Jump to content
cruisewiththekids

Booking with Viking Air

Recommended Posts

I have booked a Viking river cruise with a TA, but I thought I had read somewhere here that I could still call Viking to book my flights directly. I just called and was told the TA had to do this. My TA is someone I have decided I will not use again for various reasons, and I am a little leary letting her handle this process. Also, my TA seems unclear how long I have before Viking actually tickets a flight for me and whether before the ticketing happens I am able to make any flight changes. Any advice from experienced Viking cruisers would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I do is search out the flights I want and give the information to my TA. She then gives the information to Viking to book. In most cases, you can get the confirmation number and then get seat assignments. I got my flights on United and was able to do that. You will need your TA to do this though. A good TA can be very helpful but a bad one can hinder things. You will see all the information on Viking's website once it's booked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you were told by the Viking rep is correct, if you did not book directly with Viking, they want you to go through your TA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Once I book air, are any changes allowed up to a certain date?

Once you request your air routing and pay the fee for Custom Air, you will then need to have your TA request that the route actually be ticketed. This will allow you to upgrade your seats to Economy Comfort.

If you want to make changes in your flights after the route is ticketed, you will be at the mercy of the airlines change fees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Once you request your air routing and pay the fee for Custom Air, you will then need to have your TA request that the route actually be ticketed. This will allow you to upgrade your seats to Economy Comfort.

If you want to make changes in your flights after the route is ticketed, you will be at the mercy of the airlines change fees.

 

When you request your air routing from Custom Air, if you do not specifically request them to ticket it right then, do they wait until sometime closer to sailing to actually do the ticketing? If so, between the time you request the route and the time it's ticketed, can you make changes without charge?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When you request your air routing from Custom Air, if you do not specifically request them to ticket it right then, do they wait until sometime closer to sailing to actually do the ticketing? If so, between the time you request the route and the time it's ticketed, can you make changes without charge?

 

When you request Custom Air and agree upon the routing, they generally wait to actually ticket until closer to the sailing (about 50-75 days out), unless you insist on ticketing right away. When this is the case, and they have not actually ticketed, you may get some pushback, but they will generally agree to change the flights without charges. I always have it ticketed right away as I then upgrade my seats while this is still an option.

 

Keep in mind that they do not have to allow for changes without fees.

 

Also, worth considering, is that once you work with Custom Air and request the routing and all are agreed, they can ticket this routing at any time from that moment on. So, if you were hoping they would do it closer to 60 days out and they do it the day after you speak with them, this is their prerogative.

 

I recently worked with Custom Air to have my Mom's routing from Richmond, Virginia worked out, but did not request to have it ticketed yet. Almost 2 months after this my brother decided to join us on this sailing, and is flying direct from Washington DC, where he lives. I was able to call and get my Mom moved to fly over and back, nonstop, with my brother from DC, without incurring any extra fees, and also getting back the $100 extra fee my Mom had paid to fly out of a smaller gateway (Richmond) rather than the major gateway (DC). It is possible that I have a tiny bit of extra pull with Viking though.

Edited by terry&mike
copy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In contrast to other posters' experience that having booked the cruise through a TA you must work with Viking Air through your TA, I have been able to work directly with Viking Air [for a Viking Oceans cruise] despite having booked through a TA. They never mentioned this rule. Unfortunately their prices were higher than booking directly with British Air, even with the 'discount' built into my cruise promotion!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience booking Viking air (cruise booked with a TA) was that the TA set up a conference call with the Viking air department. Her only involvement was making the call, introducing the Viking rep and me, and at the end of the call, she stated what she believed to be the agreed on flights. Both the Viking rep and I stated that matched our understanding. The next day she emailed the paperwork from Viking and I had to reply that I accepted.

 

For anyone afraid that their TA will screw up their flights, ask them to do a conference call. That puts you in control and the TA officially in the loop.

 

Lynn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What you were told by the Viking rep is correct, if you did not book directly with Viking, they want you to go through your TA.

