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Group Trip Advisor

Airline group reservations -- Great options not always the best fares

Group air reservations offer several benefits for groups of 10 or more traveling together for events such as weddings and family reunions. One of the primary advantages of a group reservation is the ability to hold a block of seats with a deposit, rather than paying the full ticket price upfront. Additionally, there is typically flexibility with passenger name changes up to a specific date. This flexibility is especially helpful if some attendees are unsure whether they will be able to attend and others may take their place.

However, several factors can influence the cost-effectiveness of group fares. Depending on the group’s size, travel dates, and destination, group fares might be more competitive than refundable tickets. However, they often cost more than other, less-flexible, ticket options available online. It's worth noting that larger discounts, if available, are typically reserved for bigger groups, usually those with 50 or more travelers.

One of the appealing aspects of group bookings is the assurance that everyone will travel together on the same schedule and pay the same amount. Yet, with early planning, there is usually good availability of individual seats on most flights and, if group members are prepared to book in advance, fares may not vary substantially. It's also vital to understand that group fares are subject to availability, including potential blackout dates. Planning in advance is crucial to avoid such limitations. Additionally, group fares might have fees for changes, additions, or cancellations, so it's important to read the terms carefully.

For those considering group bookings, most airlines have a dedicated group booking department. If you can't locate their group desk online, call the carrier's main booking line to inquire about making a group reservation. Also, remember that you will need to designate a group leader to be the primary contact with the airline.

To help you get started, here are links to group booking resources for the five largest U.S. airlines:

Check out our group reservation guide to learn more about the benefits of group reservations and get wise to some group discount myths.

October 12, 2023