A grad student at the University of California in Berkeley, known as Bill, recently completed his 10-month civil engineering program by commuting from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area by plane instead of settling for sky-high rents. Bill shared his experience in detail in a now-viral Reddit post.
Bill had a setup that made his air commute feasible. First off, he had a "comfortable" roommate situation in Los Angeles and had plans to work in that area after school. Given his course requirements, he only had to attend classes three times a week, with occasional extra trips for events or meetings. Because he had elite status with Alaska and Southwest, he could make same-day flight changes and book the most cost-effective flights. Although this meant waking up at 3:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class, or occasionally taking the last flight back for late projects, Bill considered it worth it. Ultimately, he spent $5,592.66 on his commute, which included parking, BART rides, and in-flight Wi-Fi, for a total of 238 flights and 52 days commuting.
Bill is proud to have completed his program without missing a single class, calling the achievement a "miracle." Head here to see a photo of him wearing a graduation sash of boarding passes.
Asked if he would do it all again, Bill answered yes, "This is probably one of the craziest things I've done in my life, and I'm so glad I made it through, without missing any classes. That itself is a miracle."
By the way, his favorite airline? Alaska Airlines, "Because they were happy to give free upgrades and their agents are really nice," he said.