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Getting deals for one traveler is much easier than getting deals for a group – especially when it comes to air travel. You might be able to cut costs on shared hotel rooms and ground transportation, but in the air, the advantage goes to the solo flyer. A single flyer is usually more flexible on dates, times and where on the plane they are available to sit, so he or she can hunt those cheaper fares.
But it’s not impossible to get a better deal when you’re traveling with a bigger group, such as extended family, and there is one surefire way to get a better price on at least some of those flights: search fares for solo travelers when looking for the best prices, then input the number of tickets you really need to buy.
You might notice that the price has gone up compared to your initial search. This is usually because only a certain number of seats on each flight are available at a given price. Buying seats on an airplane is not unlike buying tickets to a concert: At a concert, if there are two $20 seats, a party of two will get them. If you have three people in your party, you’re going to be bumped up to the next price bracket when searching for the “best available” because the systems will assume that you all want to sit together. The same is true for airlines – and you already know that a big party will likely have to sit in different places around the plane, so you may as well just book in groups of twos and threes if that is what it takes to snag all those lower fares. It’s better to pay extra on only half of your tickets, not all of them. Try to book your tickets as early as you can, for maximum availability of those lower-price fares.
One other trick that can help is changing airlines for different legs of a multi-city trip. You can use the same technique as above and can sometimes cut the price down when one leg of the trip happens to be a very full flight. Changing planes and airlines may end up being more hassle then it is worth (especially if you’re traveling with small children or a lot of luggage), but if you travel light, you might end up with some substantial savings over the whole group.
If you have a party of more than 10, you might be able to get a group discount from some airlines and it is better to call them directly than to bother too much with the flight search engines