Shopping airline tickets for your family of four or maybe just your significant other – and not happy with the prices you see?
You’re not alone.
What’s happened is that air travel consumers have had it with “staycations” and are coming back – at least they’re coming back in significant enough numbers to allow the airlines to raise prices (at least for now).
The Key to Paying Less for Airfare
So saving dollars in this environment is more important than ever. How to do that? Understanding how airlines price their tickets is the key to paying less – especially for groups of two or more.
How Airlines Price Tickets for Two or More Passengers
Airline ticket reservations systems are very simplistic when in comes to quoting prices for a trip with two or more passengers.
If the cheapest price point has one seat less than the requested number of passengers, it bumps everyone up to the next price level that has enough seats. If the next price level doesn’t have enough seats to fulfill your ticket request, it will then bump you up to the next highest level.
This means that even though some of your party could actually fly at a cheaper price, you won’t be given that chance.
There are, however, several ways to skin a cat and this simple little tip may save you hundreds of dollars on your flight.
Shop for One Passenger First
To make sure you are getting the cheapest seats for your party, simply shop for one passenger first to see what the base price is and compare it to the same quote you get when shopping for multiple passengers.
Of course, you should also check out multiple sites as well, because at any given moment different sites have different seat inventory and prices – and FareCompare shows you comparisons with many sites, making it the perfect one-stop shopping site for airfare.
I have used this technique for trips with my wife and daughter and saved many times when seat supply has been tight like it is now (and note: you can also use this technique on getting award seats for part of the party).
Split Your Ticket Purchase
To take advantage of this tip, you’ll have to split your ticket purchase with part of your party on one itinerary and the rest on another.
I personally like to use 2 different browsers and get both transactions to the credit card page and then execute them one after another.
On some airline sites, there is a “hold” feature that I like to use.
If you are worried about using this technique, remember that most airlines have a 24 hour cancellation policy and by using your credit card you can keep airlines honest on their policies (the DOT has proposed this 24 hour cancellation policy on all airlines – which most have already).
I always suggest you review both the cancellation and change policies on all your ticket purchases – I wouldn’t swipe that card without doing so.
The other important thing you should do is confirm your seat selections (which might be worth paying for, if you have to) so that at least some in your party can be seated together.
Airline reservations systems also typically have a limit of 6 to 8 passengers per purchased itinerary.
If you have larger group, then you should call the airline’s “group sales” number so they can override this online maximum.
Don’t forget: shop for one person on the route, before calling the number – so you are armed with that base price point.
The following is a list of airlines and their group booking information pages: