Booking The Trip: Runway to Boston

Booking The Trip: Runway to Boston
Review: United Club Lounge Mezzanine Level SFO
Review: United 757-200 Transcontinental Business Class San Francisco to Boston
Review: American Airlines 737-800 First Class Boston to Chicago
Review: American Airlines 737-800 First Class Chicago to Dallas
Review: American Airlines 737-800 First Class Dallas to Ontario

YOUTUBE: United Airlines: San Francisco to Boston
YOUTUBE: American Airlines: Boston to Chicago
YOUTUBE: American Airlines: Chicago to Dallas
YOUTUBE: American Airlines: Dallas to Ontario

Hello everyone and welcome back to this next set of flight reviews. This trip is a 1 week long trip to Boston for a special programming project at Harvard. Because there are only 5 flights on this trip, the number of reviews will be relatively short. But I wanted to target the premium transcontinental reviews. So in this set, I review United’s transcontinental business class from San Francisco to Boston for which I snagged an awesome deal. Let’s get to the bookings.


I am based in LA and so to get to Boston, the only airline that serves a true premium transcontinental service was Jetblue, so I had them in mind. But then something very interesting happened. I went into my United app to check some other flights I had and noticed that there was some promotion on my screen. I open it and see there’s a promotion that could earn me 11,100 bonus miles with the airline. It didn’t make sense why I was targeted given that I had gold status with the airline but I sure wouldn’t complain. Anyways, so to fly United and achieve that goal was the main objective. However, I did not want to fly UA first direct from LA to Boston because they only have the standard domestic first class service, which I’ve reviewed here and here, and not any premium transcontinental service. But I do know that UA’s flights between San Francisco and Boston are all premium transcontinental service. So I decided to route through SF.

The first step was getting to SF. I booked a one way and took the one that departs at 10AM and arrives at 11:29AM. However, when I actually purchased, the price was $84. I will not review this flight because I’ve already reviewed United economy here, here, here, and many more places.

LAX to SFO routing

So that will be left just to fly. The next flight is the flight I will be reviewing. The prices are awesome!

SFO Boston routing

$399 one way for a transcontinental business class ticket is ridiculously cheap! Especially given that prices are usually $560+ on these kinds of routes, this was insane. I chose the flight that leaves at 1:50 PM and arrives at 10:31 PM. I’ll talk about the seats and earnings shortly. Now that the total price was $483, I was above the threshold for the bonus 11,100 MileagePlus miles I would earn from this promotion.

Now on the way back, I just wanted to fly a straight shot direct flight. I was going to fly back straight in economy, but flights were rather too expensive for what I was expecting. So, unfortunately, I resorted to using miles which is something I detest having to do on domestic flights.

Boston LAX flights

I decided to use some MileagePlan miles because I had a lot to use. So here were my options for the date I wanted to return. 60K miles even for first class is ridiculous. 20K miles was what I was about to select to fly back in economy, but I saw for only 5,000 more miles, I can fly in AA’s first class for the 6-hour flight back. So I decided to choose American Airlines Flight 241 which leaves at 6:22 pm and arrives at 10:01 PM. Hopefully AA domestic is not as bad as everyone says it is, and to spend 6 hours on board it should be interesting, we’ll have to see.


So the above flight was supposed to happen however some complications caused me to have to return a week earlier. Therefore, I went back to Alaska’s website to refund the above flight and rebook another flight for the 27th of June. The following is what I found:

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Possible itineraries

In one sense, it’s awesome to see that I can have 2 additional AA first class flights for the same price and now I’ll be flying into Ontario. While it’s a boring airport in general, it’s much more convenient for me to get home compared to the traffic I would deal with out of LAX. Also, I wanted a straight shot direct flight into the LA basin, but in all honesty, I won’t really complain about more flights, even if I did not originally intend on it.  Lastly, with the itinerary booked, all 3 flights will have meals. The first flight has breakfast service, the second flight has lunch service, and the 3rd flight has dinner service. So I’ll be getting a limited, but complete view, of all 3 meal services on AA.


Now for the seats, I always love window seats, so here is what I chose.


SFO BOS seat

I chose the last window seat in the forward section of the business class cabin on the right side.

Now here are my seats for the return flights from Boston to Ontario. Thankfully even for flights on American Airlines, I was able to select my seats directly from Alaska’s site after purchasing the flight with miles.


Unfortunately, on all three flights I have AA’s 737-800 so I will probably have the same seat across the board. But I tried to sit in various places across my three flights to get an overview of all the seats there.

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BOS-ORD seat

I usually don’t like the left side of the aircraft but I chose it for this ~2.5 hour flight from Chicago to Dallas. Given that this is one of their flagship domestic routes between hubs, I was hoping for a widebody to review their international hard product, but I guess that will have to wait for another time!

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On the last flight, I decided to try the last row of first class to see how the recline was on that seat compared to the rest.

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This should be an interesting 8 hours in AA first class to see how it compares to the other big 3 first class. I will be doing a comparison post after flying AA of all 3 airline’s recliner seat hard products and their soft products of course. But I won’t be using my Houston to Los Angeles flight’s seats in comparison because that was a 787 operated flight and it would not be fair to compare a 787’s seats to a 737 on AA or an A319 on Delta.

Price and Earnings

For the United flights, I spent a total of $484. Out of that, I earn 325+1790+11,100 bonus miles for a grand total of 13,215 MileagePlus Miles, 5,745 Premier Qualifying miles, 2.5 Premier Qualifying segments, and $423 Premier Qualifying Dollars. This will push me slightly closer to requalifying for United gold again in 2019.

Now for the American Airlines flights, on the way back, I won’t be earning any miles because I used miles to purchase the ticket. However, the cost was 25,000 MileagePlan miles and $18.10 in taxes. 

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AA flights


Overall, this is a relatively small trip in terms of reviews, unlike the trip that follows which has a boatload of reviews, but it should still be a fun one. The reason for this trip preview being called “Runway to Boston” is because the United promotion that I partook in which allowed me to qualify was called the Runway Promotion in which you had to spend $450 to earn 11,100 bonus miles. If I was already planning to fly to Boston, then the choice is quite obvious to fly with the airline I am loyal to and the airline that I earn a lot of bonus miles through. So that is the inspiration for the name of the trip preview but otherwise stick around for the reviews to come. This trip should be a relatively fun one, and the one that follows will most certainly be a fun one.

Full routing

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