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“Whatever you do heed the warnings and note the reviews about Maiuva”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Via Air Tours

Via Air Tours
Ranked #7 of 14 things to do in Maitland
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Via AirTours by ViaAir is an airplane adventure that takes sightseeing to a whole new level. An aerial tour is the only way to fully appreciate views that are normally not accessible from being seen from the ground. With over 1,000 flights, experienced pilots, caring staff and a family friendly environment, Via AirTours is quickly becoming one of Central Florida’s top “must do” attractions. Some guests have seen: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Magic Kingdom, Shamu Stadium, Animal Kingdom, Islands of Adventure, Old Town, Sea World.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Whatever you do heed the warnings and note the reviews about Maiuva”
Reviewed 3 May 2014

We booked and Eastern Wonders Air tour to leave New York on the 16th of April 2014.
We booked well in advance as this was to be the highlight of our visit to the upper part of America.
Not long after booking and paying Mauiva dropped the price by over $1300 per couple - so that was the first negative. After several approaches and knock backs we eventually got back $300 refunded .
I had read the reviews, with the overall theme of lack of communication, changed itineraries, not knowing where we were staying and general disorganization, And then most of the answers from management said thank you we appreciate your comments and were trying to improve.
Well guess what , we landed in the same boat.
After booking we received no further communication by the company unless we initiated it . Even three days before we left I rang to make sure all was ok as we had heard nothing , when I mentioned it might be nice to have heard something as this was supposed to be an upmarket tour , the comment was made , I understand where your coming from.
Anyway the tour started well and the first day in Niagara was special, when we went to check into our Hotel we were told a view of the Falls would be an upgrade at our expense, even a view of the town street would cost more. A standard room got us looking into the air conditioning ducts.
At dinner in all restaurants we were given one waiter only, to cover the food and drink orders, so there was always quite a lengthy wait to get the first refreshment. This certainly made us feel like second class citizens on a low budget bus tour.
On the second day we Travelled in heavy traffic to Toronto for 2 and a hour hours each way in the most boring of scenery only to then get caught up in heavy city traffic .On our second attempt we got to spend a rushed one hour only at the CN tower after a half hour tour of Parliament house.
That was the day!!. If you call that an upmarket and relaxing first class experience you may as well stay home and do your daily commute.
The third day we went to Washington where we had a pleasant tour of the city. When we went to enter the Capitol Building security turned us away as my wife had a 100ml perfume atomizer -perfectly legal on any international flight to USA . We were not informed prior to this of the stricter than international criteria, only, you will have to go through security so leave anything you don't need on the bus.
This was very embarrassing and subsequently we missed the tour.
The next morning as well as the first morning in Niagara when we went to breakfast they had no knowledge of our group and that breakfast was included and at first wanted to charge us. we did receive a bill for gratuities put under our door for payment on the last evening . When I queried this with the guide she mentioned they don't get paid a lot so tips are necessary. If you read the blurb Gratuities etc are supposed to be covered in your hassle free holiday.
So after two days in Washington, the following morning we were suppose to have a tour of The Arlington Cemetery. I picked up something was awry the previous evening as we met to go for dinner. When I asked are we going to Arlington as scheduled tomorrow morning I was told no.
we were flying directly to Philadelphia where we were to meet another group who would join us with there guide. This is after a second group had joined our group in Washington with there separate guide. So we ended up on this tour with three groups and three guides.
Anyway when I questioned that not going to Arlington was unacceptable the guide agreed and rang the office with the comment we had paid for a six day tour and were only getting five (exact words).
We were to be told later that we in fact were flying out first thing in the morning and we had driven past Arlington and given commentary so that was sufficient.
So off to Philadelphia with three groups two of which were still waiting to go to Niagara , hence the hurry up to get us back to New York early the following morning instead of the final day being a Tour of the Hershey factory.
So this Hershey Tour was squeezed in the fifth day (an unnecessary three hours padding anyway) before we went off to visit the Amish Country which we could have spent a lot more time there ,than in the gift shops at Hershey.
On the sixth day of touring there was none. We were up early and straight back to New York. As mentioned before this was to facilitate the other two groups getting to Niagara on the same plane in a reasonable time. We obviously were expendable.
There was a lot of protest in our group over this rough shod treatment and to some extent it was the straw that broke the camels back as we didn't know where we were staying each night until that morning, just in case family or friends needed to contact us. We were never given an itinerary other than by mouth .
So instead of getting back to New York in the afternoon we arrived before 10am and on the bus back to the hotel were offered a belated two hour tour of New York. We had just spent the previous 9 days there so it was an insult.
I did wait till we got home to raise all these issues with the company and a claim that if we had known we would arrive in NYC we could have easily made our connecting flight out that evening instead of spending $400 on another night at the Sheraton Tribeca (Mauiva meeting place).
After a week I got the same platitudes I had read many times, We thank you for your feedback, improving our tours is important, Bla Bla Bla. They couldn't even spell our name right .We felt totally fobbed off and hence our need to warn others of our bad experience.
Totally unbelievable and I told myself I should have heeded the warnings from too many people's reviews prior.
To put this review in context, we spent 42 days in the States and this was the only negative review of all the hotels, tours and restaurants we had visited in our total time and they were many, as we did a 3500 mile road trip of the South West and every hotel, restaurant and activity received a glowing review with still a dozen or more to go.
So forewarned is forearmed. There are a lot of alternatives to See Niagara and Washington without paying so much money for a "PADDED" badly communicated ,poorly organized and certainly you didn't feel like a special customer Air Tour.
My advice is research carefully before making your decision.
Whatever the answer I get from this review from management my wife and I strongly feel we have been let down and bought a product that was overvalued and misrepresented.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
8 Thank AndrewandSandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MauivaAir, Manager at Via Air Tours, responded to this review, 9 May 2014
Dear Valued Guest,

