More than 750 million passengers boarded planes around the United States in 2022. Of those, countless took part in the journey as a group. In fact, group travel is so popular with airlines many have special rates and discounts only available when booking a large number of tickets.
Planning a group trip may sound like the last thing you want to do, but with a few tips, you can unlock group discounts that save you big. Plus, you can ease some of the planning stress by partnering with an airline group coordinator or travel agent. But expect to pay a premium for those services.
In this article, we talk about the best ways to book group flights without breaking the bank. We also cover the number of passengers airlines consider as a group and the various group discounts that flyers can take advantage of.
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Group Size: What’s the Minimum?
While getting a group rate on your family vacation would be a financial dream come true, the typical airline requires ten passengers to unlock discounted group fares. In many instances, it’s cheaper to book individual airfare if you are just shy of the group minimum or barely reach the group minimum.
A few stand-out airlines with a larger number of passengers required for minimum group fare include:
- Southwest Airlines – 25 minimum passengers
- Alaska Airlines – 20 minimum passengers
- Sun Country Airlines – 20 minimum passengers
- Ryanair – 15 minimum passengers
Unless you fly with one of these select airlines, expect to book somewhere between nine and ten tickets to hit the minimum group size requirement.
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Types of Group Discounts Available
Now that you understand the minimum passenger counts for group travel let’s take a look at a few types of group travel discounts your party could receive. Whenever a pilot recognizes a special group flight, it’s likely the group took advantage of one of the following:
- Corporate travel – Business travel happens for a wide range of reasons, from industry conferences to face-to-face meetings. Organizations with unique partnerships, like Middle East oil companies, might have insider deals with national airlines that allow passengers cheaper airfare or better accommodations.
- Government employees – Much like corporate insiders, government officials also have access to discounted group bookings. These passengers receive discounts by bearing the proper documentation.
- Military members – Service members receive special airline privileges unavailable to civilians. From priority check-in and boarding to extra baggage allowances, the benefits of military members extend well beyond just a discounted ticket.
- School groups – School groups and educational institutions may receive special discounts depending on the airline and departure city.
- Sports Teams – College teams, pee-wee teams, and even professional athletes often fly with commercial airlines. And many fly in large groups, qualifying for group rates.
Of course, this is just a tiny sampling of the possible group rates. However, these are the most common, and many of these group reservations come with special considerations or follow specific accessibility guidelines. You will want to verify anything specific for the airline you travel with.
How to Unlock Group Discounts
It can be challenging to know how to get the best price for your group trip between group sizes and types. Luckily, we compiled a few tips that can make the difference between getting an outstanding deal and being taken to the cleaners. From booking everything at once to purchasing with a travel agent, here are the must-use tips to unlock the most significant group flight discounts.
Book All Tickets At Once
When you book group flights, the best way to land the best deal, regardless of individual booking account, is to purchase all the tickets at the same time. While you may not have every group member’s personal data, many airlines allow free name changes or other changes.
For example, American Airlines allows group passengers to change names for tickets up to 48 hours before departure. Other airlines have similar policies, allowing greater flexibility for travel planners.
Booking all your tickets at once also allows you to have optimal seat assignments and prime round-trip options while ensuring your travel dates are not sold out. You can also land better group deals when booking flights during business days instead of weekends, holidays, or high-traffic dates.
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Contact an Airline Group Coordinator
Organizing extensive group travel gets more complicated when you add more considerable numbers of passengers. The risk of deviation rises — incorrect flight details or passenger information, wasted money, or missed flights can all happen when booking for the largest groups.
To avoid this nightmare scenario, you can contact an airline group coordinator. These coordinators are experts in navigating large passenger numbers, giving you an extra hand in uncovering the best rates.
A skilled airline group coordinator will have deep knowledge of airline policies, contracts of carriages, and other restrictions you might miss if you book alone.
Purchase Through a Travel Agent
Like utilizing an airline group coordinator, a travel agency can help you save big on group airfare rates. Travel agents build strong relationships with various airlines, even gaining access to airfare or perks unavailable to passengers.
You have to be cautious, as some travel agents are out to make a quick buck and could leave you with ticket prices that are far from the lowest. Check reviews, ask for testimony, and only get the credit card out at the time of booking.
Of course, you can save yourself the headache of shady travel agents by sticking with Business Class Experts. Our lifelong mission is to make business class more affordable, including premium cabins for group trips. Give us a call today at 1-888-302-0053 and experience what group travel booking can be like with an expert.
Discover the Best Airfare Rates with Business Class Experts
Finding affordable airfare for your group trip is easier than you imagine. Although some airlines have higher restrictions for what they consider group rates, most start offering discounts when you book ten or more passengers.
If you are a traveler flying with a special group, like a government agency, large corporation, or military service member, you can also experience special rates and privileges not available to other passengers.
However, you don’t have to be in a particular group to get special pricing. You can unlock deep discounts for your group flight with a few industry-insider tips. These tips include booking all tickets together and partnering with a travel agent to handle more robust bookings.
When looking for a travel agent, call Business Class Experts. We have professional connections with several airlines to provide business and first-class flights at prices unheard of anywhere on the web. Book with us today and save big on your next group flight!