Good things to know when preparing for your flight: Group Booking
Group flight bookings are made by persons with a common destination and usually a common purpose at the location. Whether attending business conferences, cultural or art centres, family celebrations, educational sites, or simply holidaying with a group of friends, group flight bookings can offer quite a few benefits besides convenience. Most airlines will accommodate the needs of persons who wish to be processed as a group from check-in through to arrival and be seated together on board, and have special sales teams who are trained to facilitate a smooth journey for all. Besides cheaper fares, some airlines may, in certain circumstances, offer benefits such as free baggage allowances and priority check-in. Airlines only allocate a certain number of seats in each flight class to group bookings so it would be advisable to book flights as far in advance as possible. Most group bookings are accepted after payment of an initial deposit and full settlement is usually required approximately 8 weeks prior to flying. Group bookings make flight plans far easier to coordinate for those wishing to remain together for the duration of a trip and therefore remove much of the stress that would normally be associated with such an endeavour.
How many passengers constitute a group?
Airline policies may differ regarding the minimum number of persons required before being considered a group; requirements also vary between the flight classes. Group bookings in economy class generally require a minimum of 10 people, while business or first class numbers are less. Should the number of passengers drop below the minimum number at the time of flying, then deposits may be forfeited and special flight rates invalidated. The maximum number of seats allocated to group bookings is usually around 50 on international flights and 20 on domestic flights. Groups larger than this may be split and accommodated on two separate flights.
Terms and conditions relating to group bookings:
Because of the limited number of seats allocated for group bookings, airlines will request that flight dates be specific and a deposit be paid to secure the booking. Provision will usually be made for one or two passengers who may be unable to fly on the specified date to travel on another flight without forfeiture of a special rate or other benefits. Initial group bookings can be made without specific details regarding names of passengers, but these must be finalised at least 8 weeks prior to flying to facilitate the issuing of tickets. Passenger changes after tickets have been issued will usually be done at an additional fee; late cancellations will forfeit deposits.
Although airlines will do all in their power to treat a group as a single entity, unforeseen circumstances may dictate that one or two of a group are required to be seated apart. Smooth transition, as a group, through security checks can also not be guaranteed by an airline as responsibility for this lies with the individual passenger.