When it Makes Sense to Book Group Airfare

Group airfare is a unique product offered by airlines that allows trip organizers to hold large blocks of space. While it does have some amazing features, the product is not for everyone.

For this conversation, group contracts are the product that every airline sells to groups of 10 or more passengers, traveling together on the same plane. For simplicity sake, think of a school trip (this is an extremely common use case). 

Group organizers have a completely different shopping experience from someone who is just buying a single airline ticket. In the leisure/individual travel world, the user shops a flight they want, and pays for the ticket in full. 

In the group travel world, organizers shop for quotes, sign a contract holding the space, pay a per person deposit, submit a names list of passengers, submit a final balance, and ticket the group. This all happens over the course of several months.

If you are looking to book group airfare, be aware that here in the United States (and often around the world) group rates are typically more expensive on the surface then your single seat. 

For example, it would not be uncommon to experience the following scenario. 

Let’s say you search for a single ticket from New York to Orlando. That ticket may run you $250. 

Now, let’s say you run the same search but instead of just for yourself, you do it for your child’s 8th grade class of 50 students. 

It would be commonplace for you to get a quote for around $290-$330.

Group airfare is typically more expensive (which we cover in-depth here). However, there are some amazing benefits:

  • You can hold space for 14 days without collecting money from everyone in your group.
  • After you submit a deposit, you don’t have to pay the flight in full until 30-45 days prior to departure.
  • Your tickets are refundable (up until a certain point)
  • You can add or reduce seats easily
  • You are allowed free name changes up until 72 hours prior to your departure
  • You guarantee everyone pays the same rate

We believe the group contract is best suited for groups who need to fly together, or for trip organizers that have a general idea on the number of people going on the trip but need flexibility.

The product aligns itself nicely for:

  • Schools
  • Sports teams
  • Performance groups
  • Religious groups
  • Business travel 
  • Senior groups

If a group is price sensitive and wants flexibility in departure times and airline class of service, we would recommend booking individual tickets. You won’t have all the aforementioned flexibilities, but you’ll likely save a little bit of money and have more control. 

Over the course of the past several years, we have sold over 82 million dollars worth of group airfare. During that span, we have seens tons of requests for destination weddings, family reunions, and bachelor/bachelorette parties. 

While you can certainly use group contracts for any group of 10+ passengers flying together, we haven’t seen a lot of success in those types of groups using the products. 

Often, the groups are too fragmented, and they don’t absolutely need to fly together, they can simply plan to be at their destination in or around the same time.