Viking Air -Please share your experience


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#1
NY
714 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Although we took a prior river cruise on Viking, we did not use their air. This time the pricing was so good that we took it. Based on what I’d read on CC, we spent the extra $50 per person to create our own itinerary. Please tell me your Viking Air stories. Please provide hints to make our trip run smoothly. Thank you in advance.


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#2
615 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Good idea to ask this question, I too have sailed with Viking before [2 times I think] and have now been tempted with their low air fare but am concerned about getting bamboozled. I think that one can back out of the air arrangement before final payment.
So looking forward to hearing from some pros.
#3
Alberta, Canada
435 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We too have cruised Viking before but did not purchase the air. This time we did and we paid the extra $50 per person to customize our flights. When I called to book them, they had a heck of a time finding what I wanted and said that they didn't have arrangements with those airlines to book - We are flying to Egypt and they don't work with Air Egypt so we had to do some research to find the best options. The one I chose was Air Canada (We live in Canada) and I paid the extra $1000 to upgrade to Economy Plus - which originally they said I couldn't do. So, for all intents and purposes, I pretty much paid regular price for our flights except they went through Viking. When I asked what flight I would have been on if I'd just let them book me, they didn't have an answer for me because they don't start booking those until 70 days out. I think if I'd waited the 70 days out, I would have been on the milk run with more than 2 or 3 stops. Glad I did it this way. One of the benefits for me was the pick-up and drop-off from the airport. I didn't want to mess around getting to and from our hotel. I'll wait to see if it was worth the extra $2100 (but we do get upgraded on the flight overseas - not business class but the extra room will be nice for a 9 hour flight).
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#4
Southern Indiana
292 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
We've been on one Viking river cruise and let Viking do our air. The flights over were great (transAtlantic was KLM, very nice) but the flights home were horrible. We were on the 'milk run' as another posted so accurately described it, and it was a 3-flight trip that should have been two. We spent at least 3 hours longer in the air than we should have. Plus on our transAtlantic flight home (Delta), we were in the second to last row and they ran out of lunch choices

We have our next river cruise booked for November, and paid the extra $ to customize our flights. Well worth it, in my opinion. We are doing Lufthansa both ways, plus we booked far enough in advance that we were able to get good seats. Economy, but good locations.
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Viking Star (Mediterranean) 3/19
Viking Tor (Romantic Danube) 11/18
American Empress 10/17
Viking Kvasir (Rhine Getaway) 8/15
Celebrity Infinity (Alaska) 8/10
Celebrity Infinity (Hawaii) 5/02
Celebrity Century (Eastern Caribbean) 5/96
Celebrity Zenith (Western Caribbean) 4/95
#5
Dallas, TX
90 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
We've done it both ways, booking air on our own, as well as using Viking. We got a really good deal with Viking Air last fall. We paid the extra $ to customize as well as the extra $ to deviate which days we wanted to travel. Because of the deviation, we had to do our own transfers, which was fine with us. Worked out great, would do it again if the deal was good enough!!
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Liz

______________________________
Upcoming Cruises:
Viking Jupiter Russia and the Baltic May 2019

Previously Sailed:
Silversea Galapagos April 2018
Viking Heimdal Lyon to Avignon October 2017
Viking Empires of the Mediterranean March 2017
Silversea Wind March 2016
Viking Kvasir Rhine Getaway November 2015
Viking Kara Danube Waltz November 2014
Princess Panama Canal December 2013
And many more!
#6
Treasure Coast Florida
138 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Our Viking Air allocation was $1,100pp. They were going to book is on AA economy BOS/LIS. I found an Iberia flight with Premium Economy for slightly less than that and they would not book it. So, I cancelled and booked it myself and found out that their AA flight is actually a code share on my Iberia flight! So, essential y I got my upgrade for nothing.
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Fairwind, Sitmar 1975 S. Caribbean,

Sky Princess 1988 W. Caribbean,
Monarch of the Seas 1991 E. Caribbean,
Westerdam 1999 W. Caribbean
NCL America 2005 Hawaii
Nieuw Amsterdam 2013 Mediterranean
Veendam 2015 Bermuda

