When a group flight booking is made, it is different from individual reservations. When we sign a contract with an airline group department, we must adhere to their rules and regulations regarding that contract. Sometimes the rules seem odd, even to us!
How is a group booking different from an individual reservation?
When we make a group reservation, we are promising the airline that a specific number of people will travel on the same flights both outbound and return. By doing this, the airline gives us a group rate, allows us to hold seats with only a deposit and to drop seats from the booking for a specified period. Seems like a good deal, right? It is, but a group booking does not have the flexibility of an individual reservation. Routings and city pairs cannot be changed, the tickets are non changeable, non upgradeable and non refundable. You cannot use mileage to pay for tickets or upgrades and you cannot select your seat. Sometimes you can even find less expensive seats online, but remember, you are booking one seat and we are contracting many seats on the same schedule!
What can I expect from a group booking?
You can expect to know the group flight schedule 8-10 months in advance of your tour.
You can expect to travel with your group on a scheduled airline.
You can expect your Tour Manager and Driver to monitor your flight arrival and departure.
You can expect to be assigned a block of seats with individual seats assigned at check in.
Deviation or Land Only
If the group flights don’t work with your travel plans, there are some options.
DEVIATION (returning at a later point in time): You may only deviate from the group booking on the return flight and generally you must return from the same city from which the group returns. You may make a written request to CTC to return from the same city as the group, at a later date. This must be confirmed by the airline, through our office and is on a space available basis. There is a deviation fee of $75.00 plus any fees or additional fare assessed by the airline.
LAND ONLY: If you want to leave the USA earlier than the group or need to return from a different city than the group, or a group flight deviation does not otherwise work for your plans, you may purchase a Land Only tour package, and arrange for your own flights. Many times individual flights booked online offer more control over the booking. So, if you:
Are comfortable booking flights online
Want to choose your seat assignment in advance
Want to check in for your flight or print your boarding pass in advance
Want to purchase a seat or cabin upgrade
Want to use frequent flyer mileage
Want to return from Europe from a different city than the group
We suggest that you consider a Land Only tour package and pursue individual flight arrangements.
Make sure you discuss your options and the group flight arrangements with your tour coordinator before purchasing any airline tickets.
The bottom line is that it is very important to be in communication with your tour coordinator to discuss the best option for you.