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Viking Air -Please share your experience

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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Thank you everyone. You have validated what I thought. Hopefully, we’ll hear from more posters.

 

 

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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.

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Does anyone know if Viking uses Delta or KLM?

 

 

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Good to hear and thank you for sharing. I also wish you safe and pleasant travels :)

 

 

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...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.

 

Don't forget also that when you deviate from arriving on Day 1 and departing on the last day of the cruise that you also lose the transfers that are included when you book your flights with Viking.

 

Deviation fee is $100pp.

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Don't forget also that when you deviate from arriving on Day 1 and departing on the last day of the cruise that you also lose the transfers that are included when you book your flights with Viking.

 

Deviation fee is $100pp.

Yes, you are correct. I forget to add the bit about making our way to/from the Viking ship on our own. Also, yes it was $100 per person as you state. Thanks so much for picking up on that as I am sure that OP needs all the info out there. Cheers.

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Don't forget also that when you deviate from arriving on Day 1 and departing on the last day of the cruise that you also lose the transfers that are included when you book your flights with Viking.

 

 

 

Deviation fee is $100pp.

 

 

 

We are planning to arrive the day our pre-cruise in Prague begins. However, at cruise end, we are thinking of flying from Budapest to Amsterdam and staying for a few days before flying back to the states. We would leave Budapest as scheduled so I’m assuming we’d have a transfer to the airport. We just wouldn’t have a transfer in Amsterdam, correct?

 

 

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Yes Cairn Mom that's what I was told by Viking and it's logical.

In the past with another linecruise when I used their air I had to pay for the flight in order to be ticketed to then be able to choose my premium seats, is that the case with Viking?

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We are planning to arrive the day our pre-cruise in Prague begins. However, at cruise end, we are thinking of flying from Budapest to Amsterdam and staying for a few days before flying back to the states. We would leave Budapest as scheduled so I’m assuming we’d have a transfer to the airport. We just wouldn’t have a transfer in Amsterdam, correct?

 

 

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However, be aware that there is a stopover-fee of $200pp when you break up your trip like that. I learned this by accident when I made our flight arrangements for our upcoming trip. And, you will have to ask about transfers in Budapest because I'm not sure how that works and assuming can get you into trouble.

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One caution. Apparently Viking Air Plus does not check out your airline seating. We upgraded to Business Class through them and they had us in seats with no window. Because we use this site to check...

 

https://www.seatguru.com

 

we knew it was a bad seat and had them put us in better seats.

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If we plan to arrive on the scheduled day of cruise but stay a couple of extra days at end of cruise (and pay the $100 deviation fee pp), can we still get the transfer from airport at the start? Also, if we pay the $100 deviation fee, do we have to pay an additional $50 to book our own flights? Thanks!

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If we plan to arrive on the scheduled day of cruise but stay a couple of extra days at end of cruise (and pay the $100 deviation fee pp), can we still get the transfer from airport at the start? Also, if we pay the $100 deviation fee, do we have to pay an additional $50 to book our own flights? Thanks!

 

The $50pp is the Custom Air fee and you pay it in order to talk with the folks in Viking Air. Then if you choose to deviate from arrive on Day 1 and/or depart on Day Last, there is a deviation fee of $100pp. If you choose flights that are not on Viking's list of flights, you may also incur additional airfare (imposed by the airlines). Normally, you still keep your transfers on any leg where you don't deviate.

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I opted to pay the $50 pp fee to ensure we had seats on the only non stop from Chicago to Amsterdam for our first river cruise in late Nov. and was happy with the experience. I did not upgrade to premium economy at that time. Is Vikings price the same as the airlines or do they offer a discount?

 

 

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Please keep in mind Viking Air resells the bulk rate fares from airlines so the airlines generally have nothing to do with your reservations should you run into an issue like flight delays or cancellations. Viking Air claims you are "protected" if you book your flights thru them especially if you buy their flight protection plan. However, in reality, you are on your own especially if you can't make the embarkation due to flight delays or cancellation. Viking Air will provide you instructions on how to catch the train or transportation so you can get to the next port to enable you to board the ship but Viking Air won't take care of any of that arrangement. You are on your own. So be sure to add in plenty of cushion in your arrival or better still sign up a pre-cruise so you won't be "late".

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I opted to pay the $50 pp fee to ensure we had seats on the only non stop from Chicago to Amsterdam for our first river cruise in late Nov. and was happy with the experience. I did not upgrade to premium economy at that time. Is Vikings price the same as the airlines or do they offer a discount?