First, let me start by apologizing for spelling your name wrong, while it was an auto-correct typo, it should have been caught in review. Despite that, I did try to respond to your email accordingly and was sincere about your concerns. If, after this second response, you still do not feel we have adequately addressed your concerns, I would be happy to go over the events of your tour with you at your convenience by phone if preferred.

We provide our guests the ability to book by phone, or contact our offices for full support prior to their tour, or should they choose, to handle their booking completely within our fully automated website. Our call center is readily available for any guests pre-booking our tour for any reservation needs, however, those that choose to book on their own, we do not reach out to if they have no further inquiry as guests provide their contact details online with some expectation that it will only be used when necessary and do not wish additional contact.

While we can appreciate that when on vacation, some customers wish to upgrade their room types – suites, views, etc – the original package does not guarantee these upgrades, and we apologize if there was ever a misunderstanding.

All guests have the option to participate in itinerary items they wish, or, if there are other ways they would prefer to spend their time, they are at leisure to leave the group and rejoin at their convenience whenever desired. Scenery and traffic is not something we have control over, but it is a necessary inclusion to get to the promised tour spots.

As I explained in my initial response, there was an issue with traffic that prevented your group from going to Arlington. While this was both unforeseen and unavoidable, our Travel Host did her best to give a thorough and in depth history to the group about Arlington and continue to tour with as much inclusion as possible under the circumstances.

Regarding your wife’s inability to continue the US Capitol tour because of security screenings, again, there are some things that Mauiva AirCruise, unfortunately, cannot foresee or pre-plan. Security within the United States, particularly in Washington DC and government buildings, fluctuates based on various deemed “security threat levels.” On any given day, they may have harsher or lighter restrictions when going through security. To date, we had never had a guest turned away for such an item, and so did not know to forewarn guests about this usually standard entry procedure. While I know this does not change your scenario, we can assure you that now that something like this has occurred, we will prep our Travel Hosts to give an example of something like this that items security may deem impermissible now.

Regarding the invoice received requesting gratuities from the Lancaster hotel. You should never have received any bill or request for tips. Gratuities are included with the AirCruise and as such, we immediately contacted our vendor upon hearing of this incident. They quickly let us know it was done in accident and to pass on their apologies. They have also stated this would not happen again in the future. Inclusive gratuities is a standard unique to Mauiva AirCruise that many other tours do not include. Therefore, the hotel made a mistake and issued invoices usually standard for other groups, but not those travelling with Mauiva.

While we regret to hear that you did not care for the Hershey’s tour, this is an included itinerary item, and while we switched the day of the tour, we still maintained the approximate 3 hour visit that is generally enjoyed by many of our guests.

We did have a need to change the flight schedule on day 6, however, this was only done when it was confirmed that all attractions could still be met and attended by all groups, as we do not consider any of our guests or tours expendable and we are sorry to hear you were made to feel that way. While every part of the Pennsylvania portion of the tour was still maintained, it was brought to the Travel Hosts attention that some people would be left with nothing to do during the extra time in New York that was given as a product of the changed flight. As many guests did not have the extended city time, it was requested by the majority to have a city tour. Mauiva agreed to block the bus for additional time and take the group on such a tour, one that received excellent feedback from guests that went.

