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Multiple Flights For Residency Interviews

Multiple Flights For Residency Interviews

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Old Oct 12, 11, 2:16 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Multiple Flights For Residency Interviews

New to the forums so sorry if this is in the wrong place. I am a senior medical student and will be travelling around the country over the next few months to interview for residency positions. I will be flying out of southern California, ONT usually but LAX if its a lot cheaper, mostly to the southeast but also the west coast. Usually when I fly I end up just looking for the cheapest flight on kayak or southwest but being pretty broke and having to pay for anywhere from 10-15 plane tickets I am looking for a better way to go about flying. I was wondering if anyone had any general advice or ideas that would be helpful.
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Old Oct 12, 11, 2:26 pm
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You may want to have a look at http://www.staralliance.com/en/fares...erica-airpass/
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Old Oct 12, 11, 2:29 pm
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You are poor. Do not have airline loyalty just to get future upgrades. Fly on the cheapest flights. The exception would be if you are afraid that the airline is too small and will strand you if there is mechanical trouble (like Sprit Airlines).

Throwaway ticketing is where you buy a cheaper round trip than a one way. They will punish you if you do it too often but interview season is short (2-3 months) and you can spread it among different airlines.

Look for what airports are cheaper. That could vary with each trip you have to make. Try to avoid taxis to save money. Sometimes rental cars are cheaper than taxis. The city bus is always cheaper. A few cities don't have a city bus but have one if you walk a mile from the airport.

If you fly to Dallas or Atlanta, hidden city fare may be better. For example, LAX-DFW-St. Louis and run away in Dallas. Just don't do it too often and don't check in bags.

If the city is not too cold, sleep in the rental car. :P I'm not kidding. I did that once in Europe.

Also try to schedule interviews close to each other. For example, interview in Little Rock, take the Greyhound bus to Dallas, return from Dallas.
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Old Oct 12, 11, 2:51 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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I went through this a few years ago. My advice:
1) I strongly suggest at least starting with Southwest, which is usually going to be cheapest. Also, you have the option of changing flights in case you need to reschedule. Once you have any date for something, book the flight on Southwest, and change to another carrier if you find something cheaper and your trip is set. You may find yourself cancelling flights in if you've gotten your 10+ interviews and don't really want to make the trek out to Michigan or something for a January interview.

2) Try to cluster things as much as possible. Figure out when programs tend to interview and which ones you really want to go to. For me, most of the California programs interviewed late while the midwest started early and east coast was somewhere in the middle. I made two extended trips east, going through Chicago, Texas, and North Carolina for one and Philly, Boston, New York, and Miami for the other. If things work out well, you could potentially take the train up and down the east coast.

3) Since things go through the match, interviewing early is not critical like it is for med school where they have rolling admissions. Work with the residency coordinators; they are often very helpful in moving things around and are willing to let you know if something opens up in a more preferred time frame. Again, Southwest and their flexible terms are your best friend.

4) I would consider setting an early wake-up alarm each morning (like 5 or 6 AM even if you are on an easy 4th year rotation) to check your e-mail, and in the event you don't have very reliable e-mail access, figure that out. Being on the west coast sucks when the program coordinators send out their invites in a batch at 7:30 a.m. Eastern and you call right when you wake up at 7:30 a.m. Pacific only to hear all the preferred spots had been taken in the last 3 hours. This depends on your residency, though; if it's internal medicine this is much less likely to be an issue than say orthopedics, ophthalmology, or something with smaller programs.

5) You're poor now but where you go for residency determines the next 3-5 or more years of your life and can significantly impact your career. Not that you're doing this but don't let a few hundred bucks adversely affect your interviews (e.g. taking a red-eye to the east coast for a morning interview because it's cheaper if you don't function well when jet lagged on little sleep).
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Old Oct 12, 11, 3:22 pm
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be sure to sign up for the ff programs of all carriers you fly....may or may not get you anything, but the price is right....a quick look at the alliances will show you which carriers ff mi can be credited to one of the members which can improve your chances of getting some use from it....good luck...
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Old Oct 12, 11, 6:23 pm
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And sign up for any hotel programs you use, car rental programs, etc. Even if you only use it once.
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Old Oct 12, 11, 6:32 pm
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I used to live in Riverside and liked flying out of ONT, but usually found it was a bit cheaper to fly from LAX.

However... transport to LAX is not cheap, nor is parking. When you do the math, add in transport and parking. If you live near ONT, then maybe Mom or a loving spouse can take you to the airport and pick you up. You would not have to leave a car there, nor pay for a shuttle. Compare that to the cost of parking and a shuttle if Mom is unwilling to take you to LAX.

While you are doing research, check out the Flyaway busses. They have a Flyaway from UCLA/Westwood. You might be able to get a ride with a friend to UCLA, then take the Flyaway in to the airport. I use the Flyaway out of Van Nuys all the time and like it.
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