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jg25

Group (Total - 22) looking for best Airline to book Shannon - Miami

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Any advice, experience in this process or tips to a first timer in charge of looking after peoples flights would be greatly appreciated.

 

Are there benefits to doing a group booking rather than everybody booking their own?

Is it cheaper?

What airline to try or to avoid?

 

Advice much appreciated, John. :)

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You probably need to talk to a travel agent to access the discounted rates for group travel.

 

There really isn't much difference in coach between the various airlines. I would be looking at what airlines might give you a group rate, and schedules, before trying to weigh "best", what ever that might mean to you.

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Thank you Bruce. I suppose what I meant by best was in reference to price and flight times. We would look for a morning flight from Ireland, possibly travelling through NYC or London and returning on a morning departure from Miami.

 

I would also consider using Fort Lauderdale.

 

I hadn't considered talking to a travel agent, thank you for that tip.

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Having ran numerous group tours, call several of the airlines you are interested in and talk to their group sales agents. Tell them how many people you have, the days you want to travel, if there is flexibility, and starting and ending points. Let them come back with a proposal to you.

 

Don’t overwork it, let the airlines figure out any connections necessary. After you have their proposals, you can decide which is best. If you are booking well in advance you should expect discounted ticket prices.

 

In their proposal to you, they will all have various time line conditions on various aspects. Included will be min participation numbers, dates to lock in actual numbers, dates to give actual names, date for reservation fee, date for final payment, etc. Ensure you totally understand those timelines and are capable of meeting them. They will/May vary by Carrier.

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Be forewarned, Talk is cheap. When you give the participation numbers to the airlines, ensure you know what the minimum number of flyers is to get those prices.

 

As you put together all your individual items, flights, hotels, transportation, included entrance fees, any included meals , and a contingency fund, you’ll develop a cost Budget for the trip.

 

Once that happens and you go to your trip members and say “here are your cost, I need a down payment of X by month end”; that’ll be the last you’ll hear from some of those members. Talk is cheap! Understand that you must have X participation to get Y pricing.

 

Word to the wise. Unless you are planning on staying in large mega hotels, booking rooms for 22 (11 rooms or more if someone demands single occupancy) is often difficult. Make sure you have an early hotel commitment for that size of group .

 

Good Luck!

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I really appreciate that advice, a lot of it is relevant to us.

 

We are looking at booking a year in advance so I hope discounted tickets will be a possibility as they’ll only have loaded the flights.

 

Also, love the username (y)

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Echo the thoughts written above.

 

An important question you need to answer, for yourself, is WHY would we be booking as a group rather than as individuals? As mentioned above, though you may get lower pricing, you may find that the restrictions are or are not worth any savings. Things to recognize include cancellation penalties and loss of any individual wishes for different flights, routings or airline.

 

Be aware that you, as the organizer, may very well be on the hook for any financial payments. How "reliable" are the members of your group? Will they stay with the group if they find "a deal" elsewhere?

 

One last thought...when there's a group like this, you will often just get full rows of seats assigned to you. Who's gonna take the flak for being put in a middle?

 

The organizer's role is a difficult and often unappreciated one. Go in with eyes wide open and good luck.

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Once you’ve accepted a proposal, the airlines will send you a contract with all the details clearly spelled out, including the financial obligations. You will be required to execute that contract.

 

I didn’t get into the seat assignments morass! Lol, that’s another gem. Seat assignments won’t be done until after the airlines receives full payment. The airlines don’t block off seats for you exactly. They continue to allow other passengers to buy and select seats, then they attempt to mostly put the Group loosely together in seats not already reserved. I’ve had Groups your size strung out over 6 or 7 different rows, usually all towards the rear.

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Is it possible to haggle on price somewhat with the airlines or is that a waste of time?

I see some of them (United being an example) ask you to make them an offer.

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UA asks you to make an offer? Is this the online bid form? Most flights are flying pretty full. Don't know what kind of pricing you'll get. There are other advantages of group bookings.

Don't know of any airline that will "haggle."

Edited by 6rugrats

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Got you. Yes, UA look for you to make an online bid or offer. Don’t really know why.

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I have gotten them to give me better connections than originally offered. That in a way is price haggling since those connections normally show as more expensive. However, I’ve never gotten them to drop the actual $ number.

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Again, thanks folks.

I think the real perk here will be having to pay only a 20% deposit as il be booking 2A + 2C, including a stopover in NYC. Paying up in full would be pricey.

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Again, thanks folks.

I think the real perk here will be having to pay only a 20% deposit as il be booking 2A + 2C, including a stopover in NYC. Paying up in full would be pricey.

