Viva Air Review: A Dishonest Airline That You Should Avoid

When I found a plane ticket from Iquitos to Lima for $71.50 the day before takeoff, I never thought I’d be writing this negative Viva Air review on my blog. The flight was fine, the price was fantastic, but Viva Air’s boarding pass policy is just so stupid.

Viva Air Peru Reviews

First of all, let me point out that Viva Air has terrible reviews all over the internet. At the time of this writing, Viva Air in Peru is rated a lousy 1.5 out of 5 stars on Trip Advisor.

Viva Air reviews on Trip Advisor
As of February 2019, the vast majority of Viva Air reviews on Trip Advisor are terrible ratings.

Some of my favorite Viva Air reviews that I read on Trip Advisor are titled:

Seems like I am not the only one who had a terrible experience with Viva Air.

Viva Air’s Boarding Pass Policy Stinks

Thanks to a sneaky website design and a poor boarding pass policy, Viva Air tricks most customers into paying extra money for their boarding pass.

You see, at the time of this writing, Viva Air does not accept an electronic boarding pass. Period. Although Viva Air sends your boarding pass electronically, you cannot board the plane with it. At the airport, Viva Air charges you 50 soles ($15 USD) to print your boarding pass.

As a result, many customers are forced to pay the $15 to print their boarding pass at the check-in counter.  It’s either that, or they miss their flight.

Viva Air’s Website Is Sneaky

Not accepting an electronic boarding pass in 2019 is bad enough. But even worse is the fact that the Viva Air website does not explicitly state this policy.

When purchasing a ticket on Viva Air’s website, you have the option to check-in at the airport for 12.50 soles. Viva does not explicitly state that they don’t accept mobile boarding passes. Specifically, it is not until you click a button to expand the “Check-in at the airport” section that Viva nonchalantly states this in fine print.

Viva Air airport check-in
Viva Air hides the fact that “a printed boarding pass must be submitted”

The only other place that Viva states that you need a printed boarding pass is in the confirmation email.  I found this statement nestled in the fine print at the bottom of my Viva Air confirmation email.

Not submitting a printed boarding pass at the airport will cost USD 16.00 for domestic routes and USD 24.00 for international routes, unless you have previously purchased the Check-in-at-the-airport service through the website.

While I think it’s ridiculous for an airline to not accept mobile boarding passes in 2019, I don’t mind printing my boarding pass if I am told to do so. The problem is that Viva Air does not make it clear that they don’t accept mobile boarding passes.

Viva Air Customer Service

Upset with my experience at the Iquitos airport in Peru, I wrote a complaint to Viva Air customer service.  Here is their response.

Hello Tony, ¡Thanks for contacting us!

We understand the case exhibited, however, you should bear in mind that at the time of purchasing the tickets with our company each passenger confirms to have read and accepted the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage, it specifies that the presentation of the boarding pass is an indispensable document for boarding his flight, the non-submission of this corresponds to a breach of contract, which can lead to additional charges and even the loss of flight, for which the carrier is not responsible.

Take into account that the cost of boarding pass at the airport is not only the sheet of paper, but that this service means that we must have a person to attend, a counter rented for the attention and equipment that make the printing process of the boarding pass. In addition it is important to know that all our services have a different value depending on the channel of purchase. In the process of purchase we inform all our clients that the service has an additional cost if the pass boarder is demanded in the airport.

We want to provide to the client the option if you want to save, you can do this by printing the pass boarder. Then, if you prefer to claim the pass boarder at the airport, you have the option of pre buy it or pay directly at the airport.

On the other hand according to the information contained under the booking reference OF91VE, there’s evidence that the flight from Iquitos to Lima scheduled on December 03rd of 2018 has been boarded by you, using the service added by the airport staff and fulfilling with the carriage contract, so is not possible to refund you the money paid for this service.

In advance we ask you an apologize for the delayed answer to your requirement; for an additional doubt, consultation or additional request you can contact us again through our service channels, which you will find in the following web link:

El Equipo de Servicio al Cliente/The Customer Service Team

A mobile boarding pass should be a valid document representing that I purchased a seat on a flight. I don’t have my original Viva Air complaint, but Viva Air didn’t seem to address this point.

On the other hand, Viva Air explains that it costs money for them to print boarding passes.  I realize that it costs them money, but definitely nowhere near $15 USD.

As you can see above, Viva Air declined my request to refund $15 for my boarding pass.

Bottom Line: Viva Air is Not an Honest Airline

I have a few requests for Viva Air:

  1. Start accepting mobile boarding passes—it’s 2019
  2. If not, be explicit online that you must print your boarding pass
  3. Don’t charge an exorbitant amount to print your boarding pass at the airport

Based on the current reputation of Viva Air online and my personal experience with them, I predict that this airline will go out of business unless they change their policies. When running a business, honesty is extremely important, and in my opinion, Viva Air is not an honest company.

6 thoughts on “Viva Air Review: A Dishonest Airline That You Should Avoid”

  1. Please read this till the end. I would never recommend anyone to fly Viva Air. This airline is just out to rip customers off money. They lack no compassion and consideration in any way. Rude staff and bad customer service.
    I had 1 personal item which was 1 inch above the luggage limit due to the rollers and i was asked to pay 106 soles whereas my flight ticket cost 100 soles. Isn’t this ridiculous?! An extra inch cost 106 soles. I consider this as a tricky way of exploiting customers especially those who are foreigners. This airline needs a change of management. And if i may say directly, it is the worst airline i have flown in a long while.

  2. I fully agree – our flight was cancelled but Viva Air refuses to refund the tickets. They will issue a voucher valid until November 2020, but I am not in South America and will not travel there this year. Viva Air still refuse to reimburse our tickets. Only one word applies for this company : THIEVES !!!

  3. I just flew Viva Air Jan. 2021.

    This is what she wrote:

    deisy.marin says,

    “I want to remind you that Viva’s fares, including flights and additional services are promotional non refundable.”
    1:58 PM

    They charged me for a service (seat selection) and did not provide me that service. How is a refund promotional?

    If this company is this unscrupulous, I can imagine how cheap they are for plane repairs.

  4. I hope this helps anyone buying a ticket from this airline. Don’t, they will rip you off.
    They charge a hidden fee at check-in. I got charged $240 for four tickets, because i missed the web check-in time. I told them I never received a email notification. They said it was in the fine print. Horrible service, they sat us all separate even though the flight wasn’t packed. They charge for my carry-on although people had bigger ones. A complete ripoff especially if you are a tourist.

  5. Terrible!! Arrived 3 hours prior to departure, check in and the service slow as a snail, barely made it to the boarding on time, my 12 y/o and i were sat in complete opposite sides of the plane, even though there were plenty of seats available, seats are not reclinable, hard, and they charge you for meals and drinks. They charged me for my carry on $100!!! Like, seriously??! And charged me and extra $20 for not checking in online in the time period…
    Not flying again with them.


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