Eurodam 2016 E. Caribbean

Nieuw Amsterdam 2017 Bahamas
Viking Torgil 2018 Portugal/Spain

Nieuw Statendam 2019 Transatlantic, FLL/Amsterdam
#8
127 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Just back from our Viking Rhine cruise Amsterdam to Basel with 2-day pre-cruise in Amsterdam. We too used Viking Air and paid the $50 pp to pick our flights. We also paid to upgrade to Premium Economy. We were given a choice of several airlines (Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways) at different prices and routes. AF was the least expensive so we chose that one. We flew nonstop from Houston to Paris CDG then connected to Amsterdam, and on the way home we flew from Basel to CDG and then nonstop to Houston. We were happy with the choices we had as well as with the transfers at each end - at Basel's airport, the bus from the ship was met by a Viking representative who made sure we found the right place to check in and even assisted in checking luggage and printing boarding passes at the kiosk.

Of course, right after our flights were purchased and confirmed by Viking and could no longer be changed at no cost, Air France employees began staging intermittent strikes. We watched very closely on Flight Aware and were especially concerned that the flight from Basel to CDG was cancelled four times in the two weeks before we were scheduled to leave, because the next flight out would have landed in Paris after our homeward flight had taken off. We called Viking Air the Friday before our Sunday departure to ask what we should do if that happened on our trip and whether Viking would assist us or we'd have to deal directly with Air France. We were told that Guest Services on the ship would assist us. Fortunately everything went well and none of our flights were cancelled or delayed, but we have every confidence that if we had had a problem Viking Air would have taken care of us.

We also booked through Viking Air for our Danube cruise in 2012 and again paid the $50 pp to select our own flights so that we could minimize the stops (flew economy on Lufthansa, Houston to Frankfurt to Nuremberg then Budapest to Frankfurt to Houston). No problems then either.
#10
Boston MA
7,624 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Six trip done and one upcoming. Viking has done our air arrangements on all except one. We fly economy.
Some things to keep in mind.
1. The Custom Air fee is for the privilege of talking with the air department. (If nothing else, it is a deterrent to the price shoppers who tie up the phones and then don't book.)
2. Having a say in your flights does not mean that you choose any flights you want. It means simply that you can choose from among what Viking is offering at that price point--and the less you are paying for those flights, the less choice you may have.
3. You can't lose saying yes to Viking Air when you book because the air portion can be canceled (up to x many days before departure).
4. A lot depends on where you are flying from.
5. Sometimes the flights you want will have some sort of surcharge that is a fee from the airline, not Viking. (There is a fancy term that my TA keeps using and I keep forgetting).
6. The Viking air deal is not always the best deal out there and there are times when you will do better $$wise booking your own. However, you won't know that until you do the research.
7. There are times when you will say, "I don't care if I can get a better deal on the flights, I want the peace of mind that Viking is handling the transfers."
8. Each cruise is different.
9. If you are looking for business/first class seats, definitely use custom air because there are fewer of these seats in the market place. If you wait for Viking to tell you your flights, the chances are greater that you will be given some off the wall flight plan.
10. The more you know about how things work (I want to call it "the Viking way"), the better the outcome and the fewer the surprises.

Okay, that said, here are my experiences with Viking Air--and actually, they have all been good experiences. Our TA is the one who talks with them actually. Working with a middle man slows down the process but then again it avoids snap decisions. I always research flights before talking with my TA. Sometimes I will give her a list of flights that are acceptable and sometimes I give her a list demands and priorities. Sometimes I fish my wish and sometimes I am looking at compromises. Still, so far I have not had a flight plan that I simply could not live with.

The one time that we opted not to fly with Viking was because I did not like what they offering us for flights (and I was bummed out that they were almost double what we had paid Viking the year before for Boston to Barcelona (see number 8 above)). In the end, I paid less than what Viking would have charged me and that included the fees for choosing my seats in advance (yes, Lufthanasa and Swiss Air have complicated seat choosing rules and fees to do so) and transfers.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
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The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#11
Columbia, MD USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We are planning to travel next week. I paid the $50, went online, selected the flights I wanted and told the person at Viking Air. They booked me on the flights I picked. Hopefully, all will work out well.
#12
St. Louis, MO
256 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by Cairn Mom
Does anyone know if Viking uses Delta or KLM?


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Yes. On all 4 of our Viking river cruises traveled so far, all have been a combination of Delta, Air France and KLM.

