Tips for Booking Group Airline Tickets
Booking tickets for a group journey can feel daunting. The airline industry changes often: fees, flight times, group policies, and a hundred other details can intimidate the best road warrior. When booking flights for your team, there are a few little tricks of the trade that can make your job much easier.
Agent vs Shopping Alone
If you are someone who (a) doesn’t have the time (b) or doesn’t have the bandwidth to wrestle through the airline ticket maze, you can go through an agent that will do all the work. It will cost you an average of $50 more a ticket to go through an agent, but that may be worth it to take the weight off your shoulders. Wonder Voyage partners with a reputable organization that works to get our teams the best prices and routes without charging the $50 fee.
If you decide to book for your group on your own, it’s not particularly difficult as long as you follow a few simple tasks. Either way, group ticket sales require a minimum of 10 tickets and should be completed 6 to 9 months in advance for the best pricing.
Establishing an Estimate
Most team leaders need an estimate a year in advance. To get an estimate, go to the airline websites you are considering and check out prices. You’ll probably get a better deal than what is listed, but it shows you where to start the budgeting for tickets.
To get the best deal possible, focus on two or three airlines that are flying to your destination. Contact their group departments and work with an agent to get the best deal possible. Buying group tickets online is a BAD IDEA. You have significantly less leverage when it comes to changing or adapting your trip in any way. Once you get your initial quotes, let the other airline representatives know what you are getting so they can bid against each other and give you the best price.
Each airline carries different policies when it comes to deposits but, for the most part, you will probably need a $100 deposit per ticket. Names and full payments for the tickets are typically required six weeks prior to departure. Ticket changes cost extra, and you may lose your deposit if you cancel tickets.
Nothing Free About Airmiles
Using airmiles is a great tool for individuals but a nightmare when establishing group tickets. Our suggestion is that you require a team traveling together to work in the same group. Adding an individual ticket, that can easily go awry, will be a nightmare. Tell your team to save their airmiles for personal use.
Direct is Best
Last summer, 40% of our June flights for groups were changed, canceled, or rescheduled at the last minute. The more connections you add into a flight, the greater the chance for something to go wrong. Time is the most valuable gift you have on a trip. You want as much time as possible. Delays steal that time. You will significantly lower the chance of delays by booking the most direct flights possible. It may cost more, but a $200 difference is better than showing up two days later than planned.
Please double-check with your Voyage Coordinator to make sure your tickets line up with the itinerary you’ve paid for. At Wonder Voyage, we arrange your itineraries months in advance. If you book the wrong days you’ll be on your own during those times. All it takes is a phone call to confirm your tickets are correct.
Booking group airline tickets doesn’t have to be a scary task. A few simple rules, a little bit of time, and thoughtful choices can save you time, money, and headaches.
After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.