 

BUT.... to echo others, if YOU are the point person on this, make darn sure your group members aren't going to back out and leave you hanging. So many potential pitfalls...

- someone finds a better deal elsewhere, perhaps using their frequent flyer miles, then someone else does likewise, and next thing you know you don't have enough for the group minimum and the price goes up...and everyone else in the group is upset with YOU because the price today isn't the price you initially "promised"

 

- someone finds out later that perhaps the restricted group ticket won't let them pay for an upgrade, or won't give them full frequent flyer miles or whatever and gets upset with YOU

- someone won't like the flight schedule

- someone won't like the group seats that are assigned...often in the back of the plane and often middle seats

- you may have to pay for all the tickets (or deposits) together and wait for everyone to reimburse you, which can be a real pain in the neck

 

- a host of other things.

 

I have put together trips for groups of friends/family multiple times, though none quite that large, and ALWAYS make it clear that everyone is in charge of arranging their own airfare. Everyone dilly dallys around so usually I end up saying "We (my bf and I) have booked our air, here is our itinerary" and then whoever wants to can book the same flights or find other flights that suit them better. Either way, once we've booked ours it usually gets everyone else moving to get theirs booked pretty quickly. Once they know we've booked and they are responsible for their own, they don't want to feel left out and it's amazing how competent they suddenly become. Before we book ours it's an endless email chain of "when is everybody flying over," "what airline is everyone flying on," "what time is everyone leaving" and that drives me crazy, lol.

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Looks like really solid advice there - thank you.

My thinking behind booking as a group was so that I could secure seats early at a good price and with a low deposit, thus reducing initial cost.

Now I'm wondering am I as well off saving up, booking when we are ready and as you said advising others of our flight plans when booked.

Something to think about!

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You have other considerations also. Air is only one part of the logistics . Group transportation is another. Unless you are also requiring your fellow passengers to get to your first hotel on their own, allowing people to fly in, at will, is not practical. My Groups often have tours and sightseeing on that first before we go to the hotel. Last thing I want is a bunch of people peeing and moaning about their room not being ready at 11:00 in the morning! Load them all up, sightsee, have lunch, then get them to your hotel after the appropriate check in time.

 

I normally require multiple payments from my group attendees. The first payment goes to the airlines for the down payment which I tell the Group is non refundable. Actually that down payment to the airlines is not a number of people specific payment, but it locks in the Group. All the final accounting is done when the contract demands a final total of passengers be locked in, which will be months later.

 

I never alllow my Group to take alternate air, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. You get your numbers and tell them “here’s your deal, if you like it I need this much money now as a down payment, if not goodbye “. The same people wanting to haggle over different airlines and use of FF miles will then want to argue over which hotel they stay in to get their hotel rewards points! You don’t have time for those people, snip them in the bud immediately.

 

When working with the airlines, ensure your deal includes at least one checked bag and one carryon for all. Don’t play games with making them pay for such at the airport.

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You haven’t specified exactly what this Group will be doing, but airfare is actually one of the easiest aspects of the planning. As long as your Group makes the minimum number for the special rate fare, then the airfare per person is fixed and budgetary. Same goes with the hotel, you’ll negotiate a rate with group sales per room and that price is fixed. Make sure you get all the included taxes and fees upfront!

 

The part that will keep you up at night is ground transportation. You’ll find different tour companies have slightly different size buses, but as an example let’s say they are roughly 15 passenger and 25 passenger buses. Those are fixed prices,X. So if you have 22, the price for budgetary purposes would be X/22. But what happens if the number becomes 17 or 18? Still to large for the smaller bus, but the price per has escalated. A problem with the smaller buses is they often don’t have enough room for luggage. Therefore, even with a small group, if you’re changing hotels frequently, you’ll need the larger bus. Otherwise, if you stay at one locale, one might only rent the larger bus for transportation to and from the airport and use the smaller van the other days. Also remember that the buses are typically for Y number of hours a day. If you dilly dally at one location or another, you will accrue additional hourly costs if something else isn’t cut out.

 

Trouble is when are you going to allow people to cancel and get any money back? My advice is to put plenty of contingency in your preliminary budget. If you don’t end up using it you can keep it for your troubles or buy them lunch somewhere along the way. But don’t spend it before the end of the trip. Arrangements for transportation is by far the biggest headache Budget wise!

 

Enjoy!

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Looks like really solid advice there - thank you.

My thinking behind booking as a group was so that I could secure seats early at a good price and with a low deposit, thus reducing initial cost.

Now I'm wondering am I as well off saving up, booking when we are ready and as you said advising others of our flight plans when booked.

Something to think about!

