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2 hours ago, SuSuTrav said:

We always book our own air and the cruise too. 

We have always booked out own air as well (rather than Viking).  Reasons were:  it seemed simpler, we could do it sooner, and get seats we wanted sooner, and every time so far it was quite cheaper.   Plus, we have not been the type to just fly to the ship, then disembark the ship and fly home, so our pre and post flights have often not fit into Viking's Air.

That all seemed to go well until COVID-19.   

Now it seems that doing Viking Air is like buying extra insurance.  It may cost more, you may get undesirable seats, you have to deal with more things. . . .    BUT   if anything goes wrong, you get things taken care of for you.  In this day and age we may just have to change our tune and "Buy" the Viking "Insurance" as it were.

Edited by CCWineLover
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2 hours ago, CCWineLover said:

We have always booked out own air as well (rather than Viking).  Reasons were:  it seemed simpler, we could do it sooner, and get seats we wanted sooner, and every time so far it was quite cheaper.   Plus, we have not been the type to just fly to the ship, then disembark the ship and fly home, so our pre and post flights have often not fit into Viking's Air.

That all seemed to go well until COVID-19.   

Now it seems that doing Viking Air is like buying extra insurance.  It may cost more, you may get undesirable seats, you have to deal with more things. . . .    BUT   if anything goes wrong, you get things taken care of for you.  In this day and age we may just have to change our tune and "Buy" the Viking "Insurance" as it were.

Depends on the situation. The deviation is what made our decision. We are planning our own 4 day pre-cruise "excursion" to Iceland and the air fare from NY to Iceland as a stopover to Bergen is more expensive than the cost of Viking Air with deviation.

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23 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

 But how does it work with Viking? What happens if - by 75 days before the trip - all the seats are sold? I'm looking at business, so there are already a very limited number of those.

You are correct that there are a smaller number of biz seats than economy (on most aircraft) but what you see available for sale may not be all the airline is willing to sell. 

 

Does Viking guarantee a seat but not necessarily what you might have had in mind?
 

Exactly, that is why some of us prefer to purchase the Airplus so we can have the opportunity to work with Viking to get the flights that our best for us...but that doesn’t mean you get to necessarily always get the exact flights or seats you want. 
 

When will I know the seat assignment? 
Your seat will be assigned shortly after you make final payment if you have purchased Airplus  (and ask them to go ahead and ticket)  This is also when we have been able to contact the airline directly to pay extra to self assign ourselves to exit rows or use points to upgrade to biz as we have only used it with Viking “free” air   Like some others we have never been able to get their prices for Business Class to fit within our budget so we either Waive the free air and book it on our own or use points/money to get ourselves a comfortable seat.


Some responses to your questions are above. 

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11 hours ago, Clay Clayton said:


Some responses to your questions are above. 

Clay...thanks for clarifying some of this. I'm confused by (or else not understanding) the one thing you said though: "what you see available for sale may not be all the airline is willing to sell." Not sure what you mean. What I see on an airline seating chart is assumedly the total of what's available. If a seat is not marked unavailable, then I've never run into a situation where you can't select and book it.  

 

So if I'm interpreting everything correctly, even with AirPlus, there are no guarantees of even getting the flight itinerary that you prefer - let alone specific seats. The trip is already fully paid for, so then does that mean it would be more likely for Viking to be able to assure me a specific flight and seat? 

 

Also, I have no idea what the "points" are that you and others have referred to. Are you talking about points earned from frequent flyer status, etc. that may not have anything to do with Viking? Or, if Viking air is used enough times, is some sort of point system awarded? It sounds like there is still a lot more to this than I'm aware of. You mention contacting the airline "directly to self-assign..", etc. You mean - in conjunction with also booking through Viking? I fail to see - if you can arrange something specific with the airline - how is that different from simply doing everything through the airline and not using Viking at all?  This seems the sort of thing that answers just lead to more questions. 