 

I have never had Viking tell me to go through a TA if not getting their air and I have done my own air arrangements on at least one trip. You can always purchase airport-hotel transfers from Viking if you do not want to do this on your own. Granted, this was on trips several years ago, so maybe this is a new policy change?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have never had Viking tell me to go through a TA if not getting their air and I have done my own air arrangements on at least one trip. You can always purchase airport-hotel transfers from Viking if you do not want to do this on your own. Granted, this was on trips several years ago, so maybe this is a new policy change?

 

I think you may have misunderstood the comment.

 

This is nothing specifically to do with how you fly, it is simply that if you book the cruise through a TA then Viking normally expect you to deal with your TA and for the TA to deal with Viking.

 

There are always exceptions, but at the root of the concern is that when you use a TA, you are the TA's client and the TA is Vikings client, so Viking shouldn't really be taking instructions directly from you when you are not actually the one who booked the cruise with them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In contrast to other posters' experience that having booked the cruise through a TA you must work with Viking Air through your TA, I have been able to work directly with Viking Air [for a Viking Oceans cruise] despite having booked through a TA. They never mentioned this rule. Unfortunately their prices were higher than booking directly with British Air, even with the 'discount' built into my cruise promotion!

 

Do you happen to have the direct phone number for Viking Custom Air? It may be worth a try to call them directly. If they will not work with me, the conference call with TA sounds like a good option B.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you happen to have the direct phone number for Viking Custom Air? It may be worth a try to call them directly. If they will not work with me, the conference call with TA sounds like a good option B.

 

877-523-0580

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although we enjoyed the cruise portion of our Mekong River Cruise on Viking two years ago, we would NEVER book our airfare thru Viking. The agent (we booked a package directly thru Viking) counted backwards instead of forwards when figuring the International Dateline into our air travel and had us arriving after the ship sailed instead of enjoying two days in Saigon.

 

When we complained about this when our travel information was first available online, about a month before our departure date, Viking treated us as if it was OUR FAULT and that we were overly demanding passengers....imagine that...us wanting to enjoy two days, hotel and meals we had paid for.

 

For that reason we would never again use Viking, but would advise others to book their own air travel!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Begete,

 

While we’re delighted to hear that you enjoyed cruising with us, we sincerely regret to learn of your flight experience and the missed days in Saigon.

 

Although the sailing you reference is from a few years back, if you’re interested in discussing this matter further, we’d appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns at TellUs@vikingcruises.com.

 

We look forward to hearing from you through that outlet, Begete, and wish you a wonderful week ahead.

 

Kind regards,

Viking Cruises

 

Although we enjoyed the cruise portion of our Mekong River Cruise on Viking two years ago, we would NEVER book our airfare thru Viking. The agent (we booked a package directly thru Viking) counted backwards instead of forwards when figuring the International Dateline into our air travel and had us arriving after the ship sailed instead of enjoying two days in Saigon.

 

When we complained about this when our travel information was first available online, about a month before our departure date, Viking treated us as if it was OUR FAULT and that we were overly demanding passengers....imagine that...us wanting to enjoy two days, hotel and meals we had paid for.

 

For that reason we would never again use Viking, but would advise others to book their own air travel!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When you request Custom Air and agree upon the routing, they generally wait to actually ticket until closer to the sailing (about 50-75 days out), unless you insist on ticketing right away. When this is the case, and they have not actually ticketed, you may get some pushback, but they will generally agree to change the flights without charges. I always have it ticketed right away as I then upgrade my seats while this is still an option.

 

Keep in mind that they do not have to allow for changes without fees.

 

Also, worth considering, is that once you work with Custom Air and request the routing and all are agreed, they can ticket this routing at any time from that moment on. So, if you were hoping they would do it closer to 60 days out and they do it the day after you speak with them, this is their prerogative.

