The $96.20 United Round Trip: BOS-EWR and Back

While I have profiled my first sub-$100 round trip on Speedbird Spotter, those flights were flown on jetBlue which, as much as I love it, is technically a low-cost carrier. So when I was messing about on Google Flights and saw a sub-$100 round trip on a mainline carrier (United Airlines) to Newark that departed on Saturday, June 4, and returned on Sunday, June 5, I knew I had to take it. I booked both flights quickly, as I wasn’t sure how long the low fare would last, and figured that it would be an ideal way to relieve some stress from having moved earlier that week (June 1). Of course, neither flight was incredibly convenient timewise (outbound flight UA1078 was scheduled to depart BOS at 5:31am, while inbound flight UA1775 was scheduled to depart EWR at 9:55pm), so I knew that sleep would be at a premium. However, I was eager to try the Airbus A320-200, so that – combined with the desire to see friends in New York and New Jersey – outweighed any potential sleep concerns I had.

June 4, 2016

BOS – EWR

Being the OCD person that I am, I arrived at the airport a full two hours before the departure. Even though we were slated to depart at the incredibly early hour of 5:31am, I’d never have forgiven myself if I’d ignominiously missed a cheap flight due to overconfidence, so I figured better to be safe than sorry. As it was, I got through security pretty quickly, and watched the news for a while – the reports of Muhammad Ali passing away had just come in hours before, so that pretty much dominated the TV screens.

Soon enough, we were boarding our outbound Boeing 737-800, a type that I had flown on two weeks earlier for the first time, albeit with American Airlines. Pushback went by pretty quickly, and before I knew it, we were beginning our takeoff roll on Runway 27. Impressively enough, our scheduled departure time of 5:31 was when we began our takeoff roll, although we probably rotated at 5:32.

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Breaking through the clouds, just after sunrise.

Once the wheels were up, we vanished through the base layer of clouds, which sat at a paltry 1,500 feet. Regardless, we emerged from them soon enough, and I could recognize some of the Greater Boston area. However, the real highlight of the trip down was seeing my father’s hometown of Waldwick, NJ, from the plane, and while I didn’t take any pictures I was buzzing that I had managed to have such a keen eye.

We touched down in the slight fog in Newark on Runway 22L, and I must say that the pilot did a tremendous job especially given the somewhat turbulent wind conditions. Regardless, we taxied to the gate rather expeditiously, and I was off to board the train for some bagels.

June 5, 2016

EWR – BOS

After a great weekend with friends, I arrived at EWR with a full two hours to spare. Security went by relatively quickly, although apparently I shouldn’t have shown up so early, as my flight was delayed due to a late-arriving inbound aircraft. Despite this, I was still excited to get to board the Airbus A320 for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the leather seats, even if this plane didn’t feature seat back TVs like its brother on the way down.

The captain spoke of some turbulence before departure, and even went so far as to instruct the flight attendants to remain in their seats, thereby foregoing the in-flight refreshment service that had been planned. Yet while most would have been leery with that announcement, I relish flying through turbulence, as I have every confidence in the pilots and their abilities. Within minutes of taxiing out, we were airborne off of Runway 22L, and began a right 180 degree turn that would take us north towards home.

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A pretty incredible sight, if I do say so myself.

This flight was entirely in the dark, so there wasn’t much to see in great detail. That said, there were some unique things visible, including the illustrious sight of Manhattan and Westchester County lit up at night, as well as the montage of Long Island and its various inlets, towns, and cities. I wasn’t looking forward to our late arrival that night, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the view.

Before long, we were on our descent into Boston. While I thought we were initially landing on either Runway 27 or Runway 33L since we were over the water for an extended period of time, we ended up flying to the north for an approach to Runway 22L. After a smooth descent along the North Shore, we touched down shortly after midnight.

Though flying is more expensive than taking the bus to New York, I’ve found that – when you can get a round trip for less than $100 – it makes for an easy, affordable trip. The train ride from Newark Airport to Penn Station is about 25 minutes in length, which is about the same as the train ride from JFK to the same downtown location. With that in mind, I can only hope to keep finding affordable fares like these, both for my own interest in flying and for the ability to enjoy weekend trips to NYC and New Jersey.