One of Bedell’s friends was available to go in his place to keep her company, but Viking River Cruises told her they would have to cancel her husband’s reservation with no refund and rebook her friend, requiring a full payment of the fare. Bedell expected to pay change fees for the airline, but not to have Viking charge her friend another fare for the cruise. Viking isn’t losing any money because the fare is paid for that cruise; it’s just a different person going. The travel industry need to stop doing business according to antiquated rules and be more flexible. For now, the major reminder here is that people do get sick; emergencies do arise, so consider travel insurance. Forcing someone to buy a new ticket means the airline sells another ticket — and that is the primary reason for the rule, in my opinion. Although Elliott cited a success story of a passenger who was able to make a change to his ticket, it still ended up costing him $800 in fees and fare changes.
Would you support the idea of ticket transferability to airline, cruise and other travel companies? Unfortunately for the Bedells and their friend, they will end up having to pay again to take this cruise.
I’m something of a stickler for contracts, but I think Viking is being unreasonable here. MOST cruise lines DO allow a name-change on the ticket, as long as at least one person from the original booking remains on the ticket.
Tickets are sold as non-refundable to transfer the risk that the berth will not be re-sold on to the passenger, instead of the line. It’s pretty routine for lines to allow for precisely this circumstance (permitting the substitution of one passenger in a cabin), but Viking (which is not a cheap line) for whatever reason does not allow this.
No – travelguard has a build your own policy, but ALL insurance cover medical reasons, and this would have been covered by even the more limited policies. Although the reasons for non-refundable fares being in existence may include some of what you have stated, I don’t believe you have access to the minutes of the various board room and executive council meetings where many years ago these non-refundable fare categories were created. I see the point here about its already been paid and just the name is changing, I honestly do. They would never have the percentage of repeat travellers (highest in river cruisers) if that was so. Huh, I understood that they require payment in full at or close to time of booking and the cancellation penalties are close to 100%.
If not, if these exes are doing this purely to create grief, how does a policy against name changes solve this type of problem? If it’s possible to purchase a last-minute ticket, why is that less of a security concern than a name change at the same point in time?
If instead of letting large travel companies and insurance companies divide us consumers against each other and blame each other for our perceived failures and faults, we united in support of more flexible and consumer-friendly policies, then all consumers would be better served.
While there’s an economic case for non-refundability, non-transferability is a pure money grab.


No disagreement with what you stated, however, unless someone was in the room, no one knows ALL of the why’s and reasons, but in the end, if the marketplace did not want these kinds of fares they would not long remain on the market.
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If someone else can fill the spot, and it doesn’t cost the company any money or complications, why punish travelers for no good reason? The way the current cruise policies are set up, you need it to protect yourself against these ridiculous rules. Bedell and her friend would still have to rebook and pay the prevailing last minute fare if they chose to travel. If every seat three months out were to be snapped up by mustache-twirling brokers, a carrier should be thrilled, because its advertising has paid off in a sold-out segment. You can also find the names and numbers of key executives on our new company contact database or, if you need help from Chris, you can contact him directly. They frustrate and alienate their valuable customers rather than accommodating them and ensuring future business and loyalty. All they have to do is see that you’re not on the No-Fly List, enter your name into the passenger list, and they have an accurate record of who is traveling. WHat other exclusions do you think would make people “feel” better, or who do you think should make that decision in each individual case?
And I find it blatantly unfair when someone thinks they’re entitled to an exception that insurance would have covered. Someone that actually will reciprocate with return business is also, almost exclusively, the type of customer that purchases insurance. Said brokers would then be taking full responsibility for reselling those tickets to end users, and you can bet that they will not be more successful at doing it than the carriers themselves.
Become a Medjet member today and take advantage of discounted rates available for Elliott.org readers. It’s a glimpse into humanity, the fragments of joy, sorrow, anger and hope we all feel flaring within us at some point in our lives, however brief or long. Perhaps if the general public was so outraged at Vikings customer-hostile rules Viking would have to change those rules as no one would travel on their line. It completely negates the purpose of insurance if companies bend the rules for the people that are too cheap to purchase insurance on a trip that cost thousands of dollars. That is why in all situations where ticket reselling is legal, brokers make their money on commissions and convenience, not on speculation.
If you want more flexibility, typically it is available, but you have to reach a little more deeply into your wallet.
Even though I have sympathy for these folks that lost their dollars, it is, IMHO, totally on them and not Vikings customer-hostile policies.



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