 

I recently worked with Custom Air to have my Mom's routing from Richmond, Virginia worked out, but did not request to have it ticketed yet. Almost 2 months after this my brother decided to join us on this sailing, and is flying direct from Washington DC, where he lives. I was able to call and get my Mom moved to fly over and back, nonstop, with my brother from DC, without incurring any extra fees, and also getting back the $100 extra fee my Mom had paid to fly out of a smaller gateway (Richmond) rather than the major gateway (DC). It is possible that I have a tiny bit of extra pull with Viking though.

 

Hi, Thanks for your information. To clarify, I have a question. With custom air can the ticket be issued sooner such as 10 months out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How far in advance/end of a sailing can I make my travel dates? We are doing Octoberfest pre-cruise so will want to fly at least a week prior to sailing and not sure how long we might want to stay after or what we might want to do? .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Viking - It's a little late for an apology. We did NOT end up missing the first two days of our package, as when I figured out Viking's error, I called and called until Viking "fixed" the error, just before our departure, so we could actually get there in time for the cruise. However, you sure did take your "revenge." While other passengers had two connections, we had 4 connections in each direction, some layovers over 8 hours! in the middle of the night in airports where nothing was open and one could not even buy a cup of coffee. Indeed, you put us on the most difficult set of flights we have ever taken in more than 45 years of world travel. The other passengers on our cruise were aghast at what you people did to us. They did not actually believe us until we brought our tickets to dinner one evening and passed them around for everyone to see. You lost a LOT of business from people on that cruise who were shocked at how we had been treated.

And as we are residents of an affluent retirement community, you will continue to lose business as we relate to everyone who is contemplating a cruise what you did to us. We are retired former Peace Corps volunteers who served both in Africa and the Middle East. We are nice people, active and well thought of in our community and not generally complainers, but the treatment we received from Viking was completely unconscionable and neither we, nor anyone who knows us will ever travel with you.

We wrote to Viking when we returned and got an e-mail reply apologizing. That was it. Nothing further.

 

and rest assured, we will continue to relate the facts to anyone who inquires in the future.

 

 

 

Dear Begete,

 

While we’re delighted to hear that you enjoyed cruising with us, we sincerely regret to learn of your flight experience and the missed days in Saigon.

 

Although the sailing you reference is from a few years back, if you’re interested in discussing this matter further, we’d appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns at TellUs@vikingcruises.com.

 

We look forward to hearing from you through that outlet, Begete, and wish you a wonderful week ahead.

 

Kind regards,

Viking Cruises

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please do not listen to this poster who is complaining years later. I have had nothing but wonderful customer service from Viking. Do not hesitate to book through them and if you have a question call them!!! They are extremely responsive and go out of their way to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please do not listen to this poster who is complaining years later. I have had nothing but wonderful customer service from Viking. Do not hesitate to book through them and if you have a question call them!!! They are extremely responsive and go out of their way to help.

100% agree. I have the occasion to speak with Viking quite regularly, and they are one of the most efficient and helpful suppliers in the industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please do not listen to this poster who is complaining years later. I have had nothing but wonderful customer service from Viking. Do not hesitate to book through them and if you have a question call them!!! They are extremely responsive and go out of their way to help.

 

 

 

This has been our experience as well. While the OP may be informing their “affluent community” others on the internet - which I think is a larger audience [emoji12] - are spreading the word of Viking’s excellent service.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious what your expectations would have been if you had faced the same issues we faced with Viking as you are so quick to defend their “excellent” customer service.

 

My OP reflected no complaint about the cruise itself. But we were not at fault for Viking’s error in booking our flights. Do you believe Viking was justified in booking our air travel in 4 segments each way (we do not live in a small town. We fly out of Seattle, a major airport on the west coast). We were forced to travel for nearly 48 hours in each direction. Passengers from the east coast and midwest ....the most plane changes anyone else on the cruise had were 3, with most fellow passengers having only 2.

 

So we arrived not having slept or eaten for over 48 hours. How do you defenders of Viking think you would have felt under those circumstances? How do you think Viking should have handled this?

