Missionary Airfares. It Takes a Detective...
Published Fares. Missionary Fares. Consolidator Fares. Group Fares vs. Individual Fares. Do you ever feel like you have to be a detective to figure out the terms of a fare? At Ministry Travel, we do the detective work for you and take the mystery out of travel. We check our missionary and consolidator fares against the published fares and organize the data in an easy to understand manner so you can make an educated decision about your travel plans. To help you better understand, here's a brief description of the differences in fares and what to look for when deciding what type of fare to purchase.
These are the fares offered directly by the airline or on their website. These fares are almost always non refundable and are typically not guaranteed until paid in full. As of late, some of the published fares are better than the missionary fares, but they offer less flexibility in payment plans and almost no flexibility for a refund or changes.
We have missionary airfares on almost every major carrier, and every contract is different. However, most missionary airfares offer some flexibility in when your payment is due. Once a reservation is made with the legal name, some of the fares can be held without deposit until approximately 45 days prior to departure. Most missionary airfare tickets are refundable, less a cancel fee, and many offer extra flexibility with minimum change fees. In some cases, an extra bag can be approved, but you should always check with your Ministry Travel associate first! Sometimes the missionary fares are higher than the published fares, but it's a great alternative for when you need to buy time to raise the funds for the trip, yet still securing the schedule you need at a fare you can afford.
The rules on consolidator fares vary, depending on the airline. These fares can usually be held anywhere from 5-14 days. The consolidator fares are not always refundable, so again, it's important to check the rules before making any purchases.
Group fares are probably the most misunderstood thing in the travel industry. Most
people think that if they have a group booking, they will be getting the rock-bottom best
price for their team. A group consists of 10 or more passengers traveling from Point A to
Point B and back to Point A together. Depending on your destination, unfortunately, it is
not uncommon to book your group, then find some lower Internet fares after your
deposit is given. When this happens, we certainly understand the frustration you feel!
However, every fare that you see advertised is based on availability in a certain inventory of seats. When you see a low fare on the Internet, it will almost never be available for your whole team. You may be able to take advantage of that fare for some of your people, but the rates will increase as you purchase more and more seats. In most cases, the larger your group gets, the more expensive your ticket will be, due to the airline not wanting to give away a large amount of seats on the same flights at very low prices.
To get the best fares, the optimum group size is 15 - 20 passengers. If your group is much larger, consider splitting your team on to different flights to get the lowest possible fares. Unfortunately, the airlines consider it a "privilege" to allow you to hold seats with a deposit on their flights and pay at a later time. When we give you a quote on your group, we will check the individual fares against the group fares for you, so you can make the best decision for your team. In many cases, there is great benefit to booking your team as a group. Depending on the airline or the destination, we sometimes can negotiate free tickets for you, and you really get the best of both worlds -- locking in a good fare with a per person deposit and submitting names and final payment closer to the departure date.
The one consistent thing in the travel industry is that nothing is ever the same! Rules change. Contracts change. Deadlines change. And as we all know, taxes and fuel surcharges change daily. Contact us today for a quote, and we'll unscramble your travel terms.