SEA SJC weekly commute

Old May 14, 22, 3:05 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 4
SEA SJC weekly commute

Hi all,

I have a job in South Bay where I need to be in office Mon-Tue, at the very least. For the last two years, things were remote because of pandemic but now I am being asked to show up physically in the office. I really like the job so want to keep it as much as possible. However at the same time, we have no desire to move to Bay Area. So long story short, is this weekly commute doable? Leaving SEA early Monday morning, get to SJC and then use a combination of taxi, company shuttle or public transit depending on the day and schedule to get the office by morning 9:30 AM or so. And do the same in the reverse to get to SEA by 8-9PM Tuesday night. I will have to stay in a hotel near the office for Monday night. I still need to figure out transportation to and from SEA (we are about 20 miles from the airport). Do a lot of people do this kind of commute? How reliable are the morning flights into SJC? Those who have done it, how tiresome this is going to be? I do fly frequently (about 50K miles every year) but not on a weekly basis.
degolas is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 3:51 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Over the Bay Bridge, CA
Programs: Jumbo mas
Posts: 35,399
This is pretty doable, and shouldn't be too exhausting. A few points to ponder:

SJC area hotels can get very expensive during the business week. You might consider working out an arrangement with one for a rate certain for a time period certain (and perhaps the hotel can store a bag for you).
If your SJC flight cancels, you can probably hop on an SFO flight and still get to the office in time. You may also find yourself on WN from time to time.
There will be times when you just don't make it, for reasons on either end.
checkmater likes this.
Eastbay1K is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 4:19 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: Alaska 100K - MM, defender of shoes on the carpeted bulkhead 4ever, AA LT PLT, Hyatt, BonWhut?
Posts: 7,204
After a while one of your colleagues might offer you a crash pad / take them up on it if you can. It’s good to have a place to stash things and someone to have dinner with or feel like your not staying in a cookie cutter hotel. Repay them with a nice dinner out or offer to pick up or order take out every visit.

Put out feelers with friends and family too. Hotel points are great but this schlep will get spendy over time.
lalala is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 4:27 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,087
Doable though those early Monday mornings are going to be tough. Can you be in the office Tue-Wed or Wed-Thur instead?

A safer option might be to plan to fly down the night before and get a crash pad.
spongenotbob is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 4:55 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 4
Why do you say Monday mornings are going to be tough? Sorry I am trying to understand what's the difference between flying Monday morning vs Tuesday or Wednesday? Is it Monday flights have more delays or they are full(er)? I am trying to minimize the time I need to spend away from home and spend as many nights at home as possible.

I have to be in office on Mondays and Tuesdays
degolas is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 5:10 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 19,144
Originally Posted by degolas View Post
Why do you say Monday mornings are going to be tough? Sorry I am trying to understand what's the difference between flying Monday morning vs Tuesday or Wednesday? Is it Monday flights have more delays or they are full(er)? I am trying to minimize the time I need to spend away from home and spend as many nights at home as possible.

I have to be in office on Mondays and Tuesdays
Sunday afternoon/evening and Monday mornings tend to be more popular business travel times being the start of the week when many business flyers and consultants travel to work sites. Tuesday and Wednesday tend to be slower business travel days (and fares tend to be cheaper on these days). Thursdays and Fridays are also popular due to business people travelling back home for the weekend. Saturday tends to be the slowest day of the week for business travel (with lower fares similar to Tue/Wed travel) and many airlines run reduced schedules on this day for business destinations.
notquiteaff and checkmater like this.

Last edited by xliioper; May 14, 22 at 5:15 pm
xliioper is online now  
Old May 14, 22, 5:43 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 108
I had a few friends that did this commute pre-covid, certainly doable. Its rather infamous that the early morning flights from Seattle/Portland to the Bay Area were nicknamed the Silicon Valley Express as more than half the flight is usually full of commuters.

The biggest difference between Monday vs Tuesday/Wednesday is the ticket cost, and potential for a flight that is not as full.