 

 

 

 

This has been our experience as well. While the OP may be informing their “affluent community” others on the internet - which I think is a larger audience [emoji12] - are spreading the word of Viking’s excellent service.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just curious what your expectations would have been if you had faced the same issues we faced with Viking as you are so quick to defend their “excellent” customer service.

 

 

 

My OP reflected no complaint about the cruise itself. But we were not at fault for Viking’s error in booking our flights. Do you believe Viking was justified in booking our air travel in 4 segments each way (we do not live in a small town. We fly out of Seattle, a major airport on the west coast). We were forced to travel for nearly 48 hours in each direction. Passengers from the east coast and midwest ....the most plane changes anyone else on the cruise had were 3, with most fellow passengers having only 2.

 

 

 

So we arrived not having slept or eaten for over 48 hours. How do you defenders of Viking think you would have felt under those circumstances? How do you think Viking should have handled this?

 

 

 

I paid the extra $50 for Viking Air Plus and picked my own flights. If you let them pick the flights, like any business they are going to pick the cheapest. We were able to pick flights and they worked with us until we were happy. We had no connections, no stops and decent flight times.

 

For our next cruise with them, Air Plus was not available. I decided it would be better to book our own flights. Even though we are working with a TA for the one after that, I’ve already picked out my flights. You have to be proactive.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CyberKat,

 

Thank you for making my point. I was advising others in my OP to make their own flight arrangements and it appears you needed to do the same, or as you stated, Viking would get you there the cheapest way possible, in our case, having originally booked us on flights that would have gotten us there AFTER the cruise sailed, thereby saving Viking the two days’ worth of hotel and food costs their “error” would have saved them had we not caught it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CyberKat,

 

 

 

Thank you for making my point. I was advising others in my OP to make their own flight arrangements and it appears you needed to do the same, or as you stated, Viking would get you there the cheapest way possible, in our case, having originally booked us on flights that would have gotten us there AFTER the cruise sailed, thereby saving Viking the two days’ worth of hotel and food costs their “error” would have saved them had we not caught it.

 

 

 

Not making your point at all. I’m saying that you need to pay the $50pp to use Viking Air Plus then you can book through Viking AND pick your flights. I’m also saying that you need to make sure that everything is arranged to your satisfaction.

 

I booked through Viking Air Plus for our Rhine Getaway. It was not available on our West Indies Explorer itinerary or I would have used it again. I will be using it for our Grand European Tour next year.

 

Viking Air Plus is the way to go.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How far in advance will they allow you to book your flight if you pay the $50.00 for Plus air?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How far in advance will they allow you to book your flight if you pay the $50.00 for Plus air?

 

 

 

We did it 10 months out when the flights became available.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you get Custom Air even though we have the "free air" on our new booking?

Thank you all for your input. I am learning a lot for our First Viking Cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you get Custom Air even though we have the "free air" on our new booking?

Thank you all for your input. I am learning a lot for our First Viking Cruise.

 

 

 

We had “free air” on our Grand European and we were able to use Viking Air Plus aka Custom Air to get the flights we wanted.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are considering a river cruise and just starting to look. I wasn't considering Vikings Air because I figured they would pick the cheapest ... meaning we would have a couple connections and middle seats not together.

Are you saying that we can pay $50 (if the option is available) and then tell them what flight we want?

And after it is booked we can pick our own seats (with a seat fee I assume - but that's okay)

 

And one more question .... everyone on this thread seems to use a TA? Do they get you better rates? Or what is the reason for not booking directly with Viking?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are considering a river cruise and just starting to look. I wasn't considering Vikings Air because I figured they would pick the cheapest ... meaning we would have a couple connections and middle seats not together.

 

Are you saying that we can pay $50 (if the option is available) and then tell them what flight we want?

 

And after it is booked we can pick our own seats (with a seat fee I assume - but that's okay)

 

 

 

And one more question .... everyone on this thread seems to use a TA? Do they get you better rates? Or what is the reason for not booking directly with Viking?

