This is the stuff airline booking websites won't tell you. When you fly out of the Bay Area for your summer vacation there's a good chance you'll be traveling as a family. But when it comes to buying your tickets, it is not a family affair. Buying in bulk can cost you money.
Mimi Cassidy runs Moraga Travel and she knows all about this. She told us, "If there are two discounted seats and then there are two full class seats, but when we combine they will want to put all four in the same class of service so they'll all be at the higher price."
If you are online booking travel for a family of four, the airline will charge you the same price for every ticket and that means they may not give you the lowest per ticket price.
7 On Your Side researchers went looking for tickets and found example after example of paying more when buying in bulk.
"I was actually really surprised. I thought that buying in bulk, it would save you money, but it was quite the opposite. Buying each individual ticket was saving a lot more money, so it was quite surprising," said Noelle Garcia, a 7 On Your Side researcher.
A Delta roundtrip flight from Oakland to Dallas Fort Worth by way of Salt Lake City was priced at $399.60 for an individual. But when we booked a flight for four the total came in at $1,730.40, or $432.60 per ticket. That is $33 more per ticket.
An Alaska Air round trip from San Francisco to Atlanta was priced at $696.60 for an individual. Our family of four was charged a total of $3,286.40, or $821.60 per ticket. That is $125.00 more per ticket.
"Some of the websites will do it too, they'll say, 'Two seats left at this price.' Then that is your clue to split it yourself and do just two and then do another two," said Cassidy.
But be careful, or you'll outsmart yourself. Going from one website to the next can cost you.
Cassidy: "You are going through the process, you are about to book and you like well, 'I am going to check this other site, too.' You check it. 'Oh! This price is much higher. Well I am going check directly with the airline. Oh, wait! This price is much higher. Oh, I am going to go back to that one,' and all of a sudden you have artificially raised your price."
Finney: "That is how quickly they move prices up and down?"
Another tip: Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday and you'll save about $60 on your ticket.
I have more information and a report that has additional fare saving tips here.