It’s no secret that airlines are scrambling to cover costs this year. One of the most noticeable tactics to that end is the addition, and continual increase, of fuel surcharges. What may be less obvious is that airlines are also reducing the the number of low-fare seats available on any given flight. The result: Low fares still exist but are generally not as low as before, and, will be sold on a limited, first-come, first purchase basis.
What does this mean for your group? It might take some specific strategies to obtain the best group airfare deal. Here are some tips:
- Reserve in advance, up to 9 months in advance, and be ready to pay a deposit for every seat. Most airlines expect groups to be organized and confirmed to travel at least 3 months prior to departure. Anything later is considered “last minute”, and can result in fewer options, higher fares, and expedited payment deadlines.
- Simplify. With a limited supply of cheap seats, airlines will not double book, or otherwise offer multiple quotes for the same group. Focus your search by designating one group leader to work with one Latin America group specialist, who will negotiate the best group fare with each airline
- Consider paying in full, way ahead of time. Although the base fare on most group bookings is locked in with a deposit, fuel surcharges and taxes typically continue to rise, and will be calculated on the final purchase date. With rare exception, only paying in full will guarantee the total price.
- Reserve only the number of seats needed, ideally within at 10% margin. If an airline has, say, 20 seats available at the lowest fare, requesting 30 seats can result in a higher quote for everyone in the group.
- Be flexible. Consider traveling during off-peak travel dates, or be ready to pay a premium.
- For larger groups, consider spreading the group onto separate flights on the same dates, when a reasonable option is available.
For more details about group airfare visit http://www.exitotravel.com/flights/group_flights.htm or contact an Exito Travel Group Specialist at 800 655 4054.