In regards to transportation to/from the airport, you may want to consider the monthly passport parking option if you can't arrange rides to/from the airport. While $425/month is steep, the ability to walk to the terminal and not need to ride a shuttle is huge time saver. Of course, at your current commute schedule you may not even need the monthly parking option as the weekly costs (assuming you're only parking 2 full days) is $68/week. But given that you are on flyertalk, its assumed you may travel more and can certainly get value out of the monthly rate .
anhuang19 is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 7:44 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: LAX
Programs: MVP100K, A-list, Marriott/IHG Plat, CHP525 Ticket Plat, CHP Solo Carpool 100K, Costco EXP, Tinder 1K
Posts: 582
I'm so excited to see someone attempting this! The only transit serving SJC is VTA route 60, so if you want to take transit to work, check the schedule and route info because that bus may not go directly to your office and additional transfer may be required. Hotels can be expensive. So if your workplace has shower, you might as well consider renting a car for the 2-day period, take shower in the office, and sleep overnight in the rental car in the office parking lot, ***only if your body can handle it***.
985X is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 8:07 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by 985X View Post
I'm so excited to see someone attempting this! The only transit serving SJC is VTA route 60, so if you want to take transit to work, check the schedule and route info because that bus may not go directly to your office and additional transfer may be required. Hotels can be expensive. So if your workplace has shower, you might as well consider renting a car for the 2-day period, take shower in the office, and sleep overnight in the rental car in the office parking lot, ***only if your body can handle it***.
Yeah I am familiar with VTA and transit options in bay area (having lived there for many many years). But I would have options with our company shuttle and occasional Lyft/Uber. I am more than happy to spend a few hundred dollars every month staying in the hotel. Money is not a problem. In fact, I also have family in the area where I can crash occasionally. Money-wise I will come ahead if I actually do a daily commute (no overnight) SEA SJC but that's another discussion 😂
degolas is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 8:31 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: LAX
Programs: MVP100K, A-list, Marriott/IHG Plat, CHP525 Ticket Plat, CHP Solo Carpool 100K, Costco EXP, Tinder 1K
Posts: 582
Originally Posted by degolas View Post
Yeah I am familiar with VTA and transit options in bay area (having lived there for many many years). But I would have options with our company shuttle and occasional Lyft/Uber. I am more than happy to spend a few hundred dollars every month staying in the hotel. Money is not a problem. In fact, I also have family in the area where I can crash occasionally. Money-wise I will come ahead if I actually do a daily commute (no overnight) SEA SJC but that's another discussion 😂

That's what I was planning to. 3X weekly LAX-SFO same-day commute. But that was risky and exhausting, your plan doesn't seem to be a bad idea. And if anything, you can always SDC to OAK and take BART to Milpitas or North San Jose.
985X is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 10:15 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 8,470
Originally Posted by degolas View Post
Yeah I am familiar with VTA and transit options in bay area (having lived there for many many years). But I would have options with our company shuttle and occasional Lyft/Uber. I am more than happy to spend a few hundred dollars every month staying in the hotel. Money is not a problem. In fact, I also have family in the area where I can crash occasionally. Money-wise I will come ahead if I actually do a daily commute (no overnight) SEA SJC but that's another discussion 😂
I know a few people who did something similar from southern California (2 people from LAX-SFO; one from SNA-SFO). They stayed in SF 4-5 days a week rather than 2 but it's the same. If anything yours is easier than the LAX ones because you don't have to deal with LAX.
VegasGambler is offline  
Old May 14, 22, 11:56 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Silicon Valley/Seattle/Vancouver
Programs: Hyatt Globalist; Aeroplan 35k; Alaska MVP Gold; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 86
I did this from May 2019 to March 2020 and it was surprisingly pleasant for the most part. I probably did 70% on Alaska and 20% on Delta and 10% on JetSuiteX.

I actually think the SEA-SJC flight part of the equation will be easiest. The transportation and hotel part can/will become a headache. I'm already seeing the Silicon Valley hotels creep back towards laughably absurd pre pandemic rates for average/crappy hotels near any of the main tech campuses.