We've been fortunate with our flights that Viking has chosen for us, and haven't had the need to pay the extra $50 for Viking Air Plus. It also helps have a good TA that can work with Viking once the arrangements are made in order to get the flights ticketed, etc.

Jeff
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Viking Modi, Passage to Eastern Europe - March 2019
Viking Delling, Lyon & Provence - March 2018
Viking Alruna, Rhine Getaway - April 2017
Viking Forseti, Chateaux, Rivers & Wine - June 2016
Viking Var & Viking Tor, Romantic Danube - August 2015
#13
Boston MA
7,624 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Cairn Mom
Does anyone know if Viking uses Delta or KLM?


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Jeff, says yes but I prefer a little more waffle in the answer and point out while they use them it doesn't necessarily mean that they will be able to use them for your flight plan.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#14
NY
714 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Peregrina651
Jeff, says yes but I prefer a little more waffle in the answer and point out while they use them it doesn't necessarily mean that they will be able to use them for your flight plan.


How many months before the cruise does air become available from Viking?
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.


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#15
Boston MA
7,624 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Cairn Mom
How many months before the cruise does air become available from Viking?
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.


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Basically, when the airlines make the flights available for booking, which is around 300 days but since there is not a hard and fast rule, not all the flights may be available. We just booked towards the end of June, 2018 for a mid-March, 2019 departure.

Don't make the mistake of booking too early. When we went to book for our 12/2017 cruise, the one flight that I really wanted was not yet available and we ended up booking a less than optimal flight plan, only to find out much later that the flight was available if only we had waited.

Our TA is very good about knowing when Viking is ready to deal with us and I just wait for her e-mail telling me that it is time to book.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#16
St. Louis, MO
256 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by Cairn Mom
How many months before the cruise does air become available from Viking?
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.


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Typically, Viking will send you the flight details at about 90 days prior to your departure. That's the way all of our previous trips have been anyway...

Jeff
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Viking Modi, Passage to Eastern Europe - March 2019
Viking Delling, Lyon & Provence - March 2018
Viking Alruna, Rhine Getaway - April 2017
Viking Forseti, Chateaux, Rivers & Wine - June 2016
Viking Var & Viking Tor, Romantic Danube - August 2015
#17
Boston MA
7,624 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by jrkstl
Typically, Viking will send you the flight details at about 90 days prior to your departure. That's the way all of our previous trips have been anyway...

Jeff
Jeff, much better answer than mine!!

For some reason I was assuming that the question was about when you can start booking flights if you are using custom air and that is the question that I answered. I am such a fan of custom air that I forget that not everybody uses it.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

Save
#18
NY
714 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Peregrina651
Jeff, much better answer than mine!!

For some reason I was assuming that the question was about when you can start booking flights if you are using custom air and that is the question that I answered. I am such a fan of custom air that I forget that not everybody uses it.


Lol- that’s the question I was asking


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#19
NY
714 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Thank you both. I’m sure people will find both responses helpful . I was asking about the custom air. I figured to try and book it in November or December for June.


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#20
Ontario, Canada
87 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by Cairn Mom
Although we took a prior river cruise on Viking, we did not use their air. This time the pricing was so good that we took it. Based on what I’d read on CC, we spent the extra $50 per person to create our own itinerary. Please tell me your Viking Air stories. Please provide hints to make our trip run smoothly. Thank you in advance.


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Hi. We have crused twice with Viking, first in 2017 and the second just last month. On both trips I paid the $50 in order to select the carrier and route that we prefer. Fortunately we live in a gateway city so fewer issues with connections. In both cases we had the exact flights we wanted.

We also requested ticketing so that we could select premium seats. I cannot remember how far out we did that but it was in the area of four or five months. I was told that if we make any changes once we were ticketed we were responsibile for the extra fees. Fair enough really.

We are now looking at booking our next river cruise with Viking and I would not hesitate to go the same way. I found the Viking Air agents very helpful and patient. Having said that, I had already researched three options in case my first choise was not available. Now, to add to the mix we paid the extra $$ ($100 I think) for the deviation option so we could arrive five days early in Amsterdam and leavea few days later in Budapest. No problems.

Viking had offered Included Air in the stated fare for our particular cruise and despite lots of research I could not find a deal on my own that even came close. Fingers crossed it all goes well again when we start the booking procedure. Trust this is helpful and safe and pleasant travels.