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I've a situation where I've to make an air booking for around 10 people on a return trip. I've never done a booking for more than 2 people at a time and know that some of the websites do not even support adding more than 6 people on a single PNR.

I've tried contacting an agent and they seem like they won't be able to give me a low price, even though it is 10 people I'm booking for, so I'm thinking of booking it myself using an OTA.

What would be the best way to go about it? The main things that I'm concerned about are

  1. Getting all of them on the same PNR
  2. If I try to book it 1/2 at a time, ticket pricing getting jacked up when the airline algorithm detects that there is some activity on the route that I'm booking.

Is there something that I can do to save some money on such a bulk booking?

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    you could open two booking window on two different devices, and in each start booking some tickets. That way, once you confirm the booking, the other window is already there with the proposed price. However, they normally don't jack them up that fast – Aganju Jul 27 '16 at 16:18
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    Just raising a flag. Something I've been told about but never had reason to try. I don't know the how, but ... for shorter journeys, especially if nobody serves any airport conveniently near where you actually want to travel from and to, you might consider chartering a whole plane. Small planes can use small convenient airports that the large carriers don't serve, which in turn can save a lot on ground travel costs. Plus saves time. – nigel222 Jul 27 '16 at 18:49
  • I think it might cost me more to charter a flight. Anyways I'll do a quick search to see if that is a possibility. Thanks. – edocetirwi Jul 27 '16 at 18:57
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    For 10 people, a charter of a private plane will likely cost more than 10 economy tickets. It will often cost less than 10 first class tickets, though, and might even cost less than 10 business class tickets. Shop around. – Michael Hampton Jul 27 '16 at 19:16
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If you book online with a legacy carrier (e.g. AA, DL, UA, BA), it's not possible to have more than 9 people on a PNR. With some airlines the maximum is 7. If it's a low cost carrier, then this may be different.

If you book directly with the airline as a group booking, the discounts I have read about are not especially significant. You typically gain flexibility in that you can substitute names up until a certain date.

For 10 people, I would call the airline and get a quote but also negotiate with a travel agent. A travel agent can put multiple bookings on hold without you having to pay immediately. The travel agent could generate multiple PNRs with each set of people in the lowest available fare class for each booking.

There is no possibility to trick the booking system by performing multiple bookings "simultaneously".

  • @pnuts I'm not sure what you're saying. Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing? – Berwyn Jul 27 '16 at 18:09
  • @pnuts Oh right. Yeah, I thought if there was a significant group booking discount it would be all over FT. But it isn't... – Berwyn Jul 27 '16 at 18:15
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Typically, the airline will give you better pricing for amounts over 10.

I recommend contacting the airline directly, to at least find out what they would offer; a usual offer is at least 1 in 20 free (=5%), up to 1 in 10 free (=10%).

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    More than 9 is usually considered a "group" reservation. – Nean Der Thal Jul 27 '16 at 17:53

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