Could booking as a group save you money?

I have recently been trying to plan a school trip to New York. As a geography teacher, I firmly believe in the positive benefits of a field trip and how travel can broaden peoples’ mind sets.

Sadly it was not possible to make it happen this time, but I am hoping that a trip closer to home and then New York the year after will work with the wider school calendar. However, in doing so I had my first experience of planning group travel with British Airways.

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The same booking horizon exists, where seats are released 355 days prior to departure, but the two things that are different are the payment schedule and the price.

I was able to phone up and hold 20 seats on a flight at about T-340 days. In order to keep them, I would have needed to pay a £20 per seat deposit at the beginning of May, 8 weeks after putting them on hold. The balance would be due about 8 weeks before, with the possibility of confirming names of travellers only 2 weeks before departure. This is tremendous flexibility and fantastic payment opportunities.

The second interesting thing was the price. I was quoted return fares LHR – JFK of £381.25 per person. Of that, £301.25 was the taxes and charges; making the fare component £80 per person! This is incredible; tickets on the same flight at BA.com were £681.25 – a fare component of £380 per person. The taxes and APD are the same, but you can look to reduce them somewhat as I discussed in this article.

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Whilst this was for a school trip, there is no requirement for it to be so; anyone can book a group fare. For Economy, you need 10+ passengers; Business is seven and First is four passengers, although I don’t know how the cost would change. Say you decided that you were going to organise a family outing to New York from London. 10 seats with a group booking would cost you £3812.50 and you wouldn’t have to pay anything until 8 weeks out. Booking only 6 tickets on BA.com which were not flexible and required payment upfront would cost you £4087.50.

If you are booking for a larger number, it could certainly work out a lot cheaper to book with a group tariff. I hope to be able to go through with a group booking in the future and will, of course, report on it here when I do.

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Have you used a BA group booking?

 

 

 

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