Group Bookings on BA

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Old Sep 26, 15, 10:17 am
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Group Bookings on BA

Does anybody have any experience of doing a group booking with BA? If so, how did you find the experience?

I am currently organising a group visit for 20 sixth formers to New York for February. I did this last year although went through an agency that specialises in group travel, although flew with Virgin. We are looking at approximately 725pp this year. This is for economy flights from MAN via LHR and 3 nights accommodation, with transfer between JFK and the hotel.

This is somewhat expensive, especially when looking at dummy bookings on BA.com I could find flights and accommodation (range of 4* hotels in good locations) for around 450pp. The only thing not included is the hotel transfer. Although, in theory we also have a local rep in New York should the need arise. Don't really think this is essential, unlike in countries where a language barrier may exist. It certainly seems like we could be paying a lot for this.

I have submitted a request for a quote from BA, but cannot see if they only do the flights for groups or if they can also do hotel bookings as a package. Does anybody know if this is possible? If so, then I really do think that we would be better off doing this rather than through an agency, after all I never use a TA personally.

I am aware that group tickets should still give avios and TPs (as well as being able to access the lounges as a gold) and they also offer increased flexibility for name changes, but are there any other benefits?

Sorry for all the questions!
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Old Sep 26, 15, 12:00 pm
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I did some Groups reservations work while I was with BA. They do flights only, not the hotel or transfers.

I would recommend using a travel agent that specialises in group bookings. You can still specify you want BA of course. They can also look at the direct AA flight for you at the same time (whereas BA groups only handle BA operated flights). You'd still get Avios/TPs of course.
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Old Sep 26, 15, 12:06 pm
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What about BA Holidays as opposed to plain flights only BA?
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Old Sep 26, 15, 12:09 pm
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I don't think group bookings necessarily get the best price pp. However, IIRC there are other tangible benefits needed for groups such as being able to block reserve seats without names (and to change names), group check-in, and greater flexibility. As UKtravelbear says, maybe BA holidays have their own group booking department. Trailfinders have a respected group bookings department.
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Old Sep 26, 15, 12:24 pm
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The following post, as part of a lengthier thread, may be of interest:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/14024754-post7.html

Please feel free to PM with any more detailed questions.
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Old Sep 26, 15, 1:07 pm
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On a slightly related note, I have an upcoming trip with 9 persons. What benefits as a Silver can our whole party expect in addition to seat selection, I'm assuming priority check in and possibly fast track security only and not priority boarding? What about luggage allowance?

I suspect if there was one more in our party (10 persons) it would have been classed as a group booking which would have disallowed any benefits.
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Old Sep 26, 15, 1:27 pm
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I've just booked LGR-GVA for 20 students as a group. Price was 133 return per person for 20 seats and cheapest fare online at the time was only a little less (so to get 20 seats at that rate was great - it's been closer to 150-170 in previous years). No hassle with anything, really easy to add names and APIS etc, names only two weeks before. And low deposit of just 20 or 25 per person, can't remember exactly, which is useful while you wait for the kids to pay the balance of the trip.

We booked flight only and then a hostel in GVA.
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Old Sep 26, 15, 4:37 pm
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I used to organize field trips for about 35 students to Portugal through our local travel agent. I insisted on BA - not the cheapest - but as mentioned above, it allowed us to leave naming the passengers until 2 weeks before - and also the option of reducing the booking by 10% with no penalty. The other consideration was that BA flew more than once/day (certainly more than once/week) - so some flexibility if delays occur.
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Old Sep 26, 15, 6:24 pm
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Normally I would say if it is just the flights go directly to an airline, however as you want hotels in the mix definitely go through an agency. If the agency is any good they should have access to some decent FIT wholesale rates on rooms in NY and so should be able to package something up for you. It will be cheaper than pricing it up separately.

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Old Sep 28, 15, 11:46 am
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Thanks for all the advice.

BA came back with a quote of 450 per person flight only from MAN via LHR. Not a bad price, and does give flexibility especially with not needing to confirm names. However, when booking flights and hotel together on BA.com then I can get the same flight with accommodation for around 420 per person. Unfortunately as pointed out they won't do more than 9 people on flight and accommodation. Think we are going to go with the three separate bookings on BA.com to cover the numbers. The agent I spoke with was happy to look to do three separate bookings. Cheapest overall option by some margin.

Just means I will have three separate PNRs to deal with for booking seats etc. Might pay to select seats in advance so that I can sit the group together (although this will depend on cost). What is the maximum number of people on one PNR that you can select seats for for free when one of the group is Gold? Wondering if I can book all nine - or even better if BA would allow me to later combine them (to complete party?) to book them all for free! Nux's post on this thread is most useful. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...s-get-you.html
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Old May 27, 19, 8:14 am
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I know this is an old Theead, but have a couple of questions. I am a BA gold and if I have a ticket on BA on a group booking (not booked by me) will I still get access to First Wing check in and First lounge and also for a guest?

i see that I will not get the booking in MMB. Can I still call BA after my name is entered in the group booking and ask them to assign me an exit row seat?

Is TCP available on a group booking? If we are 20 people, can I use TCP and choose 2 og them to sit with me on the exit row?
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Old May 27, 19, 8:19 am
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You can't use TCP, not get a seat allocation via MMB, it's not the way a Group Ticket works, you just have to see what the Group Check In desk, at the start of the G Zone, can sort out for you. However you can use the First Wing if you are Gold or travelling First. And the usual guesting rights too.
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Old May 27, 19, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
You can't use TCP, not get a seat allocation via MMB, it's not the way a Group Ticket works, you just have to see what the Group Check In desk, at the start of the G Zone, can sort out for you. However you can use the First Wing if you are Gold or travelling First. And the usual guesting rights too.
Thank you for the reply So I guess calling BA is of no use also? If I can use First Wing, will they be able to sort out the seating for me there? But I guess at that stage all the good seats are gone.

Is it true that the travel agency who booked the group ticket can add my BAEC number and then request a exit seat row on my behalf after BA have received the names of the travellers?

I guess the Group Check in does not have any separate rows for BA status members, so the queues could be longer there than First Wing.

I read that I will get boarding group 1, this is still the case?
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Old May 27, 19, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by TravelManBiz View Post
I read that I will get boarding group 1, this is still the case?
No, you have to use Group Check-in in the first instance, but the First Wing can sort out other seats thereafter. I've never seen much of a queue at Group Check-in, particular if there is an organiser from the travel company handling matters, it's just one or two trolleys doing the check-in most days. There is no advance seat allocation on Group tickets. You would have Group 1 boarding once your Gold card was on the boarding pass.
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Old May 27, 19, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
No, you have to use Group Check-in in the first instance, but the First Wing can sort out other seats thereafter. I've never seen much of a queue at Group Check-in, particular if there is an organiser from the travel company handling matters, it's just one or two trolleys doing the check-in most days. There is no advance seat allocation on Group tickets. You would have Group 1 boarding once your Gold card was on the boarding pass.
Great, and again thank you for quick replies As you may have figured out, I am used to BA normal tickets but group bookings are totally new for me.

Just a follow up question. I will be flying from OSL to LHR, I guess that the outstations do not have a separate check in counter for group booking, so there it will be a normal check in counter. Would they then have the possibility of helping me with the seats 2 days later on the return from LHR. Then at least a higher chance of getting an OK seat (aisle)?

If i do HBO, I still need to go to group booking at LHR to collect my boarding pass since this will not be available on my phone?

And the last (and maybe a bit stupid) question. Are all the travellers on the group booking on the same PNR or booking code? I guess it is not possible then to split my ticket into a separate PNR that I then can manage myself
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