STA Travel Flights for Volunteering Abroad

For booking flights for our groups volunteering abroad, one of the companies we use is called STA Travel.

For each trip, our organization designates a point person who deals with STA Travel so that you as a volunteer — or trip leader — do not have to worry about coordinating the flights.

Below are some questions from STA Travel’s FAQ for volunteers like you. This will give you a better idea of how things work with flights.

What does the airline consider a “group”?
Most airlines consider a group to be at least 10 or more passengers traveling together.

How soon should I start looking for flights?
Most airlines have their schedules posted 330 days in the future and we would be more than happy to check rates if schedules are available at that time. We recommend inquiring at least 9 months in advance of your travel dates, as this is when you will typically find the best rates. Waiting too close to departure can result in the possibility of limited availability and a higher fare.

Will I pay a deposit when I return the group contract?
Initialed and signed contracts are due back to STA Travel within 7-10 business days from the date of confirmation. Space will be cancelled if a signed contract is not received by the due date listed. If applicable, your contract will include information regarding a required deposit. Ask us about ways to have your deposit waived.

What are my options for providing passenger details?
Booking will be handled with group coordinator (from Cosmic Volunteers) from beginning to end. The group coordinator will be responsible for providing the passenger details and any payments per the contract.

What is your process for payment?
We accept most major credit cards for payment. We also accept university or organization checks (no personal checks) via our credit and invoicing process.

When do we get tickets and other travel documents?
Confirmations will be sent out once the entire group is booked. Tickets and other travel documents are sent out at least two weeks prior to departure.

What are the benefits of booking a group rate?
Group rates lock in the same fare and itinerary for every passenger. When booking individually, fares can vary from passenger to passenger, and fluctuate frequently. Utilizing group space evens out the fares for everyone in the group and avoids price hikes. We can usually hold group space up to three to fours months in advance with no financial obligation. We do require a deposit, unless you have a line of credit with us, in which case the deposit is waived.

Does STA Travel have a price guarantee?
We pride ourselves in accommodating your needs and openly welcome you to let us know your budget and other quotes you have received from competitors. We will be more than happy to try and fulfill your request as we understand the importance of pricing. However, please keep in mind that shopping can actually have adverse effects on pricing. Other agencies are known to hold space with the airline during the quoting process. In this case, STA Travel will no longer have access to that airline’s fares and our low contracted rates, so we recommend that you approach STA Travel first for your travel needs.

What if I am unsure of how many seats I need to hold?
We recommend holding the maximum amount of seats you think you might need as long as you are not within the commitment deadline. It is easier to drop seats, than to add them at a later date.

What is commitment deadline?
After a certain date the airline requires the group to commit to the number of seats being held, otherwise they will penalize you for seats you do not use. The commitment deadline varies depending on airline, and can be anywhere between 30 – 90 days prior to departure.