Passenger Complaint: Viking River Cruises Customer Review May 22, 2018 – “The travel pros at Viking may book multiple layovers and faulty connections, so beware, fellow globetrotters. We live in San Francisco near 3 major airports, so Viking flew us directly north to Seattle (2.5-hour flight) where we sat for 3.0 hours (rendering us 5.5 hours into our trip, no closer to our destination). Woohoo. My fault for trusting the pros at Viking to book proper flights. (Teeth clenched, laughing.) Then (then) Viking booked us on a 45-minute connection in (wait for it) huge and bustling Frankfurt, giving us only 45 minutes to disembark a massive plane (took 20), board a shuttle (took 10), cross the tarmac (took 5), walk into the terminal (took 5), make it through passport control (took 20), and then make it to another terminal to catch the flight (took 10). Needless to say the flight took off without us (boo hoo) and we had to wait 4 hours for the next flight. All pro, Viking, all pro.
When I complained about this by email, the Viking Air rep retorted (I cannot write this without chuckling) that we received vouchers for lunch, as if that were proper compensation for 4 hours of cooling our already cooled heels. She was correct. We did receive vouchers after waiting in line an hour to receive them (we waited because we had, well, FOUR hours and we thought we’d actually get vouchers for, well, lunch). The generous vouchers were a whopping 10 Euros each, which covered two beers. Yippee. Prost! We finally landed, but Viking did not greet us at the airport when we reached our destination (24 hours later for what should be about 11 hours, so again, all pro, Viking) so we caught a cab (no big deal).
When we arrived at the hotel, Viking staff greeted us with, “Hello! Welcome! We wondered what happened to you.” Lovely. Great service. The reps did not want to hear our complaints and our all-too-common-sense explanation that Viking had booked us on similar flights going home (meaning they needed to change the flights so we were not stuck in airports needlessly again), instructing us to tell the staff on board the ship. We did just that, and on-board staff replied, together with blank stares, that they did not handle flights but would email Viking (kick that can forward), to which Viking replied that they could upgrade us to first class for an extra $4,000. OMG. It went downhill from there. Each day of our cruise we participated in the Viking circus known as “customer service” to almost (almost) no avail.
I must mention one laughable email that I received from a Viking rep in California, asking me to give her a call that day or the next. Yes, dear travel expert, I will pop on to the phone in remote Russia (no connection) in a different time zone (waking at any odd hour) to call you to explain to you how to do your job. Wait. Wait. I have to mention one more thing. I love (love!) how the replies to these online reviews note that the writer has been in touch with customer service. Really? Really? So that is a thing? Viking actually has customer service? Can you please reply with a name and number of a human being (and not a department) who will not kick the can forward and actually provide an intelligent explanation about our flights and a full day of our much-needed vacation that was wasted? I think quite a few other passengers on our cruise would like to know, as well, so thanks.”