Wednesday, 10 August 2016

How to book for group travel

AIRPORT PARKING AND HOTELS (APH) has created a guide comparing airline policies for group travel bookings. 

The research compares 19 airlines operating in the UK, including British Airways, easyJet, and Ryanair, and compares the minimum number of passengers required for a group booking, payment terms, booking conditions, and changing and cancelling tickets.

To qualify for a group booking, the minimum number of passengers required to travel together ranges from seven passengers with Aer Lingus to 20 with Ryanair. Travellers should keep in mind that their preferred cabin will affect the number of passengers required for a group booking. Among four of the airlines researched, including Air Canada, the standard 10 person minimum group booking is reduced to six when passengers opt to fly business class. At the other end of the spectrum, groups exceeding 60 people are not permitted to travel on the same flight with easyJet.

When looking at the terms for payment, the full sum is required at time of booking when travelling with five of the airlines researched, including Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and easyJet. Of the 15 airlines that do not require a full payment at time of booking, 10 ask for a deposit at the time of booking, which ranges from £25 per person with Monarch to £100 with Qantas.

For larger groups, it can sometimes be difficult to provide information on each passenger in advance. Two of the airlines researched – Emirates and Virgin Atlantic – demand all travellers' names at the time of booking. But 18 of the airlines compared ask for passenger names to be provided at a later date, and this timeframe varies from at least 60 days ahead of departure with Air France to 72 hours with SWISS Air.

For those who are travelling en masse and want to sit together, six of the 19 airlines researched state that group seating will be reserved where availability permits. To add a personalized touch to a special trip, Emirates offers customized menus and headrests with a group's image of choice, providing they are confirmed at least 15 working days prior to travel. Likewise, for an extra-special occasion, exclusivity or larger group bookings, Qantas offers the option of chartering an entire aircraft. 

The research is available in the Know Before You Go section of the APH website at

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