Professor jokes her airtight ‘super commute’ from NYC to Michigan is faster than past LIRR trips to the city

A “super-commuter” who’s been traveling from New York City to her teaching gig in Ann Arbor, Michigan for over two years claims her weekly routine is so efficient it can feel shorter than when she once rode the Long Island Rail Road into the Big Apple for work.

NYC resident Susan Miller hops on a plane every week to fly to the Midwest where she teaches as a full-time professor at the University of Michigan business school.

“I get to enjoy an atmosphere and culture different from NYC. And it usually takes no more than two hours to fly between New York and Michigan,” she told Business Insider.

“I sometimes joke that it takes me fewer hours to get from my NYC apartment to Ann Arbor, Michigan, than going on the Long Island Railroad into Manhattan for the 23 years I worked there.”

Susan Miller claims her weekly trip is so efficient it feels shorter than when she rode the Long Island Rail Road into the Big Apple for work. LinkedIn
Susan Miller claims her weekly trip is so efficient it feels shorter than when she rode the Long Island Rail Road into the Big Apple for work. LinkedIn

The educator explained the upsides of the unusual travel arrangement and tips to succeed at the reverse commute in an “as-told-to” essay written in first-person by the outlet.

Miller said she’s in better shape from sprinting in airports and knows how to steer in crowded spaces from her back-and-forth travel between the Big Apple and the esteemed state school since she began the weekly journeys in January 2022.

“I know how to navigate flights and Ubers. Plus, I’ve learned how to maneuver quickly around crowded, bustling spaces — I’d even say I’ve gotten physically fitter after dashing through airports so many times,” she said.

“I can pack a small bag fast and cut my airport arrival down to the minute. Knowing how to avoid intense NYC rush hour helps me keep my commute short.”

Miller flies every week to the Midwest — where she is a professor at the University of Michigan business school. Spiroview Inc. – stock.adobe.com
Miller flies every week to the Midwest — where she is a professor at the University of Michigan business school. Spiroview Inc. – stock.adobe.com

Miller also noted she purchases flights way in advance – she already began booking for the fall 2024 semester – so she gets them cheaper and opened a Delta credit card that gives her a 15% discount.

She usually spends between $120 and $250 round trip. The most expensive monthly pass for the LIRR is $468 for the most eastern parts of Long Island.

The instructor told Business Insider she stays in a hotel next to the business school while in the Midwest and because she doesn’t have a kitchen, will either eat at friends’ homes or eat out.

Miller says she opened a Delta credit card that gives her a 15% discount, noting that she purchases flights way in advance. Corbis via Getty Images
Miller says she opened a Delta credit card that gives her a 15% discount, noting that she purchases flights way in advance. Corbis via Getty Images

“I know the hotel staff, and it feels like my second home, without the upkeep,” Miller said.

Her odd travel arraignment began after she was a guest speaker at the school for years, dating back to 2007.

In October 2021, Dr. Mary Hinesly, who is the chair of the Ross School of Business, offered Miller a full-time gig after she guest spoke in her classes many times.

After initial hesitation because of the distance, Miller accepted the offer.

“I think I have the best of both worlds: I teach bright, well-rounded, caring students from around the world, and I get to return home and take advantage of everything that makes New York City exciting and interesting.”

Miller graduated from NYU’s graduate business school and has worked for Colgate, Xerox, American Express and Warner Bros. She has also started other companies.

She pointed out that having grown children allows her to super-commute because she doesn’t have to fret over childcare and urged those who can swing it to give it a go.

“My super-commuter schedule both energizes and fuels me, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon,” she said.