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About Group Airfare
How group airfare works

How group airfare works

What is group airfare?

Group airfare is a rate offered by airlines for parties traveling with 10 or more passengers. In order to shop and book group airfare it is necessary to contact the airline group travel department from which you wish to purchase seats, though many airlines only sell group airfare to registered travel agencies and travel management companies. 

Bacarai is an online travel platform that allows groups to book group airfare online. Learn more about Bacarai and how we can help with your group travel needs.

Is group airfare discounted?

Different airlines price group airfare differently, though in many cases it is the average of each passenger’s fare class in your group. When requesting quotes for group airfare, the rate quoted per passenger is often higher than the offers you find on an OTA like Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia, though the total spend might be less than if every group member bought tickets individually. 

The benefits of booking group airfare are: 

  • Group airfare is usually sold on a group airfare contract that allow groups to lock in rates
  • Booking group airfare contracts secures seats at the maximum size you believe your group will be, while you can change this amount before the utilization date 
  • It allows seats to be reserved with a deposit that is often refundable up to 90 days before travel (depending on the airline).

Check out our comprehensive guide to group airfare pricing as well as our guide to when you should book group airfare. 

How to get a group airfare contract

There are many ways you can shop for group airfare. Some airlines allow anyone to contact their group travel department to request group airfare rates. However, these airlines may provide better terms and conditions to registered travel agencies. Additionally, some airlines only allow registered travel agencies to request group airfare from their group travel department.

Bacarai allows all groups to search and book group airfare online with a free account.

However you choose to procure a group airfare contract, the terms and conditions are relatively similar across most major airlines. Each airline has different policies, while travel agencies or travel management companies may require additional steps and charge extra fees to both protect their financial liability and cover their sales costs.

The group trip lifecycle

Aside from the passenger rate, a group airfare contract details key dates by which certain actions are required in order to maintain the space and avoid deposit penalties. The important dates and dues are as follows:

Acceptance/Signature date: Depending on how the group airfare contract was sourced, there is typically a date by which the contract must be confirmed in order to guarantee the rate and seats for the group’s passengers. 

Booking fee date: Booking fees can be charged by airlines in order to request a group airfare contract. This fee is applied to the final contract balance, however this fee is non-refundable. A booking fee is usually required at the same time as contract acceptance. Booking fees may vary both based on the airline, along with the details of the itinerary. For instance, airlines typically charge higher booking fees for international travel.

Deposit fee date: Almost all airlines will allow group airfare to be booked with a deposit fee. For example, an airline might charge $50 per passenger. This fee is commonly charged within two weeks of contract acceptance, though time frames shift based on varying factors.

Utilization date: Due to the nature of group travel, most airlines allow groups to completely cancel their trip or reduce the amount of passengers on their trip without penalty. This means that with most airlines your deposit can be refunded minus any applicable fees. This date is usually set 90 days prior to the travel date of the first flight, though airlines like Southwest and Jetblue set utilization to the deposit date. For airlines with this policy, refunds are not available.

Groups may reduce the amount of seats initially requested after the utilization date, but in most cases the deposit fees are forfeit after this time. Seats may also be added to the contract, however a price adjustment may be required for any additional seats over the original request.

Final payment date: The balance left on a group contract is generally due within 30-45 days of travel.

Ticketing: Once final payment has been received, passenger information must be provided to the airline in order to ticket each passenger. Once tickets have been issued, passengers will have the ability to contact the airline directly for seat selection.

Name changes: Many airlines allow free name changes up to a few days before travel. This makes the seats reserved on a group contract highly interchangeable between potential travelers.

Bacarai acts as an online travel agency offering simple booking and management of all major airlines group airfare contracts. Check out our guide to booking with Bacaraito understand how to use our platform. For additional information regarding group airfare, please contact our expert travel team.