 

Your last statement does little to encourage me to book their business class - the price is just so much higher, but then - by going cheaper in booking directly with the airline (or through expedia, etc.) I'm at the mercy of their change / cancellation policy - which does not play into all the possible coronavirus scenarios near as well as having everything under Viking. This is a really tough decision.  

 

 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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On 6/17/2020 at 6:18 PM, OnTheJourney said:

Our agent is a nice person, and is basically quite helpful but sometimes I'd like a bit more prompt service. I've already had to email 3-4 times to get a response. We were automatically assigned to her when our longtime agent at AAA retired. Never bothered to explore further to find anyone else. 

 

So here's an air question:  I'm now able to get back on MVJ and was looking at the air options. If I book "air plus" at $50pp, am I correct that I could always cancel and get a refund for that- at least at this point being 7 months out from the trip and no upgraded air yet booked?  All I have at this point is the free economy air that Viking gave us. 

 

What is the advantage - if any - of adding this "air plus" to our account at the present time? If I do this, is there more that can be done on MVJ in the way of requesting specific air itinerary info?  If there's no real benefit to it right now, I'll save the $100 for the time being. 

 

I should add that we are planning to arrive in the embarkation city several days before the cruise begins - so I assume that entails the additional "deviation" fee, right? 

Hi - It seems that my responses are not being posted but I'll try again. Spoke to my TA this morning and she answered some of your questions

  • Air Plus fee: non- refundable. Tickets you book with Viking Air are refundable for Viking credit; you get a voucher.
  • Upgraded air: You should book as soon as possible. Flights are posted 10 months before they go, so at 7 months, business class may be hard to come by.  Check with your TA or Viking, and please share any info you get. This is not easy to get all the info at once!
  • Adding Air Plus: can be done up to the date of final payment 

Hope this helps. Please share any info you can get because it seems we're all getting lots of confusing/conflicting info.

Elaine

 

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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Clay...thanks for clarifying some of this. I'm confused by (or else not understanding) the one thing you said though: "what you see available for sale may not be all the airline is willing to sell." Not sure what you mean. What I see on an airline seating chart is assumedly the total of what's available. If a seat is not marked unavailable, then I've never run into a situation where you can't select and book it.  

 

So if I'm interpreting everything correctly, even with AirPlus, there are no guarantees of even getting the flight itinerary that you prefer - let alone specific seats. The trip is already fully paid for, so then does that mean it would be more likely for Viking to be able to assure me a specific flight and seat? 

 

Also, I have no idea what the "points" are that you and others have referred to. Are you talking about points earned from frequent flyer status, etc. that may not have anything to do with Viking? Or, if Viking air is used enough times, is some sort of point system awarded? It sounds like there is still a lot more to this than I'm aware of. You mention contacting the airline "directly to self-assign..", etc. You mean - in conjunction with also booking through Viking? I fail to see - if you can arrange something specific with the airline - how is that different from simply doing everything through the airline and not using Viking at all?  This seems the sort of thing that answers just lead to more questions. 

 

Your last statement does little to encourage me to book their business class - the price is just so much higher, but then - by going cheaper in booking directly with the airline (or through expedia, etc.) I'm at the mercy of their change / cancellation policy - which does not play into all the possible coronavirus scenarios near as well as having everything under Viking. This is a really tough decision.  

 

 

Re points:

These are airmiles or points you have from flying specific airlines, airline credit cards, or points from transferable credit cards like Amex, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points. Most airlines have partners so if you hold American Airlines miles, you may be able to transfer them to a partner that has a better rate or goes to your destination non-stop.  

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This was my experience with Viking on a trip scheduled for August 24, 2020.  We booked the trip last September and paid for it shortly after that including Business Class air.  Vikings air was cheaper than anything I could find, and I looked, as we usually book our own air.  It was for a 78 day trip starting in Vancouver and ending in Sydney. 

