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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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