Please contact me directly if you would like to discuss this further or I would be happy to contact you again.
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94 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Poole, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Mauiva Western Wonder Experience”
Reviewed 23 April 2014

We booked this adventure which was advertised online with Travel Zoo through the Holiday Place. It was advertised as an air cruise that avoided many miles of road travel by travelling by private plae. At this point you need to know that my companion is registered disabled and is unable to sit or stand for too long and unable to walk too far. This seemed the perfect way to see this part of America without enduring long periods of road travel which for us is impossible and the highlight of the holiday the chance to fly to and from the Grand Canyon.My companions needs were made clear at the time of booking and we said we would be taking a very lightweight folding wheelchair and the relevant information regarding this was given.
We arrived safely in LA and joined the group of fellow travellers at 6am the following morning. Just 10 of us, 4 couples from the UK and a lovely couple from Denmark. We were met by our brilliant guide Ria who throughout couldn't have been more helpful ,kind and knowledgable.
As the adventure progressed we realised that photocopied itinerary we were given on day one was different to the itinerary that we had received from the Holiday Place, in our case just 5 days before departure. The trip to Yosemete was quite long by road and my companion and others in the group, myself included ,really struggled with the journey. We all realised our itinerary STATED that we would be flying to and from the Grand Canyon. The replacement coach journey was certainly an unacceptable form of travel for my disabled companion, myself and other travellers in our small group.
We ALL put this to Ria and she contacted the company Mauiva.
Unfortunately Mauiva decided not to reply until 9 1/4 hours before the coach journey was due to commence.
Due to this late confirmation there was not enough time to try to make alternative air arrangements as this had to be done with at least 24 hours notice.
The option given by Mauiva was a 5.45 am pick up at the hotel in a double decker bus which would then spend the next 2 hours picking up passengers at other hotels, we would then have to queue to join allocated coaches and then endure a 3+ hour coach journey to the Grand Canyon where we would have approx 45 mins to join a retired school bus to visit the Grand Canyon. The journey back to the hotel would then be repeated in reverse. A TOTAL of approx 14 HOURS ! This was not a suitable option for a disabled traveller and companion.
IT WAS NOT WHAT WAS ADVERTISED, NOT WHAT WAS BOOKED, NOT WHAT WAS PAID FOR AND NOT WHAT WAS EXPECTED
My companion, myself and another couple hired a vehicle which was large enough to accomodate the wheelchair. My companion drove to there, we made a stop at the Hoover Dam and the other couple drove back as my companion became unwell due to the roughness of the road and the length of the journey. We got to glimpse the Grand Canyon but at extra expense physically and financially.
The most galling part of the day was to see the empty runway next to the Grand Canyon Visitor centre !
The concept of the Air Cruise is a brilliant idea.It is a shame that Mauiva would not honour our contract with them and felt that, for what ever reason,( possibly because not cost effective as such a small group), that they could let us down so badly
To take away the highlight of this adventure gave such disappointment, for us certainly, it was our last chance to travel such a distance and experience this Great Wonder of the World as promised.
It saddens me that this adventure is still being advertised and would advise others to be prepared to be badly let down and be aware you will have paid a lot of money for a service that will not be provided if you have you already booked.
If you are thinking about booking think again.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
7 Thank Frances B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MauivaAir, Manager at Via Air Tours, responded to this review, 30 April 2014
Dear Valued Guest,

Here at Mauiva we set our standards so you may have a worry free vacation and our hope is for you to enjoy your vacation. Passengers were given an updated itinerary on the first day of the tour. A description was given by the Travel Host to all patrons that we would travel on a comfortable luxury coach from our 3rd party vendor. Our vendor communicated to us that the bus pick up is no more than 30 minutes before proceeding to the Canyons and not two hours. The coach would have included several, scenic stops along the way which included a photography stop at Hoover Dam, a drive through Joshua Tree forest and other amazing sites in addition to lunch being provided. Our Travel Host was notified the night before your scheduled tour that the group made a decision to secure their own means of Ground transportation to the Grand Canyon. The group was notified by the Travel Host that any unused portion of the AirCruise was non-refundable.

We appreciate your feedback and in the future we will make sure to notify our guests and agencies, in a prompt manner, if there are any deviations from our schedule.
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maidenhead
Level Contributor
113 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“Disgusting treatment”
Reviewed 6 April 2014

Well the tour started out to be everything that was promised and we had the sweetest kindest and knowlegable tour guide Ria. However on day 5 it all went pear shaped, when we were informed instead of flying to the Grand Canyon (which we had paid for) we would now be going on a 3 hour double decker bus journey (with other tours as well)! This was for us, and our touring companions supposed to be the highlight of the tour. I have a bad hip and this is why we did this FLYING tour because I cannot stand that amount of time travelling squashed up in a double decker bus.
All our party felt the same and Ria did her very best to sort the problem out as all said we were not going and want the plane ride we had paid for. Mauiva did not inform Ria until dinner time that evening that was the only way they would take us to the Grand Canyon. We were all so angry and disappointed as for individual reasons no-one wanted that long journey, and this is breech of contract. We were going to book the East coast trip but my advice is to stay away form this company. No explanation has be given at any point as to why this happened either. We are now fighting to get our money back!!!!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
9 Thank gill52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MauivaAir, Manager at Via Air Tours, responded to this review, 10 April 2014
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for bringing the issues you faced on your recent Mauiva AirCruise. We set standards so you may have a vacation worry free and want you to thoroughly enjoy your vacation. All passengers were given an updated itinerary on the first day of the tour which reflected that day 6 would be by coach to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. On day 6 when we reiterated that we would be using ground transportation to the Grand Canyon we were notified that the group had decided not to take the ride in a comfortable luxury coach double decker from our 3rd party vendor. Instead passengers chose to secure their own means of Ground transportation to the Grand Canyon. This coach would have included several stops along the way which also included a photography stop at Hoover Dam along with driving through Joshua Tree forest ,other amazing sites and lunch was being provided. The guest were notified by the Travel Host that any unused portion of the AirCruise was non-refundable.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Disastrous Mauiva Western Wonder Tour booked with The Holiday Place”
Reviewed 29 December 2013

