Air-Sea Packagessss

You've booked your cruise and now you must decide whether to let the cruise line book your air, or to book it on your own. What are the advantages and dis-advantages of each?

You should always check to see what the published airfare prices are versus what the cruise line will charge for air arrangements. And when comparing the costs, factor in the cost of transportation from the airport to the pier and back. The cost differential may be negligible or it may be quite substantial. Here are the pro's and con's of booking with the cruise line or booking it on your own.

WHEN THE CRUISELINES ARRANGE YOUR FLIGHTS

Advantages:

  • If you encounter a mechanical or weather related delay, most cruise lines will hold the ship for you or make arrangements for you to meet the ship at the next port of call.
  • The cruise lines will handle your baggage and provide transfers from the airport to the ship and back.
  • Depending on when you book, the cruise line may be able to secure you a better air fare.
  • If, for some reason your cruise is cancelled or re-scheduled, the cruise line will refund the cost of your airfare along with the cruise.
  • Many cruise lines offer extremely attractively priced First and Business Class upgrades.

    Disadvantages:

  • You will not know which airline and routing you will get until approximately 30 days prior to departure. You may receive connections instead of non stop flights, a charter flight in lieu of scheduled service on a major airline or times that are extremely undesireable such as early morning or late evening flights
  • Many times, the cruise line air is much higher in cost than a published airfare.
  • You don't earn frequent flier mileage and probably cant use any upgrades that you may have.

    CHOOSING TO MAKE YOUR OWN AIR ARRANGEMENTS

    Advantages:

  • You may get a better fare or be able to obtain free air using mileage or rewards points.
  • Your are in complete control; you pick the airline, flights and times, routing and cost.
  • You earn frequent flyer mileage and may be able to upgrade.

    Disadvantages:

  • With a weather related or mechanical delay, you're on your own if you miss the ship.
  • If a cruise is cancelled or rescheduled, the cruise line may not refund the cost of your air tickets.

    AIR DEVIATIONS; THE SOLUTION?

    An Air Deviation is a compromise, and in many cases the solution the Cruise Line/Air Fare conundrum. It allows you to customize your air schedule, picking the carrier, routing and flight times you prefer. Depending on the cruise line, there is a service fee for these arrangements which ranges from $25 to $50 per person.

    A simple and relatively painless process, the only requirement is that your cruise be under deposit with the cruise line and depending on the cruise line, the request be filed at least 45-75 days prior to departure. You or your travel agent then submits the schedule request to the cruise line. They will then check the availability and usually reply with 24 to 72 hours with a confirmation. If they can confirm the arrangements you requested, they will advise any cost differential. You are then given between 24 to 72 hours to accept or decline the deviation. If you accept, the cruise line will charge you any difference in airfare and the service fee for processing the request.

    I highly recommend Air Deviations and any good agent will advise you of this option, along with the requisite pros and cons. This simple process and and the relatively small cost can save you a lot of aggravation and headaches. One of the most common complaints people have in regards to their cruise is the air arrangements. And too many times I have heard people decline this option to save the $25-$50. Penny Wise and Pound Foolish I say!!

  • Recommended Articles