Puppy Bowl

For the past five years, Denver International Airport (DEN) has been hosting its own version of the Super Bowl Puppy Bowl.

The event usually takes place in Jeppesen Terminal. But this year, like everything else, DEN’s 6th Annual Puppy Bowl will operate a bit differently.

Instead of being live in the terminal, the puppy playoff will be taking place offsite and broadcast live on Denver International Airport’s Facebook page.

This big game will take place on Friday, February 5 from 10 a.m. MST to 11 p.m. MST.

The mini football “stadium” will be filled with six Australian Shepherd puppies that will up for adoption on a first-come, first serve basis through Denver’s Dumb Friends League, a socially conscious animal welfare organization.

Cute, right?