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Weekly Commuting by Air

Weekly Commuting by Air

Old Jun 10, 17, 3:01 pm
  #1  
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Smile Weekly Commuting by Air

Hello, I'm new to Flyertalk. I'm wondering if there is anyone who commutes weekly or once every 2 weeks to their place of work. I live in the Greater Palm Springs area with my family and I'm interviewing for a job in Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay area. I will maintain my permanent home that we own in Palm Springs and stay/rent in the SF Bay area. What is the most cost saving way to purchase airline tickets for a regular commuting route? Can I buy them in bulk? 10-20 or so round-trip tickets? My airline choices from PSP to SFO will be Alaska Air, Virgin Atlantic and United. I would leave PSP on a Sunday evening and return to PSP on a Friday after work. Any tips would be helpful from air commuters? Thank you
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Old Jun 10, 17, 3:06 pm
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Most folks I know who commute keep an eye on prices and buy up when possible as the specials are offered.
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Old Jun 10, 17, 3:15 pm
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My husband commuted from our home in LA to his job in Manhattan for years and more recently had a long term project in Las Vegas.

His job in NYC required a lot of travel so he didn't book flights too far out to avoid having to cancel. But he'd try to book when fares were fairly low (~$300 for that route is generally as good as it gets, especially for high-demand Friday night and Sunday night flights). Having to cancel and eat most of a non-refundable fare once in a while is still less expensive than booking last minute fares. He had lots of options on that route but out of personal preference he almost exclusively flew UA and DL to reach top status on both.

If your schedule is consistent I'd buy a bunch every time I saw a sale on your route. Life does get easier with status and the miles start adding up with elite bonuses, so I'd probably pick one to do most of the flying. You'll become an expert after doing this for a few months!
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Old Jun 10, 17, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Sarah12 View Post
Virgin Atlantic
Nope.

Virgin America?
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Old Jun 10, 17, 3:37 pm
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Typo, yes Virgin America (for the US Group of Virgin)

Originally Posted by snabbu View Post
Most folks I know who commute keep an eye on prices and buy up when possible as the specials are offered.
Thank you!

Originally Posted by princeville View Post
My husband commuted from our home in LA to his job in Manhattan for years and more recently had a long term project in Las Vegas.

His job in NYC required a lot of travel so he didn't book flights too far out to avoid having to cancel. But he'd try to book when fares were fairly low (~$300 for that route is generally as good as it gets, especially for high-demand Friday night and Sunday night flights). Having to cancel and eat most of a non-refundable fare once in a while is still less expensive than booking last minute fares. He had lots of options on that route but out of personal preference he almost exclusively flew UA and DL to reach top status on both.

If your schedule is consistent I'd buy a bunch every time I saw a sale on your route. Life does get easier with status and the miles start adding up with elite bonuses, so I'd probably pick one to do most of the flying. You'll become an expert after doing this for a few months!
Thank you Princeville. This is good information.

Last edited by beckoa; Jun 12, 17 at 2:07 am Reason: merged consecutive posts
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Old Jun 10, 17, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by UpgradeMe View Post
Virgin America?
Originally Posted by Sarah12 View Post
Typo, yes Virgin America (for the US Group of Virgin)
Virgin America have been bought out by Alaska and over time are expected merge into 1 airline (Alaska).

1000's of people regularly commute by air, at the same times as you (Sunday afternoon - Friday evening). Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay area is a popular commute. As above watch prices, and buy when the price/ticket conditions are acceptable to you. At times you are likely to have cancel or buy a walk up fare. Cheap tickets may not be able to be changed ->100% loss if you do not fly.
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Old Jun 10, 17, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Sarah12 View Post
Hello, I'm new to Flyertalk. I'm wondering if there is anyone who commutes weekly or once every 2 weeks to their place of work. I live in the Greater Palm Springs area with my family and I'm interviewing for a job in Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay area. I will maintain my permanent home that we own in Palm Springs and stay/rent in the SF Bay area. What is the most cost saving way to purchase airline tickets for a regular commuting route? Can I buy them in bulk? 10-20 or so round-trip tickets? My airline choices from PSP to SFO will be Alaska Air, Virgin Atlantic and United. I would leave PSP on a Sunday evening and return to PSP on a Friday after work. Any tips would be helpful from air commuters? Thank you
I would check to see if one-way fares in that market are typically priced at half of a roundtrip. If not, and the cheapest round-trips require a Saturday night stay, you could buy an initial PSP-SFO one-way, and follow that with SFO-PSP-SFO round-trips.

