One graduate student was able to avoid the traditionally outrageous costs in the San Francisco Bay. He merely traveled 92,089 miles to go the University of California, Berkeley from his Los Angeles residence.
The super commuter first shared his story two months ago “I survived living in LA and commuting to Cal by plane over the past academic year to save on rent, AMA.”
He said that while enrolled in his one-year Civil Engineering program, he came up with the “crazy idea” to avoid paying the high rent in the Bay Area.
“My classmates, instead of asking ‘What’s for dinner?’ they would ask ‘When’s your flight back?’ ” the student, who shared his first name as Bill said.
The super commuter said in a post on the pilot forum FlyerTalk that even though his program was technically only 10 months long and he wasn’t required to be on campus every day, student housing near Berkeley would cost him at least $1,600 per month without utilities. He said that he would also have to stay there for 12 months.
Berkeley is part of the San Francisco metropolitan area, which is one of the most expensive locations to live in the country. Since 2020, the average monthly rent has increased by 5.4% to $3,080.
According to his Reddit post, Bill spent a total of $5,592.66 on his commute throughout the course of his two-semester program, including parking and in-flight wifi. A credit card with Southwest Airlines and airline miles were helpful.
He was expected to attend classes on campus three times a week, but if there was a meeting or event that required him to be there in person, he would occasionally fly up five times.
Bill said that he bought all of his airline tickets months in advance and would only cancel them the night before if his plans altered.
He would reserve the cheapest flight of the day and then phone the airline to switch to a better-scheduled flight because he had access to same-day flight adjustments thanks to his elite membership with Alaska and Southwest.
The student estimated that the one-way travel took between four and five hours from door to door. He said he got up at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight in order to reach his 8 a.m. lesson. If he needed to remain late for a project, he occasionally took the last flight out.
He estimated that he commuted for 52 days and 238 flights, saving thousands of dollars in rent.
“This is probably one of the craziest thing (sic) I’ve done in my life, and I’m so glad I made it through, without missing ANY classes, that itself is a miracle,” he wrote.