Booking a Flight for the Family? Read This First

Photo (cc) by jronaldlee

Planning a family vacation is stressful enough without having to worry about paying out the nose for plane tickets to your vacation destination.

If you’re buying airline tickets for your family, you need to have a basic understanding of how airlines price and sell their tickets, says travel planning website FareCompare.

If you need to book tickets for two or more passengers, you could be in for a costly surprise. That cheap airfare quote you got online might jump up if you’re purchasing multiple tickets. Sometimes just one or two seats are available at a certain rate. FareCompare said:

If the cheapest price point has one seat less than the requested number of passengers, it bumps everyone up to the next price level that has enough seats. If the next price level doesn’t have enough seats to fulfill your ticket request, it will then bump you up to the next highest level.

This means that even though some of your party could actually fly at a cheaper price, you won’t be given that chance.

Don Semier of Cincinnati found out the hard way that booking tickets for four people isn’t easy or cheap, said WCPO 9. Semier found airline tickets online for a family vacation to Montana. The tickets were priced at $708 each. His wife tried to book the tickets at that price. “When she went to book it, she put in the four tickets, and it came back $789 per ticket,” Semier said. Ouch.

Semier said just three of the four seats the family tried to book were available at the lower price.

FareCompare has a couple of ideas to help make sure you don’t pay a dime more than necessary to fly.

  • Compare quotes. Shop for one passenger first. Compare that price with what you would pay if you booked multiple tickets at once. “Of course, you should also check out multiple sites as well, because at any given moment different sites have different seat inventory and prices,” FareCompare said.
  • Split up. If it looks like booking tickets in multiples is going to cost a significant amount more, you may want to consider booking each ticket separately to help keep airfare costs low.

Tell us about your experience booking plane tickets for the whole family. Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off
Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off

A common behavior becomes increasingly dangerous for those who are 50 or older.

This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress
3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress

Downsizing can cut the bloat in your finances — and give you more free time and less stress.

13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest
13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest

These Amazon products can help you finally catch 40 winks — or more.

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.