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Airfare is subject to change at any given moment, and it's riskier to book tickets for a group of people. Airlines typically don't book group flights unless you have 10 passengers or more. If you're traveling with a smaller group, you'll miss out on the discounts and competitive fares airlines offer for group flights. Consider these tips to keep ticket prices low.

1. Book one ticket a time.
Airlines often sell multiple fare classes at different prices, with only a couple of seats in each class. If you search for eight tickets, and the airline only has seven at the lowest fare, the airline's computers will bump all the tickets up to a higher price level. Just in case there are limited seats on sale, search for tickets one at a time. That way, you'll be certain to purchase some—if not all—of your tickets at the lowest possible price.

2. Call the airline's sales office.
If you need 10 or more tickets, don't go online at all. Rather than calling the airline's reservation number, call the airline's sales office. An airline website only reflects the inventory the travel provider wants to make available online. More often than not, an airline's sales office will give you a discounted group rate. Depending on how many people you're traveling with, they might also throw in a free ticket.

3. Search for flights midweek.
Airlines tend to launch their sales on Tuesdays and end them on Thursdays. Advertised fare sales generally target the next two to three months of travel, and have advance purchase requirements of 14 to 21 days.

Information adapted from Peter Greenberg's "Travel Tip: How to Buy Plane Tickets for a Group."

 

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