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Ready to Wing It? Deciding if Air Travel is Right for Your Group

As the wife of a former student tour operator, I spent many restless nights worrying. Baseball groups heading to spring training in South Carolina or bands making the long drive to Orlando were often the culprits. While it was cost effective, motor coach travel wasnt always the most convenient option for groups traveling long distances. Fortunately, we found The Air Travel Group and a much simpler way of getting from here to there!

Drama / Theater Trips by Kaleidoscope Adventures

The Air Travel Group books airfare for groups of 10 or more traveling together (think bands, student groups, mission trips, family reunion groups, etc.). They provide custom travel solutions for organizations looking to coordinate flights. The Air Travel Group will get your group a free quote and help with the overwhelming task of booking. Best of all, their top account status means access to private fares and better contract terms for your group.
If you havent considered group air travel before, The Air Travel Group offers some outstanding benefits:

Flexible contract terms
Delayed ticketing
Deposit to hold space
Free name changes
Free add/drop

They truly make booking airfare hassle-free and provide tons of support both pre-departure and during travel when those pesky delays or cancellations pop up.

When planning group travel, air transportation is often not considered because its perceived as cumbersome, expensive and fraught with opportunities to make mistakes. The Air Travel Group virtually eliminates these stressors in a click! The service is completely free and worth checking out. Based on destination, size of group and cost, you may find you prefer to wing it!

Student Travel Motor Coaching

When my children were in elementary school, they had a bus driver named Mr. Ernie. While most drivers recognize that young children have some anxiety around these first school experiences- particularly riding the bus- Mr. Ernie was not so enlightened. He greeted each bright-eyed, smiling child with a curmudgeonly scowl and a loud sit daahhn in his best Pittsburghese. It was only on the last day of school that his irritable veneer was replaced with something vaguely resembling a smile.

Fortunately, the Mr. Ernies of this world are few and far between, and if you travel with students, motorcoaches are an exceptional transportation option. The American Bus Association (ABA) noted in its 2014 census that students account for 24.4% of motorcoach passenger travel. There are lots of excellent reasons for this!

 

Cost Effective

Planning student travel can be a pricey endeavor. However, traveling by motorcoach can help decrease costs. Unlike air travel or other ticketed travel, each student typically shares in the total cost of motorcoach transportation. The more passengers in each seat until the bus is full, the lower the cost per traveler.

 

Environmentally Friendly

Many of todays motorcoaches run on blends of ultra-low sulfur or biodiesel fuel, making them energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Each motorcoach has the potential to replace 55 cars on the highway- thats definitely doing some great green work!

 

Comfort

Groups can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride comfortably while someone else does the driving. Students can socialize or use the time to connect on social media (sigh!) since many motorcoaches are now equipped with WiFi.

Safety

Safety is arguably the most important component of choosing a motorcoach for student travel. Statistics presented by the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) note that travelers in 1994 were 1,097 times more likely to experience an accident in a car than aboard a motorcoach. However, it is imperative that you do your homework and find a reputable carrier with a solid safety track record.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) encourages travelers to Look Before You Book by examining the safety record of your motorcoach company. To that end, the UMA has created a safety checklist to help determine if the company is reputable and safe. Highlights include

1. USDOT Identification Number Ask the company for their USDOT ID number and search www.safersys.org for rule violations, accidents, etc.

2. Insurance Verify that the company has current insurance coverage ($1.5 million for 15 passengers or less vehicles and $5 million for more than 15 passengers)

3. Drivers Verify that the carriers drivers have all appropriate licenses (all drivers must have a CDL issued by the state)

4. Hours – Confirm that the trip can be completed within hours of service. Under federal law, commercial bus and motorcoach drivers may not drive for more than 10 hours a day or at all after being on duty for 15 hours. Requiring periods of rest/sleep for the drivers helps ensure the safety of passengers and the general public

5. Equipment Always ask about the equipment to be used on the trip! Vans have been deemed unsafe for extended student travel by both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Motorcoaches should be in good condition and serve the purposes of the group

6. Emergencies Request a copy of the companys policies and procedures for emergencies or breakdowns

These are valuable tips when planning to travel with students and really give clarity to what could be a difficult decision. Most of us dont know much about buses beyond our experiences with the Mr. Ernies in our lives. Its important to educate ourselves to ensure the very best travel for our students- and safety is key!