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Can I (should I) buy multiple airline tickets on the web?

Can I (should I) buy multiple airline tickets on the web?

Nov 15th, 2003, 09:38 AM
  #1  
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Can I (should I) buy multiple airline tickets on the web?

I am looking for 9-10 tickets for a group going to France next May out of Charlotte, NC or maybe Atlanta. I know it's early yet, but so far, the best my TA has found is $850. I have found fares using Sidestep for $100 less. If this continues to be the case, how do I buy tickets for that many people from an internet site? Most limit the number of tickets you can buy at one time (perhaps 4-7). I am afraid that if I purchase 4-5 tickets at a good rate and then go back to buy the others, the price could be different or there may be no further tickets available on that flight. (I had something similar happen to me last year while trying to purchase train tickets on the SNCF site.)

And do I have to put all the tickets on one (my) credit card, or could I "pretend" to be one or several of the others traveling with me and use their CC info, assuming they are willing to give it to me? The best solution would be to have each person or couple purchase their own tickets, but I am not sure they are all computer-savvy enough to do that.

I could, I suppose, call the airlines directly, but frequently the best fares involve multiple carriers and even if they don't, they are only available if purchased on the web.

Should I just resign myself to having to pay a bit more and rely on my TA or is there a way to do this more cheaply and safely on the web? Anyone have experience with this?
Betty1 is offline  
Nov 15th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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With 10 contact the airline group sales contact--has your agent done that?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Nov 15th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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Thanks, Bob. No, I think my TA has just looked at regular consolidator fares. I have e-mailed US Airways about possible group fares, but they require at least 10. Right now I am at 9 (one dropped out) and am looking for a replacement. Do you know of other airlines that offer group rates for less than 10? I will talk to my TA about this.

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Nov 15th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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ira
 
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Hi Betty,

If you are willing to go as early as April 4, AirFrance has a special out of Atlanta for $423 tx included. You can sign up 6 people at a time.
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Nov 15th, 2003, 11:57 AM
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ira
 
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PS,

That's at http://www.airfrance.com/us

Fares for the end of April are about $811.
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Nov 15th, 2003, 12:02 PM
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I looked into this a bit last year and the airlines required 10 for the group rate. You might be able to get a deal from go-today or other companies that have package deals. Several let you book flights only so it wouldn't hurt to ask. Go-today has a person online that you can ask questions. Sometimes it's cheaper to get the air and hotel packages than the airfare alone. They will let you extend your flight dates also.

For example - go today has a deal to Paris for 7 days and 6 nights April 1 through June 15 for $549. To fly out of Charlotte there is an extra fee of $150. You also have to add airport taxes of $109 and if you are traveling Friday, Saturday or Sunday there is a $25 week-end fee. That is $808 for airfare, hotel, and breakfast without the week-end supplements. There are hotel upgrades available and although you didn't say what part of France you were traveling to you could use this to start and extend your flight dates so you could see other cities. They also have a deal to Nice for the same time period for $639 + Charlotte add on and taxes.
Their website is www.go-today.com
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 15th, 2003, 12:15 PM
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Thanks, ira, but we cannot go until the last week of May. Kybourbon, that Go-today deal sounds interesting, especially since we could return from Nice. Maybe they would let me do a combination, going into CDG and out of NCE? We don't want to stay in Paris that long (spending most of our time in Normandy and Cote d'Azur areas) but it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Any other suggestions?
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Nov 15th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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i am finding that the airlines are now sometimes offering cheaper or as cheap fares from their 800 numbers....

it is early to be booking for may just now....also....

if you are not happy with the travel agent i would try another...for that many people they should do the best for you....
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Nov 15th, 2003, 01:50 PM
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Betty, this is a bit off subject, but I hope you don't mind. I'm planning a trip to Provence and on to Brittany in the spring and am not sure of the best way to travel between the two locales. I see you're doing the Cote d'Azur to Normandy itinerary. Would you tell me your plans for getting from one region to the other? We'll have a car in Provence, and at this point are thinking of driving, stopping in the Dordogne Valley for a night or two. I've been monitoring the Dordogne Valley posts, but would like to hear about your plans. Feel free to use the e-mail address at the top of this post, if you'd rather reply that way.
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Nov 15th, 2003, 02:25 PM
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Don't mind at all, Betsy, but I'm not sure my reply will help you. As of the moment, we are planning to stay 4 nights in Paris, then do Normandy by car, drop it (them) off at Orly and fly to Nice. We will then return to Orly before getting the flight home. Air France is offering that flight for 88 euros. I don't think we would do much better by train and it would take so much longer. I have also checked Easyjet which should be even cheaper but they haven't posted their fares for spring and summer yet. This will require us to pick up another car(or 2) when we get to Nice but I don't want to drive that far either.