 

Think SERIOUSLY about it. Serving as the de facto travel agent is setting yourself up for a TON of hassle, extra work (that no one will truly appreciate) and problem solving.

 

 

You have other considerations also. Air is only one part of the logistics . Group transportation is another. Unless you are also requiring your fellow passengers to get to your first hotel on their own, allowing people to fly in, at will, is not practical. My Groups often have tours and sightseeing on that first before we go to the hotel. Last thing I want is a bunch of people peeing and moaning about their room not being ready at 11:00 in the morning! Load them all up, sightsee, have lunch, then get them to your hotel after the appropriate check in time.

 

The same people wanting to haggle over different airlines and use of FF miles will then want to argue over which hotel they stay in to get their hotel rewards points! You don’t have time for those people, snip them in the bud immediately.

 

When working with the airlines, ensure your deal includes at least one checked bag and one carryon for all. Don’t play games with making them pay for such at the airport.

 

Again, I would strongly advise trying to negotiate group transfers etc. If everyone is on the same flight right from the start, fine. But as I advise against arranging everyone's flights, they'll arrive at different times. These people are adults, and if you give them the available options and tell them what YOU have arranged for yourself, you'll be surprised at how competent they become. Just give them the tools they need- give them transfer options, links to train schedules, possible airline routings etc.

 

 

Example:

I literally just (on Sunday night) returned from a trip to Italy with 11 people, some of whom were traveling to Europe for the first time. We stayed in a villa in Tuscany for a week, in which I've stayed twice before. Everyone gave me deposit money for the villa and we booked it. I arranged some things through the villa (the owner is fantastic and makes winery appointments, does a cooking lesson, can cook meals for us, all for a price of course and we settle up with her at the end). Everything else I made clear people were on their own before and after villa check-in and check-out, especially flights. I gave everyone the tools they needed to do things on their own. Depending on everyone's individual flight arrangements and pre-villa plans, that included giving a ballpark on what to expect for airfare, suggested cities to fly into and options for staying somewhere for a few days before or after our week in the villa if they desired, advising them on not expecting their hotel room to be ready right away if they arrived early morning, assorted transfer options to/from airports in Rome and Florence including links to train and bus schedules etc. One couple planned to book a hotel right by the Rome airport for a couple of nights, and I advised that the airport was nowhere near the city of Rome and would make sightseeing over a period of days difficult so they changed their plans. I didn't book their hotel, I just gave them information they needed to make a better choice of a hotel in the city center. As it turned out, 7 of us booked the same Rome hotel, so I arranged a car service to take the 7 of us to the Rome train station to get a train to Florence on villa check-in day. The 4 made their own arrangements based on information and tools I gave them.

 

 

If you want to have absolutely everything arranged so that everyone has exactly the same flights, same hotel, same transfers etc. hire a travel agent. Let them do the work and let them take the heat when something goes wrong! Otherwise, give them information and links, and let them be adults and do their own thing. That way they can arrive earlier or depart later for additional sightseeing if they choose, they can use frequent flyer miles or hotel points if they choose, they can decide if they like flying earlier or later in the day, etc. etc.

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Going to take the excellent advice given on here.

I will plan our own schedule and advise others of it - they can then choose to do as they please. If it turns out that they wish to do same (dates, hotels etc...) then a Group Booking Re flights might still work. Thank you.

 

We are from Ireland so are not overly familiar with the area we will be visiting, although my wife and I have been. It is close family who will travel with us, parents and siblings and they are happy to follow our lead. Air miles aren't relevant to us. What will be more important with children included is flight times and stopovers. Going via NYC looks suitable for this reason.

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Does anybody know when United usually have a fare sale in Europe?Flights are currently over €800 and that’s quite pricey for us.

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Does anybody know when United usually have a fare sale in Europe?Flights are currently over €800 and that’s quite pricey for us.

 

"Sales" rarely happen at scheduled or predictable times. Airlines prices commonly fluctuate, and airlines use complicated algorithms that look constantly evaluate the ever-changing data (supply, demand, sale trends, expected sales, market conditions etc.) to offer or withdraw seats in various fare buckets.

 

Also, I'm not sure why you are focused on United only. ???

You mentioned connecting in either London or New York so you could also be considering American, Delta, British Air, Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus.

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I've narrowed it down as Delta finish operations prior to month of travel from Shannon. Virgin Atlantic involves London stop and don't codeshare with Aer Lingus so should we have problems Shannon to London we would be in serious bother. BA and United are only 2 viable options. Shannon is 15m drive and we have small children in group so we are looking only at Shannon as a departure point.

I understand what your saying as regards flights and how the airlines create ticket prices.

Just will have to keep a close watch.

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