Hello all. I did a forum search for this and read a long thread from 2009 about some folks who had a cruise nightmare using the line's air booking service, and then ChoiceAir came on the scene, and I'm wondering if it's still a gamble to use them, or if it truly is a valuable convenience?
What are other people's experiences using ChoiceAir? Have you been able to get there with time to spare? Are you able to book a flight using ChoiceAir that gets you into the port city the day before cruise departure or are you limited to the day of? Is it a good way to get the cheapest rates or are you still better off booking independently?
And also, the topic of insurance came up. Is it still a good idea to book trip insurance from a third party other than either the cruise line or the airline, and where do you find these third parties?
This is hard for me to answer personally since "ChoiceAir" screwed me up on a booking back in the Summer. I had booked business class to Dubai but when I checked with the carriers, it was 2 business flights and two economy flights. Fortunately I discovered it later that evening and called in with my problem. Over $1,600 additional and an admission that they had a "glitch" in their system didn't give me a warm fuzzy about them but I bit the bullet. That was for my own flight but I e-mailed them in November and again in December to see if they had corrected their "glitch" since I had a customer who wanted to use "ChoiceAir." To date they have flat out ignored me. I even contacted "D+" to see if they could get them to respond to my e-mail. Just advised to call the "ChoiceAir" desk which "RCI" loves to do (I prefer a hard letter or e-mail so I can track any issues). Even though they haven't told me so, it appears they have updated their system to reflect the class of service on EACH leg of connecting flights which is a good thing.
On a more positive note, the "next port" protection that comes with their better prices and ability to select YOUR choice of flights is a very nice feature.
I have no problem asking for ChoiceAir availability for clients. Especially when close in. They will give you the exact flights etc so then you can go direct or where you prefer and find those flights for yourself.
You have to be careful. They are careless at times. They gave me a landing time in FLL for 1 hour after the ship sailed. That was helpful
Ok, another set of questions re: flights and timing and stuff.
How long does everything generally take? Just as a scenario: Let's say we book on a ship sailing out at 5:00 pm. I know on the cruiseline's site it says to be checked in and onboard no later than 90 minutes prior to posted sailing time. About how long would it take to get through the airport and get to the pier?
I'd like to be able to say all this is a moot point since after reading the 'cruise nightmare' thread I'd plan to arrive the day before if at all possible, but if I'm trying to avoid that additional hotel cost... just wondering what's the latest landing time I would want to accept if the ship sails at 5:00.
If you must fly in the day of I would suggest a flight that lands by noon at the latest. It's not that far to the pier but by the time you walk down to the luggage and claim it you are already 1/2 hour from landing. I would also suggest you have ships transfers if you are landing day of.
All you need is a bit of a late flight to put you in a bind. It's well worth the cost of the hotel to go in the day before. Don't forget there are a number of hotels that have shuttle pick up at airport, continental breakfast and shuttle to the ship included.
The additional cost of the hotel is more than worth it.
Thanks, Felix. So did I gather correctly from your comments on other threads (or maybe this one) that you are a travel agent? I still haven't decided where to book my trip. I'm not quite ready yet, but I already know the line, ship, and sailing that I definitely want. Just waiting for the $$ for the deposit. If you can give me any recommendations as to agencies to book with, I'd be grateful. I've gotten a few from others here, but am still in the process of checking around. I am most interested in things like onboard credit, free room upgrades, and discounted shore excursions.
I used Choice Air on the doomed BOTS Mediterranean Egypt cruise. Oddly, it was the only thing that went as planned. Not the flight ... that was also a disaster. But the purchasing of the tickets and the price we got.
I think booking your own flight makes sense...they can book you through say, Cincinatti to Fla, if that's the most cost effective way to route you. Being in control of your flights allows you choice. I prefer to get an early morning flight..if there are amny weather issues, the earliest flights usually get out.
Trip, with her book & tea!
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