If you really want to see the Dordogne Valley area (really beautiful part of France!)and have the time to drive it, I think that's what you should do. Last summer I traveled with a group from the Avignon area to Sarlat but we made an overnight stop in Albi (also highly recommended). I'm not sure I would want to drive straight through from Provence to the Dordogne, though I'm sure you could.
Betty1 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 06:27 AM
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Thanks for your reply, Betty. I think we'll continue with Plan A, which is probably taking two nights to drive from Provence to Brittany.
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Nov 16th, 2003, 07:13 AM
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Betty1, you mentioned Charlotte so I went to the usairways website. They allow online booking up to 9 passengers at a time. In the process, I finally figured out how their 'search by price' option works!

They have fares of $731, with tax the ticket prices are $818, or $7368.20 for nine passengers. Travel outbound CLT to CDG on May 21 or 22 and return May 28-30.
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Nov 16th, 2003, 08:33 AM
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ira
 
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Hi Betty,

http://airtravelcenter.com/onetrav.htm has flights on Continental out of Atlanta for $675. You can buy up to 7.
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Nov 16th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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ira
 
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PS,

If you are going to purchase all of the tickets yourself, get payment before you buy non-refundable tickets. Too many stories about friends who dropped out and the organizer got stuck.
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Nov 16th, 2003, 02:03 PM
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Thanks, mrwunrfl and ira (again!). You are most kind to try to help me. Unfortunately I have to leave sometime between May 24 and 27 and return between June 12 and 15. (I recruited folks and based my cost calculations on an 18-day trip, not counting travel days.) So I am pretty well hemmed in on dates. (I'm teaching until about May 20 and have to be back for a family thing before June 19.)

The best fares I've found through Sidestep are out of Atlanta ($675.94 May 25-June 12 or May 26-June 15 [actually one day too many]) but I'd much rather go out of Charlotte. The best I've found from there is $741-42 for dates that don't include a weekend.

Now for the good news: thanks to kybourbon, I checked go-today.com and found what looks like a great deal. It appears I can get 4 flights CLT - CDG for the dates I need and a week's car rental (a big one!) for $2922, or $730.55 per person. (I'd obviously have to get this X 2 and then get my 9th person to France somehow, but I think I have one who wants to do her own air anyway.) Virgin Vacations has the exact same deal. I'd have to add on another week's car rental but even so, I think I can come in well under the $1000 per person I had budgeted for those two items. Once I have my dates firmed up and who is going from where, I think I'll give them a call. (Probably worth the $20 it will cost me to book on the phone rather than on line.)

So, now the questions are:

1) Any appreciable difference between go-today and virgin vacations? How are their flights? Good schedules or 6-hour layovers? (As I understand it, you have to book "blind," without knowing your airline or precise schedule until you've committed. Is that right?)

2) Has anyone had experience booking a car with either one? It seems that most complaints with such packages are about hotels, but that won't be a problem since I'm just doing airfare and car rental. For 9 people I'm thinking of a minivan (Renault Espace or Ford Galaxy 2.3 Zetec) that supposedly seats seven (we'd only have 5 so, hopefully, there'd be room for luggage) and a full-size (Opel Omega Elegance or Peugeot 607) for the remaining four. Could I get by with an intermediate size for the four?

3) If you were me would you get on the phone tomorrow and book this deal or wait a while?

And ira, thanks for the warning. You can bet I'll either have them use their own CC's or have payment in advance. I already have a $300 non-refundable deposit from everyone.
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Nov 16th, 2003, 02:26 PM
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ira
 
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Hi Betty,

The $675 I gave you covers your dates (I checked), it includes taxes. Add $6.00.

Many people have recommended www.autoeurope.com for rentals. The difference in air fare is about $200. You might be able to do better on the rental for two weeks.

Have a good trip.
ira is offline  
Nov 17th, 2003, 03:41 AM
  #17  
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Hoping for some input from the Monday morning crowd.
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