In January my travel agent, myself, and a very nice woman from Vikings air had a conference call.  I knew what flights we wanted.  Of course they want you to arrive the day of the cruise departure.  We would have arrived 3 hours before sailing and I said that I thought that was too close, so Viking waived the deviation fees and booked us the day before on the flights I wanted. 

I am so glad we were booked with Viking air, because when they canceled the trip, my travel agent called.  I told her we wanted the refund, she told Viking, and 6 days later all of it was in our bank account. 

I found Viking air easy to work with.  Our flights to Vancouver where changed by United.  I did not like what was rebooked so I called Viking air, and they rebooked it to flights I liked better.  Also on the United flight to Vancouver from Tampa, we were booked in F/C since there is no business class.   

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13 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Clay...thanks for clarifying some of this. I'm confused by (or else not understanding) the one thing you said though: "what you see available for sale may not be all the airline is willing to sell." Not sure what you mean. What I see on an airline seating chart is assumedly the total of what's available. If a seat is not marked unavailable, then I've never run into a situation where you can't select and book it.  
 

You’re correct that if a seat is showing available then you can select it, but sometimes the seats shown as unavailable arent necessarily sold.  They are being held out by the airline and could become available closer to flight time. 

 

So if I'm interpreting everything correctly, even with AirPlus, there are no guarantees of even getting the flight itinerary that you prefer - let alone specific seats. correct

 

The trip is already fully paid for, so then does that mean it would be more likely for Viking to be able to assure me a specific flight and seat? yes, but not guaranteed-but lots of us have gotten exactly the flights we want. 
 

 

Also, I have no idea what the "points" are that you and others have referred to. Are you talking about points earned from frequent flyer status, etc. that may not have anything to do with Viking? Or, if Viking air is used enough times, is some sort of point system awarded? It sounds like there is still a lot more to this than I'm aware of.
I was taking about airline points. 
 

 

You mention contacting the airline "directly to self-assign..", etc. You mean - in conjunction with also booking through Viking? Yes

 

I fail to see - if you can arrange something specific with the airline - how is that different from simply doing everything through the airline and not using Viking at all? Because we are using Viking’s “Free” air and then upgrading ourselves using points or buying a better seat assignment-typically exit rows as I am 6’-7” tall. Viking won’t do that for you so once you have been ticketed, you have to go online and re-assign yourself to the new seat and pay the fee...or in the case of upgrading, following whatever the airlines procedure is to do that.  Not all Viking seats aren’t ticketed in a class that allows one to do that AND unless your are a very elite flyer high in the airlines pecking order, you are unlikely to confirm the upgrade until just before the flight. So for our return flights last year from Rome to Raleigh, we paid $325 each and 25,000 points to upgrade from our “free” Viking seats in the back of the bus to business class.  We weren’t confirmed until we were able to check in 24 hours before the flight and we were not able to sit together. After a 14 day transatlantic and 8 days of being the three amigos (my mother in law, my husband and me) we didn’t object to the 8 hours of separation 😂
 

 This seems the sort of thing that answers just lead to more questions. 

 

Your last statement does little to encourage me to book their business class - the price is just so much higher, but then - by going cheaper in booking directly with the airline (or through expedia, etc.) I'm at the mercy of their change / cancellation policy - which does not play into all the possible coronavirus scenarios near as well as having everything under Viking. This is a really tough decision.  Your situation is different from ours. We were dealing with “free” tickets, happened to have been an elite level with AA, and didn’t have to deal with Covid.  So not sure my experience on Viking pricing for business should have much influence on your decision. 

 

 

As before, my answers are above

Edited by Clay Clayton
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Thanks to all for additional advice. Please know how much it is appreciated! My TA was able to find out more on a few of the options and possible itineraries, so I'm looking into that. 

 

Travelnn...thanks for checking with your agent. I think the advice to book B-class sooner, rather than later, is probably sound. 

