The number one question that we get asked when working with groups is what kind of discount will the airlines offer our group? There is an overwhelming misconception out there that airlines offer heavy discounts for groups. The truth is that airline group travel is usually more expensive, not to mention more work, than if one individual person were to book airline travel.
Why is group airfare more expensive?
The airline usually takes the average seat cost for your flight, not the lowest discounted seat for the group. The heavy discount offers that you see published are typically for a small number of seats. Maybe 10 seats, so if you have a group of 50 people you won’t even see these seats. If you have a group of 100 people traveling, then splitting the group on two different flights will yield a more affordable group fare then if you tried to accommodate all 100 people on one flight.
So why book air group travel? Well for one thing, group bookings guarantee that your entire group will travel together (under 100 people) and that each individual in the group will receive the same airfare. Another benefit to airline group travel is that you have time to pay off the airfare and you have flexibility in the number of seats you are required to purchase. This varies somewhat from airline to airline, with some requesting non-refundable deposits to guarantee schedules and airfare but for the most part it allows for flexibility.
Is airline group travel the best option for groups?
No, not necessarily. If you have a small group (less than 25 people) then I encourage 2-3 group leaders to book the airfare directly with the airline group of 9 seats or less. Just be aware that you will have to pay for the tickets in full and not everyone will have the same airfare so you will need to figure out the average airline cost. Also, if you have an individual that wants to travel with the group but do a return for a later date then I strongly recommend they book their own airline ticket. Airline group travel requires that each individual travel the same date, times thus making this an airline group booking. Many airlines do not allow deviations or offer refunds should an individual require a change or cancellation.
Every airline is different, some better than others. For this reason we encourage group leaders to hire professional group travel planners like UR Tours for airline group bookings.