Depending on if you're going to Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mt View, etc the trip from SJC could be surprisingly painful. Presumably easiest to Uber from SJC to Corp shuttle stop to office. From landing at SJC to getting to office could easily take 45-90minutes depending on where you're headed. God forbid it so much as drizzles or there's an accident on the highways.

Not trying to be Doomsday Debbie, just realistic. I was able to make it work because I had a place in Sunnyvale as well. And I had the flexibility to fly in/out on off peak days/hours. I intentionally avoided doing it on Mondays and Fridays for reasons referenced above in another post.
TravelingChef is offline  
Old May 15, 22, 2:47 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: US West Coast
Programs: Alaska 100K, Delta DM, Hyatt Gl, Marriott Ti/LTP
Posts: 333
I've done this commute (But M-Th) since 2017, with the exception of 2 years of covid-induced WFH. (Prior to that I did the daily shuttle commute from SF 2008-2017) Alaska is my go-to. Prior to everyone doing away with change fees, WN was my backup carrier. Now DL is my backup and gets maybe 10% of it.

It's totally doable, but be careful that you don't get tired. I've found I have to listen to my body more carefully than I did before. Some early weeks where I would have "forced" myself to "just go to work like a normal person" would have been fine in the past (in my 20's, on a daily commute) but had become a mistake that led to crankiness and needing to apologize both at home and to a coworker. After figuring that out, talking to my manager usually resulted in him telling me to stay home that week. I have a cool manager in this regard, who was totally on-board with my commute. Hopefully yours is, too. If we have the same employer, they're offering you 4 weeks a year fully remote, I recommend you use those to make sure you get home weeks every once in a while.

I echo @TravelingChef, that for me the most surprisingly-painful part was travel to/from SJC. I used to Lyft to/from, but found my patience for it grew thinner and thinner and now I usually rent cars.​ In the early days, I'd sometimes take the company shuttle to Santa Clara Caltrain, and then VTA 10 around the runways to the terminal. It was a total pain and is never my Plan A now. (For context, I love Link Light Rail, and regularly take it to/from SEA, so I'm not at all opposed to transit in general.)

Another option in not-plan-A territory if you need to SDC to SFO, is to take the shuttle to the Colma P&R, and then BART to SFO.

Great advice from @lalala! Absolutely ask around with coworkers if you can rent a room as a crash pad. That's what I did, and I was able to get one within walking distance of the intercampus shuttle for $500/mo. I don't ever have guests over, I always shower and eat at work so I add almost nothing to the utilities, and my coworker can still use the room as a guest room on weekends if they need to.

If your campus is a big tech HQ like mine, and you want to be within a few minutes walking (or even driving), don't expect hotels to be "a few hundred every month". Expect several hundred per night. "Absurd" is absolutely the correct word. The Residence Inn two blocks from my office is regularly ~$150 on weekends and is now regularly back into >$500 per night on Mon-Wed. They know the company is paying for it (for others, not you and me) and can afford to put up people close by. Interestingly, in the past, I've found it to be a fabulous use of Marriott 35k certificates for nights where I've wanted some peace and privacy.

One area where we may be totally different and my advice might not be at all relevant is travel time of day. I'm not a morning person, and getting up early on Monday to catch a flight was really brutal for me. Even though it was an extra night away, I found my quality of life improved a ton when I started always flying in the evening. It also made irrops much easier to handle, and I haven't missed a meeting or rolled in late due to an airline since that change. You can always look around, take the temp of the office, and see if you can SDC and leave early, but if a 9am disaster strikes and you're over Yreka, it's really obvious to others.

Other than that, I'd mostly agree with everything everyone else has said upthread. All good advice here.
985X and LIH Prem like this.