 

Janert - also reassuring to hear that Viking was very accommodating to work with, especially in the way of refunding, etc. I confirm this by my experiences with them as well following the March '19 Sky episode. And, my TA has indicated good results in handling the various cancellations for Viking clients once things got crazy in March. 

 

Clay - as you said, your situation is rather different with the use of your points and status but, still, thanks for responding to (so many!) questions. All really helpful since I have no experience whatsoever with Viking air - other than hearing about the often unsuccessful attempts that were made for the rebooking of the Sky passengers to get back home from Oslo that time. They were not doing very well for us and many people were getting frustrated, so at some point I took my wife's cell phone, went off to a quiet area on the Sky, and booked our SAS flights back to Newark. Amazingly, Viking paid for them as part of the whole compensation package. I was truly impressed. 

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Just found out the following re: flight cancellation

"..... all major U.S. airlines – and many of the big international carriers – are granting free change or cancellation to many tickets booked through by June 30. And we expect these flexible cancellation policies to be the new norm as travel recovers.

That means you could book a flight today for a trip this summer, fall, or even into 2021 and then cancel if need be, getting a voucher for the value of your ticket. So if corona virus doesn’t improve in time, you won’t be out a bunch of money."

 

It comes from an article about travel insurance which I found very enlightening. Apparently none of the credit cards that offer travel insurance will allow cancellation because of the corona virus. 

https://thriftytraveler.com/coronavirus-and-travel-insurance-all-your-questions-answered/

 

What are your thoughts? I don't think I can book that far in advance (our cruise is May 31) but those of you sailing in January might be interested.

 

Elaine

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Thanks travelnn for additional thoughts. The thing is, I believe I'm correct that most airlines will only allow a re-ticketed flight to be used within one year from the date of original cancelation - unless this is the usual policy that is being relaxed. It probably varies by airline. I also had come across this June 30 date, which is why I've sort of been scrambling to make some sort of decision. However, for us, it seems highly unlikely that we'd book another flight by next June. We have other trips already scheduled in '21 (one of which is a rebooking from a cruise that was canceled in March - not with Viking) and none of them involve or need flying. The one thing we might need flights for (if we don't go on the January inaugural cruise) is a possibly rebooked fly / drive trip out west currently scheduled for this coming October. I'd push that off till next October. However, here's another catch. If I book and then have to cancel Business class flights (for January) and then wind up not substituting a rebooked flight of the same (or even close) value  - (which would likely be the case) - I'm out the difference. 

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On 6/25/2020 at 4:21 PM, CCWineLover said:

 

Now it seems that doing Viking Air is like buying extra insurance.  It may cost more, you may get undesirable seats, you have to deal with more things. . . .    BUT   if anything goes wrong, you get things taken care of for you.  In this day and age we may just have to change our tune and "Buy" the Viking "Insurance" as it were.

We were handling our own for the June cruise that got cancelled... but we are going with Viking Air for the July 2021 rebook for exactly this reason.  Now we have 2 years... maybe 3... I'd have to dig up the papers... to use out Iceland Air Future Flight Credits.  

 

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Can anyone help with this?  It's so hard to tell (for someone like myself who has not used Business class that often) which way these seats face and so which is best for two people traveling together!  Thanks....

 

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Based on Seat Guru, all seats face forward and like others have stated, there really aren’t any good seats for couples.  If it was me, I would pick two of Seat Guru’s green seats along the windows. 
 

But, based on at least one news report, United may not be bringing their 767s back from their current storage so you may end up in completely different equipment by the time of your flights. 

28C4D5FA-640A-469B-B511-1100EB0BD79D.png

Edited by Clay Clayton
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Clay...thanks so much for more input. I must say, I wouldn't care for choosing two of the green seats since there is likely to be someone in between (or not??)  You're absolutely right though - it could wind up being a completely different choice of planes and seats, so probably best to not spend a huge amount of time on this. 

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On 7/1/2020 at 6:21 PM, OnTheJourney said:

Clay...thanks so much for more input. I must say, I wouldn't care for choosing two of the green seats since there is likely to be someone in between (or not??)  You're absolutely right though - it could wind up being a completely different choice of planes and seats, so probably best to not spend a huge amount of time on this. 

There won’t be anyone “in between”. With the Polaris  layout on this plane, everyone has direct aisle access. Just some are closer to the aisle (less private) and some are closer to the window (preferred by most because of the additional privacy). 
 

You might want want to do a search on YouTube to see the layout in person.  

Edited by Clay Clayton
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How is it that several have mentioned upgrading with airline points after Viking has issued their airline tickets?  I called Delta to ask for any tips before utilizing Viking Air Plus.  The Delta representative stated "be sure to ask for upgradeable tickets".  When I called Viking Air, the representative stated none of the tickets through Viking Air are upgradeable?

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How is it that several have mentioned upgrading with airline points after Viking has issued their airline tickets?  I called Delta to ask for any tips before utilizing Viking Air Plus.  The Delta representative stated "be sure to ask for upgradeable tickets".  When I called Viking Air, the representative stated none of the tickets through Viking Air are upgradeable?


Maybe that is specific to Delta. But I was able to upgrade United flights from Viking Air earlier this year


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On 7/9/2020 at 6:48 PM, sfocruiser said:

 


Maybe that is specific to Delta. But I was able to upgrade United flights from Viking Air earlier this year


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Insane! I wonder whether the answers you get depend on the representative you speak to! Please update Delta information because that was my plan too. THNX 

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On 7/9/2020 at 12:58 PM, 55Division said:

How is it that several have mentioned upgrading with airline points after Viking has issued their airline tickets?  I called Delta to ask for any tips before utilizing Viking Air Plus.  The Delta representative stated "be sure to ask for upgradeable tickets".  When I called Viking Air, the representative stated none of the tickets through Viking Air are upgradeable?

Found some info that might be helpful

Heidi -post 37 Re Viking selects air if you don't pay for air plus

 

Elaine (travelnn) -

It doesn't quite specify upgrades with points! My TA said I can book my air in August for May 31 cruise ; economy air $1199 + deviation .... etc.- all fees mentioned below, AND Viking will use my points for upgrade.    

 

Viking Air Plus: Starting at $50 per person

  • Get a quote for nonstop flights or the most direct air service available
  • Reservations with airlines that accept frequent flyer mileage
  • Travel on specific airlines or air routing
  • Confirmation of flight schedules at time of reservation; no waiting once deposit and Guest Information Forms are received
  • Premium economy and business classes of service are available on most itineraries for an additional cost - call for a quote.

For those of you who have free air - could this be the issue?  

The Viking Air Plus fee is a non-refundable fee. .... Bookings that qualify for Viking's Free Air promotion are not combinable with Viking Air Plus.

 

Wouldn't it be nice to have a definitive answer????

 

 

 

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FWIW, we have had Viking Free Air and paid the custom and the deviation fee without any issue. This first allowed us to request flights on our preferred airline (AA) which then allowed us to work with the airline to upgrade to biz using points and cash. The deviation fee allowed us to fly in a day early (saw too many VikingAir passengers miss our Transatlantic the first year after a winter storm made them late to San Juan and a storm at sea kept us from picking them up in St Maarten) and fly out of Rome 10 days after disembarking in Barcelona. 

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Our experience was same as Clay. We had free business flights, both out and home. We paid the Air Plus fee and got to select our preferred flights with no surcharge. Based on potential weather delays we negotiated waiving the deviation fee, as we arrived a couple days early.

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Pretty sure I'll do this through Viking - seems the most logical way. However, very honestly - the way things are going - I don't see this January trip (out of Rome) taking place. I give it a 50/50 chance at best. Thanks for additional thoughts. I'll book flights, and then just probably wind up using the money for something else. 

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