Please Note: We sent The Holiday Place this review in advance of this posting and asking them to comment on any factual errors. They failed to find any nor did they ask for any changes.

We booked this trip via The Holiday Place in London UK in January 2013 to take place on the 25th September 2013 to celebrate a 50th Anniversary. We made the booking after receiving an email from Telegraph travel.

The booking was conditional on the commentary being in English only during the tour. In conjunction with The Holiday Place, we arranged to visit friends in Los Angeles after the tour for 8 days. Our friends then had made special arrangements for us based on the original dates of travel.

During the tour, communication with Mauiva was poor. However, this was nothing compared to the awful communication before, during and after the tour with the Holiday Place, which was late, inaccurate, confusing and subsequently unhelpful.

Eight days before departure, we received a call from the Holiday Place to say that Mauiva had delayed the start of our tour, by three days, to the 28th September 2013. No reason was given. After contacting our friends in LA, we decided to go ahead, as they could accommodate us for the change of dates, but at some inconvenience to them. Before agreeing to the change of date, we checked the Mauiva web site, to discover that the new tour would be in English and German. As we did not want to hear everything twice, we questioned this, and were assured that there would be one German couple with good English and the commentary would be in English only. This proved to be NOT the case! Most of the tour was conducted in both languages. Prior to departure, we also received confusing details as to the start point for the trip and the hotels we would be staying in. These details were sent to us 48 hours before flying, but it appeared from our guide, that the hotels had been changed in May 2013.

Before leaving the UK, The Holiday Place made a derisory offer of compensation for the inconvenience caused, which we rejected.

AT NO TIME did Mauiva, or The Holiday Place, inform us that there was a possibility of the US Government closing the National Parks. If they had done so, we would have cancelled the trip altogether. It is clear from Mauiva's response to another reviewer, that they were well aware of the problem. In fact, by moving us to a later date, they recklessly increased the risk that we would be affected.

Giving credit where it is due, the start of the tour went well. Our guide, Hella, was excellent and worked her socks off to try and make sure her guests were happy. Unfortunately, for Hella, Mauiva did not help her very much. We woke in The Claremont, Berkeley, (not at Fisherman's Wharf as we were told) on the 1st October, to discover that all the National Parks were closed, This meant we were unable to visit Yosemite, Cedar City, Bryce Canyon or The Grand Canyon. What did Mauiva do? They took us to Las Vegas for four days instead of one! They bought us tickets for a stand up comedian (Carrot Top), at the Luxor, and very late, hired a coach to take guests on a very long trip to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, a trip we were unable to take, as were other guests too as, in desperation, we had made alternative bookings for that day.

If we had travelled on the initial date, we would have been unaffected by the Government shut down, and had a guided tour only in English.
Since our return, we sent full documentation of our complaint to The Holiday Place, as Mauiva's agent in the UK. Their representative took 31 days to reply, and the company completely ignored the central issues. That is: both Companies' recklessly changing the date of our tour, without advising us of the risks involved or offering us a full refund for the change of date. On our return to the UK, The Holiday Place failed to engage properly with us in resolving these issues.
After protracted negotiations, we eventually accepted a totally inadequate level of compensation as we had other priorities to pursue. We would therefore, never deal with either The Holiday Place or Mauiva AirTours again. We strongly advise other people to take care before booking with either company.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
13 Thank Welltravelled064
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warragul, Australia
Level Contributor
91 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Mauiva VIP tour of four State's highlights”
Reviewed 25 December 2013

Faaaantastic. Wildlife, nature, history, monuments, 'must see' sights and a host of experiences across four States with a diverse group of like-minded travelers in great hotels with great meals and multilingual Ria, one of the best guides we've ever encountered. What more could you ask for? Extraordinary value for money and a great way to see a lot in a short time frame without feeling too pushed. We will be returning to experience some places in more detail when time permits. Our advice to anyone contemplating the trip, just pack you bags and go - you don't even have to carry them.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Greg M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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