It is quite the opposite. The tickets get expensive in group fare. As you must have noticed that you cannot buy more than nine tickets from any of the travel portals. So what do you do to buy more than nine tickets? You have to write a mail to the airline for group fare tickets. The price you get after that would always be high compared to the price you saw on the portal. If you want 10-12 tickets you can gamble buying tickets from different portals. However, if you want to buy twenty tickets it can get risky. You may not find the same flight and flight timings.
A possibility is that your group is flying on different flight timings or different airlines. They are scanning all ticket bookings. Therefore, you have no options but to buy the ticket under the `Group Fare’ category. The group fares are always expensive.
The other scenario is what if you want fifty or more than a hundred tickets. First, you may or may not get all the tickets at the same price. Secondly, in case of more than a hundred tickets, you may not get all the tickets on the same flight. The seats are divided into classes by the airlines. It is a travel industry thing, so I will not get too much into it. However, the ticket cost varies according to the classes. For an everyday traveler, you will get a mix of the window, middle or aisle seats. You will get 40 tickets at X amount. You will get 30-40 tickets at XX amount and rest at XXX amount. Each set of ticket fare will be higher than the first one.
Some agents do not buy a hundred tickets for the same group travel. They will buy different timing for the flights. In a group journey, it becomes very hard to coordinate more than a hundred people. Until or unless the client insists that the group come together, the agents then will book the same timings.
Another point to be noted here is that the travel agents have no say in this. If the airline says that they don’t want to sell a hundred tickets on the same flight/time, nobody can do anything about it. Then the client has no option but to split the group.
Let’s say you book thirty tickets under group fare, which you booked 2-3 months in advance. The price let’s say was INR 20,000 x 30. Now the myth goes that you can cancel a few tickets or increase the no. of tickets at the same price. The reality is that you cannot. If you cancel even one ticket the whole `Group Fare’ will be canceled. They will give you `New Group Fare’ as per the rates of that day. Some people have booked more tickets thinking that they can cancel it later. However, the airlines do not allow this.
Now, what if you want to increase the ticket from 30 to 35! Here again, you will not get the group fare of INR 20,000. You will be getting, let say INR 25,000 because you booked these tickets two weeks before the departure. The only advantage you get here this time is that you will get a lesser price than the market/portal price.
To sum it up once a group fare is given it is frozen. You cannot increase or decrease the tickets.
This is the biggest myth associated with group fare. You will not get special treatment at the airport. You have to get in the line like everybody else. There is no priority lane/counter for you. No amount of request will get you ahead of the queue. You just bought 50 or 100 tickets; you are for the airline, like any other customer. Do remember that only the privileged class in the airline is the business class.
It will also be wise that the group gets in the line together. In June 2019, a group of 30 people including me got stuck at the immigration line. Due to season rush, all lines at the immigration were long. We would have missed the flight if we all were not together. It would have been a problem for the airline to leave all 30 passengers. Factors like unloading luggage of thirty people saved us.
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Book your group fare 3 months in advance. You won’t have the names of the passengers at that time. Airlines, however, allow you to freeze the rates by paying 25-40% of the total ticket value. The other benefit is that you get the best rates in group fare. If you are taking dealer, distributors or company tour you can save almost 15-20% on your total package. Airlines allow you to give the names of the passengers 15-30 days before the departure date. I am taking in percentages as all airlines have different rules.
You have to be careful though the advance money is non-refundable.