Simple Airfare Savings Tip for Groups of Two or More

If you ever fly with family or friends, this tip could save you money. It’s not for solo travelers, but for anyone who will be boarding a plane in a party of two or more. And it’s simple enough to fit in a six word phrase:

Shop One Passenger at a Time

That’s it. When shopping for airfare, shop one passenger at a time. Buy your tickets one-by-one.

Listen as airfare expert Rick Seaney explains this tip to editor Anne McDermott who says, it’s really simple:

Let me show you how it can work and notice I say “can.” That’s because it may not always save you money, but you won’t know until you try. Give it a whirl – you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

Which are the cheapest days to fly? We tell you.

How to Shop

Say you want to shop for airline tickets for a family of four – follow these two simple steps:

  • When asked for the number of passengers, go ahead and enter “4” and see what airfare prices is given for your trip. Don’t buy yet.
  • Now go back to the start but this time when asked the number of passengers, enter “1.” If you’re quoted the same price as you got for four people, you can go back and buy all your tickets in the same transaction. However, if you get a lower price, good news – it means you’ll get some savings. Book that ticket and others one by one until the price jumps. When that happens, you can go ahead and purchase the remaining tickets all at the same time.

One more tip: Save 20 – 60% every time you fly

What You Need to Know

A lot of travelers don’t realize this, economy seats – in the same flight – can sell for several difference prices. Pricing varies depending on what the airlines think you’ll pay at any given moment. But here’s the big deal: airline reservation systems require that when there are multiple tickets sold in a single transaction, those tickets must be the same price. In other words, if there are two seats left at $100, and the next price level is $200 – and you book four tickets at once – you’ll be charged $200 for each ticket. But, if you book one at a time, you pay just $100 each for two seats, and $200 a piece for the remaining two. You’ve just saved $200 and that’s something.

So what will you pay now that the Big Merger is underway?

Again, it won’t work every time and maybe not most times – it all depends on seat inventory and the day’s pricing – but you won’t know until you try. Don’t spend money you don’t have to.

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Published: February 19, 2013