Also, if you decide to primarily fly a single carrier on that route, then you'll need to decide which frequent-flyer program to credit your flights to. If, for example, you were to primarily fly AS, you might credit your miles to AS. But you might also decide that you'd be better off crediting your flights to AA. You'd have to decide what you value in an FFP, and which program is better for what you value.
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Old Jun 10, 17, 6:18 pm
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It looks like AS' PSP service is ending August 26, so the OP's choices will be limited to UA and VX.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 9:04 am
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Virgin America and Alaska are in the midst of merging operations. You earn Alaska FF miles on either and both airline fights are available for purchase on the Alaska site. They sell one way tickets at the same price they would sell that leg of a RT flight.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 11:34 am
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Smile

I'm aware of the Alaska/Virgin America merge coming up very soon. As both airlines currently fly PSP to SFO, I hope there will still be available scheduled flights on Sunday evening departing PSP and Friday evening departing SFO. Thank you all for your responses!
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Old Jun 11, 17, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by pt flyer View Post
Virgin America and Alaska are in the midst of merging operations. You earn Alaska FF miles on either and both airline fights are available for purchase on the Alaska site.
That's true. But while one who is flying AS can choose to credit those flights to AA (if desired), that option does not exist for those flying on VX.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 4:04 pm
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Perhaps consider driving to/from Ontario Airport and flying Southwest. Especially if your work commute schedule might eventually drop down to not every single week but unpredictably.

Choosing Southwest would allow you to book every single week long in advance (establishing a ceiling for how much you'd have to pay) and over time keep an eye on sales when you can rebook existing tickets at the lower sale price with no change fee. You do have to manually keep track of the record locators that have excess TTF [ticketless travel funds] to apply the saved monies toward future bookings. And if there's a week when you don't have to travel to the home office at all, just cancel the corresponding ticket(s) and use the entire TTF toward future bookings. (Note you're pretty consistently better off on Southwest to book your travel as two one way tickets instead of a single round trip ticket.) This cancellation need might come up for business travel to other locations: if a NYC business trip comes up for you then you won't need your tickets from SoCal to NorCal that week.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by pshuang View Post
Perhaps consider driving to/from Ontario Airport and flying Southwest. Especially if your work commute schedule might eventually drop down to not every single week but unpredictably.

Choosing Southwest would allow you to book every single week long in advance (establishing a ceiling for how much you'd have to pay) and over time keep an eye on sales when you can rebook existing tickets at the lower sale price with no change fee. You do have to manually keep track of the record locators that have excess TTF [ticketless travel funds] to apply the saved monies toward future bookings. And if there's a week when you don't have to travel to the home office at all, just cancel the corresponding ticket(s) and use the entire TTF toward future bookings. (Note you're pretty consistently better off on Southwest to book your travel as two one way tickets instead of a single round trip ticket.) This cancellation need might come up for business travel to other locations: if a NYC business trip comes up for you then you won't need your tickets from SoCal to NorCal that week.
Thanks for the info. The only problem is ONT is about one and a half hour drive from my home and that's with no traffic. Being only 15 minutes from PSP, my husband can pick me up and drop me off and I can avoid airport parking and I can spend more time with my family when I only have 2 days before I would have to return to the Bay area for the week.
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Old Jun 19, 17, 2:29 pm
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I knew a highly educated, otherwise intelligent, fool who taught concurrently in Boston and Vienna. He made two RT TATL crossings each and every week. Until he was taken to the ER. He stopped not wanting to go in the ground. Seriously.
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Old Jun 19, 17, 7:33 pm
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Originally Posted by pshuang View Post
Choosing Southwest would allow you to book every single week long in advance (establishing a ceiling for how much you'd have to pay) and over time keep an eye on sales when you can rebook existing tickets at the lower sale price with no change fee. You do have to manually keep track of the record locators that have excess TTF [ticketless travel funds] to apply the saved monies toward future bookings.
Alaska Airlines lets you take a credit toward a future flight if the price of the specific flight you've already booked drops after you've booked it (and you polnt it out to them; it's not automatic). I got $50 back that way by having yapta.com monitor the cost of my flight LAX-ANC that I booked about 6 months out. I don't recall there being any fee for this.

Whether that works on Virgin America flights (during the gap between when AS ends its own service to PSP and when the VX brand is completely replaced by the AS brand), that I don't know.
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