What’s the Best Way To Get from New York City to Boston?

Jul 24, 2015

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This past weekend, TPG Intern Mark Kellman decided to leave New York and head up to Boston to visit family. There are many options to get between these two cities, so here’s a look at the some different modes of transportation.

There are multiple ways to get to Boston from New York. You can go by plane, train, bus or automobile, each have their own positives and negatives. Below are all of your options for travel between the two cities:

On my way down to Boston, I flew on a US Airways Shuttle E-175

By Plane

You have plenty of options out of all three New York airports to Boston. American and US Airways (which are still operating as separate entities until October 17), as well as Delta, JetBlue and United, fly this route multiple times each day, with comparable fares.

JetBlue makes 13 daily flights to Boston from the New York area on an Embraer E-190 aircraft — 7 times per day from JFK and 6 times per day from EWR.

American flies from JFK 4 times per day, while US Airways (soon to merge with American) flies out of LGA on regional jets 16 times per day, at the top of every hour from 6am to 9pm.

United flies from EWR 10 times per day on Boeing 737 aircraft.

Using regional jets, Delta flies out of JFK 8 times per day, and from LGA 16 times per day (6am to 10pm, at the top of each hour).


Most one-way flights range in price from $190 to $260. To travel from New York to Boston, I took the US Airways shuttle flight from LGA, which I purchased for 4,500 Avios plus $5.60 instead of paying $254, a terrific value at around 5.5 cents per mile — and a much better option, in this case, than paying cash.

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On weekdays, there are 10 Acela Express trains and depart hourly during rush hour. The trip is about 3.5 hours and will cost you between $113 and $191 for business class. (There is no economy class offered on Acela train service.)

If you are not in a rush and want to save some money, Amtrak also provides 9 Northeast Regional trains that average just under 4.5 hours between the two cities. Ticket prices for reserved coach seats range from $74 to $146. For business class, tickets range from $112-184 depending on the time of day.

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On my return trip from Boston to New York, I took the Amtrak Acela Express from Boston Route 128 Station to New York Penn Station in business class for $151.00. I initially booked this journey for $191 using Chase Sapphire Preferred (earning 2x points per $1 on this travel expense), then checked the fare two weeks later and found that it had gone down $40; I immediately called Amtrak and they gave me the lower price without a problem. (Tip: Always check Amtrak’s ticket price after you book, as Amtrak will reduce your rate without any penalty if the price drops.)

Note that Amtrak can offer great value for Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers if the train fare seems too high.

MegaBus is one bus option for travel between New York and Boston.

Bus Options

For those looking for the absolute cheapest alternative, consider taking a bus. There are two popular bus options to chose from, the Bolt Bus and MegaBus. They each take about 4 hours, 15 minutes and cost $20-40 depending on the time.

MegaBus offers 17 rides per day, and you have the option to upgrade to a reserve seat for a bit more money and a slightly improved experience.

The Bolt Bus offers 7 rides per day, with no upgrade options available.

Beware that getting stuck in traffic is common and can add as many as two hours to your trip, which is why I wanted to avoid this at all costs, especially on a Friday afternoon.

Taking UberBlack between New York and Boston will set you back between $1,065-1,416 — one-way.

Other Options

If you want to avoid all traffic and possibility of delays, Beacon offers private jet service for $2,000 per month for the affluent traveler.

Managing to be more expensive and less practical than all other options is to take Uber to Boston. Using uberestimate.com, the estimated one-way fare for UberX is $629-836, UberBLACK $1,065-1,416 and UberSUV $1,294-1,719 to go from work to my final destination.

My Experience

Personally, I preferred taking the train over flying since the main difference was the stress level and the chaos of the airport compared to the train. However, the most efficient way by far is to fly, if there are no delays.

I left work at 11:45am and was at baggage claim in Boston by 3pm — a total of 3 hours, 15 minutes of travel time. I was shocked how fast the flight was — just 35 minutes of air time. This is clearly geared towards the business traveler/road warrior.

Amtrak Acela Express Business Class

The Acela was not as efficient, but way more enjoyable. I arrived at Amtrak station Route 128 at 3:05pm for my 3:25pm train. However, with a 20-minute delay on board, I did not arrive home until 7:30pm — 4 hours, 25 minutes of travel time. However, the ride is beautiful and still worth it if you have an extra hour or two to spare. In addition there is complimentary wifi on board with power outlets at every seat — something not offered on the flight.

In addition, the entire Acela train is either business for first class making for a more comfortable ride, without someone in coach leaning back into your face and knocking over your soda.

Plane Train Bus
Average Cost $225 $113 $30
Total Travel Time 3:15 4:25 5 hours
On-time factors Weather Depends on Amtrak dispatch Traffic and weather
Comfort level It’s coach Good Bad
Extra time for checkin/security/boarding At least 1 hour 15 minutes 15 minutes

What’s your preferred method when traveling between New York and Boston? Feel free to share below!

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