 

 

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Sometimes it it a bargain and sometimes you can do better on your own. For each offer, you have to do the math. The air deals are always changing (usually once a month) and if you are not in a hurry to book and if you are willing to choose your cruise by air deal rather than itinerary, you can score some pretty good deals, including free air on some itineraries. Check prices on the first or second of the month.

 

For example, we did the same cruise, two years in a row. The first year, airfare was $445; the second year, it was $750. We took the air deal the first year but canceled the air portion the second year after we found that we could do it for less on our own. You can do that, sign up for the Viking air and then cancel after you have had a chance to check prices.

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Thanks f0r the additional information. I should have been more specific in my question. Is Viking’s charge to upgrade to premium economy the same as the airline’s?

 

 

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Posted (edited)
Thanks f0r the additional information. I should have been more specific in my question. Is Viking’s charge to upgrade to premium economy the same as the airline’s?

 

 

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I’ve been trying to determine the same for my own Rhine cruise next April. Short answer - it’s hard to tell.

 

I’m also flying ORD -> AMS. Currently, only two airlines offer direct flights on this route and neither have PE. Return flights out of Basel would be on partner airlines which do have PE.

 

For me, and with the cities I’m flying in/out of, it does not appear possible to book one flight on KLM in Economy and a return on Air France in PE (or United/Lufthansa). Maybe a TA can do it - Viking Air quoted me $400 to upgrade my return flight to PE.

 

If I flew Lufthansa/Air France the whole way (and gave up a direct flight to AMS), I think it would cost $2,500-$3,000.

 

Edit: most airlines will offer up an upgrade prior to departure, at check-in, at the gate - or on board. Lufthansa allows you to bid on an upgrade ahead of time. I can’t find concrete details about much these upgrades cost. I’m sure an algorithm figures out the optimal price for the airline. I’m not unhappy with paying $400 to guarantee PE on a return flight but your (air) mileage may vary.

Edited by 3rdCoastFan
Additional info.

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I called Viking and since my flights are already ticketed , they referred me to Lufthansa. PE would be $290 pp one way - not sure if I’ll do that; as you mentioned, there are other opportunities to upgrade before the flight.

 

 

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I am planning to book premium economy right from the get-go. I am very grateful to the the knowledgeable posters who helped me make this decision. I will research what I want and price it. If Viking Air can do better I’ll use them, if not, I’ll get my money back and do it myself. For a different of a few hundred more, I will leave it with Viking. The transfers are worth it.

This thread is great. I hope many people will benefit from it. I have. Particular thx to Peregrina651 and Jeff for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

 

 

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I am planning to book premium economy right from the get-go. I am very grateful to the the knowledgeable posters who helped me make this decision. I will research what I want and price it. If Viking Air can do better I’ll use them, if not, I’ll get my money back and do it myself. For a different of a few hundred more, I will leave it with Viking. The transfers are worth it.

This thread is great. I hope many people will benefit from it. I have. Particular thx to Peregrina651 and Jeff for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

 

 

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And, if your timing is right, you will have your air arrangements before you have to make final payment and not have to worry about being reimbursed.

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I called Viking and since my flights are already ticketed , they referred me to Lufthansa. PE would be $290 pp one way - not sure if I’ll do that; as you mentioned, there are other opportunities to upgrade before the flight.

 

 

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$290 isn’t bad, really. I’d pay that for the peace of mind of knowing I had a PE seat. An offer at the gate or on board would likely be more. You could get lucky with a bid of $200 or less - but you’re at the mercy of the bidding system.

 

A good reminder, too, that not every PE product is the same. Air France has a very unique seat that appears to be love it or hate it. Many airlines offer an improved economy seat with more leg room and maybe even more recline (KLM’s Economy Comfort, for example) but that is not the same as premium economy. SAS gives you lounge access with PE while Lufthansa charges you €35 - other benefits could include priority security lines or boarding.

 

So before you pay extra, via Viking, a TA or on your own, make sure that the seats and attendant benefits are worth it.

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I called Viking and since my flights are already ticketed , they referred me to Lufthansa. PE would be $290 pp one way - not sure if I’ll do that; as you mentioned, there are other opportunities to upgrade before the flight.

 

That actually seems pretty reasonable to me, for the difference between true PE and regular economy. Future offers to upgrade will depend entirely on cabin availability, and could be for a much higher price. If it was me, I'd jump on that $290 while it's available!

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Viking states that you can purchase airport transfers from them even if you purchase your own airfare. This way you are staying with the Viking group.

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