How are flight prices calculated for groups?

Modified on Thu, 10 Aug, 2023 at 10:45 AM

A look behind the scenes often helps to better understand the very dynamic prices on the flight market.


Let's take a quick look at how the price of a flight ticket is actually made up.


The ticket price consists of 2 parts: 


Base rate 

(fixed sales price of the airline)


Airport taxes including the kerosene surcharge

(vary depending on the airport, which is why the ticket prices can also change minimally on a daily basis)

If you hire an intermediary like Intertours, an agency fee/service fee will be added to the ticket price. 


Let's take a closer look at the first component, the base fare - because how does the airline set this price?

The answer is simple: The airline operates classic yield management here and demand controls the base price. To this end, the airlines have created different fare classes, each with different assigned "basic prices". If there is a high demand, the cheapest fare classes are already fully booked (or blocked by the airline) and only prices for a more expensive basic fare are available. 


Airport taxes vary per route and departure/destination airport, so a smaller, less frequented airport can sometimes be a few bucks cheaper. However, the proportion of airport taxes (apart from the kerosene surcharge) is always approximately the same, regardless of which basic tariff the airline applies. 

But be careful with transfer connections: the double kerosene surcharge and additional airport taxes of the transfer airport often apply here.


There is one more crucial variable: The aircraft!

An airline never allocates 100% of the available seats in the aircraft as a group contingent. For particularly large groups, take a look at the aircraft used and calculate with around 40% to a maximum of 70% possible group seats on the machine. 



So how are group flight prices calculated?

The Group flight price is the mixed calculation from the available fare classes and the number of people. So you get the same price for everyone. Some airlines then grant a small group discount, while other airlines add a special fee for group bookings. If you need to add to the group at a later point in time (increase the number of people), this is possible with many airlines, but the price may then be different.


If you look online for a single flight for one person and this flight costs EUR 250, for example, the next seat could cost EUR 300 directly after booking, the next one EUR 350 etc. The total price cannot be estimated here and the costs quickly explode.


So note that the price per person for group flights is usually a bit more expensive than the first price displayed online for a single flight. There is no “bulk discount” for group flight tickets, as is the case with commodities such as pens.


The time of booking is particularly important, because the earlier you book, the more booking classes and group allotments are still available. This also means that more cheaper booking classes fall into the mixed calculation. 

The misconception that connecting flights are often cheaper depends on the occupancy of the aircraft at the time of booking. Direct flights are often more attractive and efficient, so the demand is often higher and it is quite possible that a connecting flight has even cheaper booking classes available and thus a cheaper ticket price (despite increased airport taxes) can be calculated.


How do the airline systems react to multiple flight requests?

With every booking/request for the desired flight, you increase demand. The sensitive airline systems notice this quickly and the price is adjusted accordingly. This means that the demand is suddenly increased on certain routes/routes with x requests times x agencies, e.g. 50 places x 5 agencies = 250 places demand. For this reason, it does not always make sense to place the request with several agencies, but to ask specifically so as not to inflate the price yourself.


So you're wondering, if the advantage with groups isn't price, then what are the advantages of flying in a group anyway?

What are the advantages of a group flight compared to a single flight?

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