FROM ONE SISTER TO ANOTHER
I am asked about group airfare on a daily basis by clients who are traveling in groups. In very rare instances, group airfare may be the way to go, but for the most part, we're not big fans for some very important reasons.
EVERYONE HAS TO FLY THE EXACT SAME SCHEDULE
If we reserve group airfare, everyone in the group has to fly the exact same schedule with no deviations. That means Sally cannot fly in a day earlier and Sandy cannot stay two days longer. It also means that Sally and Sandy have to leave from the same airport and return to the same airport on the exact same flights, even if one lives on the West coast and one lives on the East.
EVERYONE HAS TO FLY IN THE EXACT SAME CLASS OF SERVICE
Sally prefers to fly in Business Class but Sandy wants to fly in economy. We can't do that with group airfare. Everyone flies in the same exact class which generally means the entire group is going to fly in the economy cabin. If someone in the group insists on flying in Business, they are actually removed from the group and pay the published price at the time of the booking. This also can impact meeting the need for a minimum number of travelers.
THE GROUP NEEDS A MINIMUM NUMBER OF TRAVELERS
In order to confirm group airfare, there needs to be a minimum of ten travelers - flying the exact same schedule in the exact same class of service. This can be a disadvantage when you don't meet the minimum and, if anyone changes to published airfare in order to upgrade their seats.
YOU DON'T GET TO CHOOSE YOUR SEATS
The purpose of group airfare is to secure space and so that everyone pays the same price. Unfortunately, you don't get to pick your seats....period. Further, the seating available for group airfare passengers is the least desirable on the plane. The airline will seat you wherever they want to even if it means breaking up couples and families. We have seen many times where a husband is seated in the window seat of row 12 and the wife is seated in row 24 in a middle seat. Despite all efforts, the seats stand where they have assigned you.
GROUP AIRFARE COSTS MORE!
Most people think that group airfare is cheaper than published air, but in truth, it's the opposite. The airline is holding seats for your group that may or may not be filled, leaving the airline to scramble at the last minute to try and sell those seats. There is a price to be paid for that!
Travel advisors have access to consolidator fares for international flights which can save you a lot of money when they are available. We also know many of our clients like to use points to purchase their airfare. In essence, group airfare is not a win for most clients but we'll be happy to help you get the best bang for your buck when looking at flights for you.
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