Last edited by CalanMan; May 15, 22 at 3:02 am
CalanMan is offline  
Old May 15, 22, 7:02 am
  #14  
_fx
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: NYC
Programs: AS 75K, AA EXP
Posts: 538
Have several colleagues who did this pre-Covid. All said the actual flying was fine. It was the rest of the journey that was grinding. To that end, they all focused a lot on consistency — e.g., SeaTac airport parking program, CLEAR, same flights, same seats (close to the front), same hotel, etc. Obviously there will be bad days (after all, you can have a bad day with a regular commute too), but you want to ensure the good days are as streamlined as possible.
_fx is offline  
Old May 15, 22, 9:47 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by CalanMan View Post
I've done this commute (But M-Th) since 2017, with the exception of 2 years of covid-induced WFH. (Prior to that I did the daily shuttle commute from SF 2008-2017) Alaska is my go-to. Prior to everyone doing away with change fees, WN was my backup carrier. Now DL is my backup and gets maybe 10% of it.

It's totally doable, but be careful that you don't get tired. I've found I have to listen to my body more carefully than I did before. Some early weeks where I would have "forced" myself to "just go to work like a normal person" would have been fine in the past (in my 20's, on a daily commute) but had become a mistake that led to crankiness and needing to apologize both at home and to a coworker. After figuring that out, talking to my manager usually resulted in him telling me to stay home that week. I have a cool manager in this regard, who was totally on-board with my commute. Hopefully yours is, too. If we have the same employer, they're offering you 4 weeks a year fully remote, I recommend you use those to make sure you get home weeks every once in a while.

I echo @TravelingChef, that for me the most surprisingly-painful part was travel to/from SJC. I used to Lyft to/from, but found my patience for it grew thinner and thinner and now I usually rent cars.​ In the early days, I'd sometimes take the company shuttle to Santa Clara Caltrain, and then VTA 10 around the runways to the terminal. It was a total pain and is never my Plan A now. (For context, I love Link Light Rail, and regularly take it to/from SEA, so I'm not at all opposed to transit in general.)

Another option in not-plan-A territory if you need to SDC to SFO, is to take the shuttle to the Colma P&R, and then BART to SFO.

Great advice from @lalala! Absolutely ask around with coworkers if you can rent a room as a crash pad. That's what I did, and I was able to get one within walking distance of the intercampus shuttle for $500/mo. I don't ever have guests over, I always shower and eat at work so I add almost nothing to the utilities, and my coworker can still use the room as a guest room on weekends if they need to.

If your campus is a big tech HQ like mine, and you want to be within a few minutes walking (or even driving), don't expect hotels to be "a few hundred every month". Expect several hundred per night. "Absurd" is absolutely the correct word. The Residence Inn two blocks from my office is regularly ~$150 on weekends and is now regularly back into >$500 per night on Mon-Wed. They know the company is paying for it (for others, not you and me) and can afford to put up people close by. Interestingly, in the past, I've found it to be a fabulous use of Marriott 35k certificates for nights where I've wanted some peace and privacy.

One area where we may be totally different and my advice might not be at all relevant is travel time of day. I'm not a morning person, and getting up early on Monday to catch a flight was really brutal for me. Even though it was an extra night away, I found my quality of life improved a ton when I started always flying in the evening. It also made irrops much easier to handle, and I haven't missed a meeting or rolled in late due to an airline since that change. You can always look around, take the temp of the office, and see if you can SDC and leave early, but if a 9am disaster strikes and you're over Yreka, it's really obvious to others.

Other than that, I'd mostly agree with everything everyone else has said upthread. All good advice here.
Thank you very much for your suggestions. Yes, I agree SJC to office will be difficult and I might just do rental car and/or Lyft/Uber depending on the day. I don't think people are expected to be in the office by 9AM so I do have some leeway there as long as I am on ground by 9AM I think nobody would care (assuming another 30-45 mins to get to office). And same applies for the evenings, 6-630PM flight back (if I can find) would be a fair game as people start leaving by 430-5PM. For the hotel with all the credit cards and points and occasional stay at friend/family, I hope I can get by as I am planning to stay for only one night a week. If I were to do a Mon-Thurs commute then I don't think I can pull this off (having to stay away from home for 4 days is not doable), I might as well move or look for another opportunities locally.
degolas is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread