UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
Last Minute Flight Changes Made Easy With Cruise Line Airfare
When asked ‘what is the best way to buy airfare?’, ‘where should I look for it?’ and/or ‘what’s a good price?’, there are about as a many opinions as there are travelers. In the world of cruise vacations, flights to and from the cruise port take second place to booking the cruise, and rightfully so; once on the ship there are few surprises. Still, when weighing the price and convenience of airfare through the cruise line against doing it on our own, knowing what happens when something goes wrong can tip the scales.
Frankly, when an air schedule is in progress, where we bought it is of little consequence. When flights are delayed or cancelled, it’s the traveler and the airline that fix the disruption. The travel agent and/or cruise line are secondary resources to turn to if all else fails, and then probably only to make us feel good about a bad situation.
But back that up to as little as a day in advance of flying and that service provider who booked our air can indeed be a great source of help. Such was the case with a last-minute change to our outbound flights from Orlando to Venice to begin a lovely sailing of Viking Cruises new Viking Star. A strike by Lufthansa flight attendants posed a serious hurdle to our making it to the ship on time.
It was to be a lovely day of flying with one of our favorite airlines, German-efficient Lufthansa direct from Orlando to Frankfurt. We had our seating arrangement defined well in advance of flying and had kept up on prime seat locations, checking the aircraft seating plan daily starting a couple weeks in advance. Then the news came.
The Lufthansa Flight Change
“Unfortunately, flight cancellations from / to Frankfurt and Düsseldorf are to be expected for domestic and continental flights, ” said Lufthansa on their website starting two days before our flights. While it was nice to see our advice to check frequently on flights brought us information we might not have otherwise had, the bad news was going to mean a change to our flight plan.
That the flight change was two days in advance of flying made all the difference in the world with one quick email to Viking Cruises starting the rebooking process. At the end of the day our flights turned out to be actually better in some ways, thanks to Viking’s quick action. In all practicality, we were booking at the last minute and seating would be limited. Making the change after the ’24 hours until flying’ mark meant an unknown number of passengers on those flights had already checked in, bumping us further down the boarding list; a topic of concern for those who travel with carry-on luggage only (us).
Still, unless the Lufthansa flight had a downstream cascading effect on other flights (like a winter storm in the North can affect flights system-wide) we should be good to go. Actually, we would be good to go if we found out upon arrival at the airport that our flight had been canceled. We always have backup plans and carry with us airline flight numbers for alternate choices, should the need come up.
So off to the airport we go today and hope you will follow along as we sail again with Viking Cruises, this time on new Viking Star on a nicely planned Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary.
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