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Cost savings experiences with booking air travel with Viking?

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Something I've been curious about: 

 

What cost savings have you actually experienced in booking air travel with Viking vs on your own?   

 

Do you price it out or do you always book air with Viking for the convenience? 

 

My default thought has been

- I would always self-book to keep flexibility for using mileage.

- I am not inclined to trust my air travel booking responsibilities with someone else.  I guess i feeI - it adds variables.  Other things that could go wrong.  

 

from a different thread: 

1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

As previous reply noted, this is why we always fly in 1 or 2 days early. For our next cruise, which departs L/A on Jan 4th, we are flying down 2 days early, with Viking accepting my rationale for waiving the deviation fee. 

 

Didn't realize cruise lines could charge a "deviation fee" for arriving early.  Glad to hear Viking will waive it.    

 

I would always want to arrive at least 2 days before a cruise if at all possible exactly for that reason.   I'm grateful my work situation allows that to be possible.
Vacation is rare and precious enough that missing day 1 would be a bummer.

 

(Context:  I am new to both cruising and cruise air.) 

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This thread has some really excellent information:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2615847-viking-air-information/?tab=comments#comment-56383589

 

Especially interesting, for me, is M2inor's post #84. It gives the particulars about the discounted fare buckets in regards to earning miles for elite status.

 

If you are considering using Viking Air, do your research and figure out what routing/airline you prefer and what the prices are for your preferred class of service. Then work with Viking Air and see if they offer any benefit.

 

We always book our own air in order to utilize miles or earn miles. But that's just us and we are completely comfortable handling our own transfers and hotel arrangements. Some people use Viking Air because they like being picked up at baggage claim and walked up to check-in at the airport.

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Sometimes, the Viking transfers that come with the Viking Air are worth the difference in price between what you can do on my own and what Viking is charging; however, unless you are on a Viking pre- or post-cruise extension, Viking transfers are only available if you arrive on Day 1 of the itinerary and depart on the last day of the itinerary. For instance, I was happy to pay whatever Viking was charging and to arrive and depart on whatever days they told me in order to have Viking handle transfers for our river cruise in China.I just wanted Viking to take care of me from the moment I exited customs until they dropped me at the airport. I did not want to have to worry about anything.

 

Many people let Viking handle flights simply because it is easier for them. They aren't as particular about when they fly and they like the idea that Viking will meet at the airport and then get them back to the airport at the end of the cruise -- and that's okay. We each have to handle these things in the way that works best for us. My money, my vacation, my decision.

 

The same goes for choosing not to use Viking Air. My money, my vacation,  my decision.

 

There are so many variables in the equation that you cannot make any blanket statements; everyone's experience is different. Every cruise is different. I just booked my own airfare for our next adventure; we want to extend going and coming and I was able to do it for less than it would have cost me with Viking, including the transfers that I will have to pay on my own. This past March, I took advantage of free airfare and let Viking take care of the flights -- we flew non-stop to Paris, exactly as we wanted. Another time, airfare deal to Barcelona was under $500, much better than I could find on my own. The next time we took a cruise leaving from Barcelona, the fare was over $800; we made our own arrangements including transfer for less than that.

 

Letting Viking handle the flights does not mean you must have no say in the matter. For a small fee ($50pp for "custom Air"), you can choose from among the flights that Viking is offering at your price point --and you can choose them well before Viking assigns them.  I pay the fee. I chose my flights about 275 days prior to sailing, long before Viking assigns the flights and the seats that for those who have decided not to pay the fee.

 

We give ourselves choices. Viking Air can be booked and cancelled as long as you cancel x many days before sailing (you will have to ask Viking what x is; I don't want to give the wrong information). You can add Air after but I am not sure if you get the air price in effect when you booked or the what --but that is a question you can ask when you book your cruise.

 

Bottom-line: sometimes you save money and sometimes you don't. Sometimes it is about the money and sometimes it isn't.

 

 

 

 

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Another factor is living near an international flight hub.  We do, so Viking usually provides a direct flight from home and back.  However, the route from Stockholm to Dulles International did take us through Toronto.  This made for a pretty long day.  

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When we include Viking Air in our trips I research flights in advance and find ones I think are best. Simultaneously, our travel agent is working with the Viking Air department to get their recommendation. For our upcoming flights to Australia, Viking had the perfect schedule and a great price, less than I could find. At other times our travel agent and I will have a 3-way conversation with Viking air people and go through the flight options. I usually have flights in mind and ask if those will work for Viking. 

Because we are going to Sydney a few days before the cruise, we made reservations for transport to our hotel. If I were going to China I’d be more likely to use Viking air and their transportation from and to the airport. 

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For our upcoming cruise, Business Class flights were included, so we opted for "Air Plus" at a cost of CAN $50 pp. When flights were available, I sent our TA our preferred flights for YVR-LAX & LHR-YVR. Both flight preferences and times were accepted & booked by Viking.

 

For costs, if we purchased the flights directly, it would have cost about double the air allowance included in the cruise contract, so we are enjoying significant savings using Viking Air.

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2 hours ago, Krisval said:

When we include Viking Air in our trips I research flights in advance and find ones I think are best. Simultaneously, our travel agent is working with the Viking Air department to get their recommendation. For our upcoming flights to Australia, Viking had the perfect schedule and a great price, less than I could find. At other times our travel agent and I will have a 3-way conversation with Viking air people and go through the flight options. I usually have flights in mind and ask if those will work for Viking. 

Because we are going to Sydney a few days before the cruise, we made reservations for transport to our hotel. If I were going to China I’d be more likely to use Viking air and their transportation from and to the airport. 

 

Great tips, Krisval.  Will be interesting to hear from you how your adventure went.  We are doing NZ/Australia in Feb 2021 so will follow you.   Interesting to hear that Viking Air had a good price to Australia (as I've heard otherwise on other posts).  Are you going via LAX?  Connections?  Did you upgrade to Premium Economy or Business?

I like your idea of having a 3 way conversation with flights desired already prepared - sounds much easier and efficient!  We will have to try that.  Thanks!

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Air is included with our sailing next November, and it will be a domestic flight so we will use it (probably adding plus) and hope we don't have any issues arriving day of (but have insurance just in case).

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Neither option is a hard and fast rule for us. We go with whichever path works for us at the time.

 

On our Grand European river cruise last year “free” economy air was included in the cruise fare. We upgraded to business class for $3000 pp. When I checked for booking with airlines on our own, it was $7000 pp. We also paid the $50 pp for Air Plus and the $100 pp deviation fee so we could fly into Budapest early and out of Amsterdam late. 
 

On our recent Eastern Seaboard Explorer cruise we only needed one way air, so it worked out better to book on our own. 
 

Do your research and book what works best for you. 

 

 

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I agree with Pellegrina... it all depends. We have made several Viking river cruises where air was included or offered at a super low price point so we used them and the included transfers made the trip super easy. We always do the custom air and have always gotten the flights we wanted without any additional cost (except the $50/pp custom air fee). 

On our 3 VO ocean cruises we have done considerably better booking air on our own. We few premium economy for less than Viking wanted for regular economy. And for all of those cruises we would have had to add the additional deviation fee because we traveled on our own before and after the cruises. If I was traveling to a location where I did not feel particularly comfortable navigating on my own (like Pellegrina did in China) I would absolutely do Viking Air even if it was more expensive than booking on my own. 

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Cyber Kat - I would be interested in how your accomplished the upgrade from the Viking economy fare to Business class.  Did you call the airline directly and pay directly to them? (can you say which airline?) 

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