How to get to United States

By | May 4, 2022


The USA – a collage of superlatives – encompasses vast plains, snow-capped mountains, vast forests and unusual rock formations, as well as towering skyscrapers and a breathtaking cultural scene. Seeing the skyline of Manhattan from the ship for the first time is an unforgettable moment, as is the first ride in a yellow cab, the ubiquitous hamburger stands, the endless expanse of the prairie, the sweet melodies of New Orleans jazz or experience the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas. The USA is a huge country with 50 states and an incredibly diverse landscape, flanked by two oceans. For five centuries, since Christopher Columbus’ voyages of discovery, people have come from all parts of the world to realize their very personal American Dream. Together, these immigrants have built the richest and most powerful country on earth and a fascinating melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions.

Getting there


The information below is intended as an overview, more detailed information can be found in the individual state chapters under the appropriate heading.

Arriving by plane

According to top-medical-schools, the main national airlines in the USA are United (UA), Delta (DL) and American Airlines (AA). United offers direct flights from Frankfurt/M., Munich, Vienna and Zurich to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, among others; also from Düsseldorf and Geneva to New York. Delta flies direct from Frankfurt am Main, Berlin and Zurich to New York, from Vienna to San Francisco and Los Angeles. American Airlines connect Zurich and New York with direct flights. The various airlines fly to all important destinations in the USA, sometimes in cooperation. There are direct connections with Lufthansa (LH) from Frankfurt/M. and Munich to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, from Frankfurt/M. to Miami and from Berlin to New York. Lufthansa (LH) flies non-stop from Munich to Detroit and Seattle several times a week. Eurowings (EW) serves the Munich-Las Vegas, Frankfurt/M.-Phoenix, Frankfurt/M.-Anchorage, Düsseldorf-New York (daily) and Munich-Orlando routes several times a week. Swiss (LX) offers direct connections from Zurich to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Austrian Airlines (OS) fly direct from Vienna to New York and Chicago. British Airways (BA) have daily direct connections from London (Heathrow) to Las Vegas. Feeder flights to London from Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich.

Note on arrival by plane

To enter the USA, an ESTA approval must be applied for before departure, unless you have a valid US visa. The ESTA travel authorization should be applied for at least 72 hours before departure, even if ESTA allows registrations until shortly before departure. The travel authorization is valid for multiple arrivals over a period of two years or until the passport expires. Flight Duration: Westbound flights (from Europe to the US or from the East to West Coast) take longer than eastbound flights due to wind influence. Flights from the east coast of the USA to Europe decrease by about 30-40 minutes, from the west coast about 1 hour.

Flight times

Frankfurt – New York: 8 hours 35 minutes; Frankfurt – Los Angeles: 11 hours 35 minutes; Berlin – New York: 8 hours 45 minutes; Vienna – New York: 9 hours 30 minutes; Vienna – Los Angeles: 12 hours 30 minutes; Zurich – New York: 8 hours 55 minutes; Zurich – Los Angeles: 12 hrs 10 mins


STA Travel offers three air passes for the USA: The Jet Blue Airpass lets you book 3 or more flights across the entire Jet Blue network in the USA at once. The Jet Blue Airpass is valid for 90 days, can be changed flexibly, and luggage is included. Airpass American Crossing for the route Anchorage – Seattle – New York – Fort Lauderdale. Airpass East Coaster for the route Chicago – New York – Boston – Washington. Both Airpasses are valid for young people under the age of 26 and students with an ISIC card.

Departure fee

Airport taxes are included in the ticket price.

Arrival by car

There are numerous border crossings between Canada and the United States. The main routes are New York – Montréal/Ottawa, Detroit – Toronto/Hamilton, Minneapolis – Winnipeg and Seattle – Vancouver/Edmonton/Calgary. There are road connections to Mexico from El Paso, San Diego, Tucson and San Antonio. Greyhound offers service to Canada and Mexico. For more information and contact address see Travel – National.

Arrival by train

The American route network is connected to the Mexican one at Yuma, El Paso, Del Rio and Laredo; however, there is currently no way to cross the border from Mexico by train. However, the border cities of San Diego (California) and San Antonio (Texas) are served on the American side by Amtrak. Almost all long-distance trains are operated by the US National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). There are several passenger routes to Canada. The main routes are New York – Montréal, New York – Toronto and Seattle – Vancouver. Trains run from Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo to Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. For more information, visit the official Amtrak website online or contact CRD International, Hamburg,

rail passes

The Amtrak USA Rail Pass entitles you to travel on the entire Amtrak network and is valid for 330 days. The pass is available in three variants: – for 15 travel days with 8 segments; – for 30 travel days with 12 segments; – for 45 travel days with 18 segments. Children under 2 years travel for free, from 2 to 12 years half price. The children – maximum two – must be accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. The USA Rail Pass is available online from Amtrak; payment by credit card; – at travel agencies that have direct online access to Amtrak tickets and passes.

Arrival by ship

The most important port cities in the USA include Miami and Port Canaveral, the two largest cruise ports in the world, New York, Boston, New Orleans and Los Angeles. The only transatlantic liner today is the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2. It runs regularly between Hamburg/Southampton and New York.

Cruise ships

Many cruise ships from around the world call at the east and west coasts of the USA; from Europe including: AIDA – from Kiel or Warnemünde via Norway, Iceland and Greenland to New York; Royal Caribbean – from Southampton to Ford Lauderdale; Holland America Line – from Amsterdam or Civitavecchia to Ford Lauderdale and from Copenhagen to New York; Costa Cruises – from Venice to Ford Lauderdale; Norwegian Cruise Line – from Barcelona to Miami.

How to get to United States