 

 

 

Yes - if you use Viking Air without paying the $50 pp fee, they book you on flights that work for them, often odd ours, with multiple connections.

 

If you pay the Viking Air Plus fee you have a lot more choices for your flights. It helps to do some checking before you call the Air Plus number (after paying the fee). Pick our a few flight options that work for you. There may or may not be additional costs involved. It pays to be somewhat flexible.

 

For instance, we had picked out flights on United because we were in their FF program. They were not Viking partners at the time, so we had to pay more for those flights, but the Viking rep suggested Delta flights at nearly the same time and the same nonstop direct routing. We took the Delta flights and they were great. Delta has become our new go to airline.

 

Do keep in mind that If you want to fly in a day or a couple of days early and/or stay later without doing the Viking extension, there is also a $100 deviation fee.

 

If you go to the Viking website and look in the air section there is a list of their Air Partners. Those are the airlines they have deals with so if you can find acceptable flights with those airlines, you are less likely to incur any extra fees.

 

We have booked directly with Viking and we are also working with a TA on our latest cruises. Viking limits what TAs can do regarding discounts and perks, but they should be able to get you some onboard credit. We are doing pre and post extensions independently, so a TA becomes one stop shopping.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
However, you sure did take your "revenge." While other passengers had two connections, we had 4 connections in each direction, some layovers over 8 hours! in the middle of the night in airports where nothing was open

 

Do you believe Viking was justified in booking our air travel in 4 segments each way (we do not live in a small town. We fly out of Seattle, a major airport on the west coast). We were forced to travel for nearly 48 hours in each direction......How do you think Viking should have handled this?

 

I highly doubt that anyone was "taking revenge" on you. More likely, since it was only a month out, there was limited availability on flights that would have reduced the number of connections and the time of your layovers. Viking probably booked whatever was available to them, given whatever their contract was with the airlines. It's unfortunate that you were not made aware of the flight itinerary earlier (probably because your flights weren't actually ticketed until then) but you could probably could have exercised your option to just cancel the Viking air and book your own flights. It might have cost more money, but sometimes you get what you pay for and paying extra to get the flights and connections you want can be well worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those that booked air via Viking, do you recall what fare class ticket you were issued?

 

We're doing the Rhine Getaway next year and are flying from ORD -> AMS via United and then BSL -> MUC -> ORD via Lufthansa. These flights are within the allowance for flights that we got when we booked the cruise.

 

My hope is to use MileagePlus miles to upgrade our Economy seats on the United flight but I know that upgrades can be dependent on the fare class of the initial ticket. I used United's "expert mode" for searching flights and it appears that many upgrades are available for my flight. When I search for a one-way flight, I get an option to book Economy and then spend 20,000 points to upgrade to Business. However, when I search for a roundtrip, the option to upgrade changes to $550 + 20,000 points.

 

We were quoted a $400 upcharge for Premium Economy on Lufthansa. That seems... okay. I'd prefer to avoid the bidding options that come up just before the flight and it seems like my existing UA miles and other credit card points won't transfer well to LH's Miles&More program. I'd like to know what the cash option looks like to upgrade from Economy to Business on LH but I am unable to find a specific figure (and I understand that it's based on the specific trip; even a range like $750-1000 would be helpful).

 

Viking would put us in Business for all legs of the flight for another $3,000.

 

I didn't find too many recent threads in the Cruise Air forum but happy to post the same question there. I poked my toe into FlyerTalk but, man, I need to study a glossary before I can make much headway there!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How far in advance/end of a sailing can I make my travel dates? We are doing Octoberfest pre-cruise so will want to fly at least a week prior to sailing and not sure how long we might want to stay after or what we might want to do? .

We just did this however Viking charges $100 pp for a change from the itinerary. We did custom air $50 pp but are staying an extra 2 weeks after our cruise for which we were charged another $100 pp. So you can do it but it will cost extra. If it's not free airfare you may want to consider making your own air reservations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Victory Cruise Lines Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win a free 9-night cruise on Victory II
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2018
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×