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Hi Conference Goers! Quick message about group bookings for flights to
Australia.
Firstly, the Conference Team is feverishly working behind the scenes to
put together all sorts of information to be distributed on  the website
and in printed form. So soon you’ll have a lot more information as to
what’s going on. Just know that it’s going to be great! Lots of amazing
treats are lining up for science illustrators.
My part, as the travel researcher for the organising team, has been to
look into whether there are benefits to be had for group bookings with
various airlines. I requested a quote from Virgin and spoke to a few
other airlines. Most won't deal with someone outside the country where
the trip originates but Virgin shed a lot of light on the pros and cons.
Sadly, group bookings are definitely not cheaper and the logistic issues
to overcome will be quite difficult, so we recommend you book
independently AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to take advantage of the current sale
prices which will end quite soon. Using a couple of days either side of
the Conference core dates (29 June - 6 July), the price I got online for
myself at the Virgin website (around US$600) was roughly half the group
booking charge (around US$1100).
Useful info in case you start going down the rabbit hole of extra side
trips and end up looking at websites showing the Australian dollar
(AUD). The AUD/USD exchange rate fluctuates daily but it’s generally
quite static. When looking at sites showing only AUD, go to google and
type - AUD ‘dollar amount’ as USD. This works every time. Today USD$100
= AUD$71.14
Explanation:
Group bookings are really for people happy to pay the seasonal price at
time of departure, lock in the bookings and delay payment for budgeting
purposes. This is used largely by production teams, entertainers, cirque
du soleil, movie making teams, that sort of caper. The ticket costs are
set at the usual cost for flights at time of departure. June/July is
peak US holiday season therefore the tickets cost more then. There are
penalties for failure to pay the final amount. All payments are done in
single payments (no split bills).
If you’re interested in paying a higher price than currently available,
and pursuing a delayed final payment then please register your interest
by email to [log in to unmask]  If I hear from 10 people (the
minimum allowable) then we'll start looking at whether we can overcome
the logistics. If you have any questions I may be able to help with,
then ask away either here or by email. I have a busy workplace but will
answer as soon as able.
Looking very much forward to meeting lots of you in sunny Brisbane!

Cheers,
Tig Beswick

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