Group Flight FAQs

  Do you offer group flights for your programs?
What is the advantage of taking a group flight?
Is the group flight a good deal?
Who arranges the group flight?
When can I sign up for my program's group flight?
I applied to your program early, so can I sign up for the group flight early?
Is the group flight a charter flight?
Is there a domestic group flight?
Where does the group flight depart?
Why isn't there a group flight for some programs?
Are group flights optional?
Is there a return group flight at the end of the program?
When should I plan to arrive abroad?
When do I come home?
Can I buy a one-way ticket?
Why can't full-year students buy return tickets for their program end date?
When will I get my group flight ticket confirmation?
When will I receive arrival instructions?
Who can help me if I have questions about travel?

 Do you offer group flights for your programs?
Yes! As a service to our students, we arrange group flights for most of our programs.

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 What is the advantage of taking a group flight?
A group flight gives students the convenience of having an experienced travel agent make their flight arrangements, as well as the reassurance of airport pickup upon arrival abroad. Flying together as a group also allows our students to meet each other before beginning the IFSA-Butler orientation.

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 Is the group flight a good deal?
We think so. Though a group ticket is sometimes more expensive than an individual ticket found on the Internet, taking a group flight may save a student money in the long run, because group tickets include low-cost date or routing changes. Individual plane tickets generally incur change fees that can amount to almost half the cost of the original ticket. In addition, our group flight travelers do not have to pay extensive baggage fees.

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 Who arranges the group flight?
An experienced travel agency makes group flight arrangements on IFSA-Butler's behalf. The agency works with various airlines to negotiate each group flight's cost, number of seats, ticket change fees and more.

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 When can I sign up for my program's group flight?
Details of the group flight are generally available two to three months before a program's start date, and students are able to sign up at that time. Details about international travel are always posted in our first Essentials email that goes to students and parents.

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 I applied to your program early, so can I sign up for the group flight early?
Because of the nature of most airlines' group contract policies, we are not able to provide specific group flight details, such as the flight number or exact cost, earlier than two or three months before departure. However, we work hard to secure enough seats to ensure that students who want to take the group flight can do so, provided they contact the group flight travel agency by the published deadline.

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 Is the group flight a charter flight?
No. The group flight is a group of seats on a regularly scheduled commercial flight on a major airline.

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 Is there a domestic group flight?
Our group flights are for the international portion of travel only. Our students come from throughout the United States, and we don't have enough students in any one location to offer domestic group flights within the U.S. However, our group flight travel agency is happy to help students with domestic flight arrangements.

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 Where does the group flight depart?
Our group flights depart from various major cities throughout the U.S., depending on destination. Typical departure airports are Los Angeles for Australia and New Zealand programs; JFK, Newark or Boston for programs in Europe; New York or Chicago for Egypt; and Houston or Miami for programs in Latin America.

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 Why isn't there a group flight for some programs?
Airlines require a minimum of 10 participants in order to offer group travel. If a program does not have at least 10 students who are interested in the group flight, we are not able to offer group travel for those students.

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 Are group flights optional?
Group flights are mandatory for programs in Egypt and Sharjah. The flights for all other countries are optional. However, Australia students studying outside of Sydney and New Zealand students studying outside of Auckland who are traveling independently are required to book the same domestic flight to their host city as the group flight travelers. This requirement ensures that all of our students travel together and can be checked into their host university and housing after orientation.

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Is there a return group flight at the end of the program?
No. Even students attending the same university abroad have different exam schedules, plus many choose to travel after the end of their program, so we aren't able to offer group travel for the return flight home. However, the cost of the group flight ticket includes return airfare to the U.S. Each student chooses his or her own return date.

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 When should I plan to arrive abroad?
Individual program calendars are on each program page on our website under the Dates & Fees tab. Students must arrive on or before the "program start date" listed on the calendar in order to attend IFSA-Butler's in-country, mandatory orientation.

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 When do I come home?
See the "program end date" for your program using the calendar on our website. Be sure not to book your return ticket for a date any earlier than the program end date.

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 Can I buy a one-way ticket?
No. All of our program countries require travelers to prove that they plan to leave after the end of the study abroad program. If you buy a one-way ticket, you will likely not be allowed to enter your host country.

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 Why can't full-year students buy return tickets for their program end date?
Airlines do not allow anyone to book a ticket more than 140 days in advance. Therefore, full-year students are required to choose a return date when booking their flights, and then change the return date abroad once they pass the 140-day minimum.

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 When will I get my group flight confirmation?
After you request a seat on the group flight, the travel agency will work to secure your itinerary and send an email itinerary for your approval. Once you approve the itinerary, you will receive an e-ticket, which you will use to check in at the airport.

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 When will I receive arrival instructions?
IFSA-Butler will send a final Travel Essentials mailing to your home address two to four weeks before departure. The mailing will include arrival instructions, orientation location, contact phone numbers and more. We encourage students to pack this mailing in their carry-on, as it may come in handy upon arrival.

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 Who can help me if I have questions about travel?
Email Students and Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears. Donnetta is happy to help with both group flight and independent travel questions.

 
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