You can fly into Dali, depends on where you fly from, chances are you need to transfer as it's a small airport. The prices are normally pretty high too.
We took the new high speed train from Kunming to Dali, took less than 2 hours (Old train used to take 5.5 hours!)
Tickets cost 145 rmb. Then we took a Didi (chinese uber) from the station to the old town, cost about 50rmb.
You can also take the bus No.8 but would take more than 1 hour to arrive as it has too many stops, however bus only costs 2rmb