Vietnam Airlines Domestic Business Class : Boeing 777-200 Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City VN255
I recently visited Vietnam for the first time and flew in to the country via Hanoi on Malaysia Airlines as I reported here. My next city was the large commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh, and to get there I booked a Vietnam Airlines service on the Airbus A330. Around a month or so before the flight there was a change of equipment to the Boeing 777 and I decided to use the standby upgrade service provided by optiontown.com. For only about USD25 each I had a chance at being upgraded to business and I was happy to receive an email the night before the flight confirming I had been successful. Knowing this in advance I headed straight to the business class counters at Hanoi airport.
|Hanoi Airport Departures|
|Business Class check-in|
|Boarding pass with 'UTO' handwritten on it indicating I was merely a standby upgrade|
|My Boeing 777-200 Ride to Ho Chi Minh|
FLIGHT NUMBER: VN255
DEPARTURE: 17.30 (on time)
ARRIVAL: 19.20 (10 minutes early)
FLIGHT TIME: 1 hour 50 minutes
BUSINESS CLASS LOAD: 90%
Eventually boarding was called and I was pleased we would be using the jetway and didn't need to take a bus. There was a priority queue for boarding which I used and by doing so managed to avoid the rather lengthy economy class line. A couple of minutes later I was on board and sitting in seat 5A and my partner next to me in 5C.
|Onboard in business|
|Angled lie flat seats|
As you can see above the Vietnam Airlines Boeing 777 features angled lie flats in a 2x3x2 configuration much like the Thai Boeing 777-300. The seats are quite similar to Thai's actually. This aircraft is the flagship of the VN fleet and operated long haul flights to Europe and a few domestic and regional hops in between. For a 2 hour domestic flight it is more than adequate!
|Another view - notice the missing windows in row 5|
Boarding was still underway when the welcome drinks and hot towels came around. A selection of orange or apple juice as well as water was available pre-takeoff. Champagne was not an option but that is to be expected I think, when flying domestically.
|Pre takeoff drinks and hot towel|
Once up and above the weather the seat belt sign was extinguished and the cabin crew passed through the cabin taking dinner orders, no menu was provided. Both choices were meat and rice dishes.
|Dinner orders being placed|
|Seat in bed mode|
The meal was decent enough, especially the main course. The bread tasted stale and had no garlic taste at all and in place of the fruit I would have preferred a dessert or cake. I was happy though with the wine selection and my glass was topped up several times and for the remainder of the flight I always had a drink. Service was polite enough but no small talk was entered into at all. Perhaps english chatter wasn't something they felt comfortable with.
As the flight continued the sun set and it was soon dark outside so taking photos outside was pointless. I settled back with my tablet to watch my shows and kept the flight information display on my AVOD screen.
Soon enough descent commenced...
|About to commence descent|
I was quite happy with the flight on Vietnam Airlines, being a domestic flight I didn't have high expectations and wasn't even sure if wine would be served (it isn't on Thai domestic flights for example). The meal was decent and service fine and the seats were excellent. If you happen to be flying the route betweem Vietnam's two largest cities do be sure to choose one of the A330 or Boeing 777 flights if you can, the seats are far better than anything offered on the narrow body fleet.
I would consider trying Vietnam Airlines in the future on the direct flight from Melbourne if the chance arose and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to others who were considering a holiday in Vietnam.
For a 3 star airline I find them quite good as well. I have flown them from SYD to SGN in Business and found the service ok, not up there with some carriers but decent enough for the price. Domestically within Vietnam I have only flwon their Business class on the A321 and a320's which the service was ok, but no meals or alcohol! Apparently only alcohol and meals are seved on flights of 2 hours or more meaning only between HAN and SGN!ReplyDelete
Anyway, Cant wait to read more of your Blog, I love it!
Cheers Matt :)
thanks matt, interesting about the domestic service on VN, I guess HAN-SGN is the main flagship route so has the best offering.ReplyDelete
I had a bit of a scary experience in SGN airport in 2007 en route from Melbourne to Manchester via Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Paris, which I'm writing about in my blog at the moment. I also found Hanoi to be very 'disorderly' and uncomfortably air-conditioned (too bloody hot!). I think they were in the process of renovations at the time. I was pretty impressed with the airline itself though - AVOD in economy on my 777's would have been nice, but I guess you can't have everything. At the time is was the cheapest passage to Manchester I could get, and the food and service were really quite good. When I was at Hanoi there were "No Cameras Or Photography" signs - were they still there for you or have they realxed a bit now?ReplyDelete
Another interesting read!
Thanks for your continued comments. No doubt you might pursue it with optiontown, as I would certainly think it's unacceptable that you wouldn't be afforded lounge access. I've purchased standby upgrades with TG before and not ever received such substandard treatment - lounge access is part of the service and it's sad to hear you were not treated like a deserving client. I won't go into some of the stories I've heard about VN and their staff....! Needless to say they're not all the most upstanding citizens you will have come across.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comments...ReplyDelete
I did notice any signs banning photography.
Bob: not a bad idea perhaps I'll send a complaint to optiontown, they should mention that lounge access is not included during the signup process
Aussie Flyer nice blog and a great review, I am a regular to Vietnam I have seen but never done the optiontown upgrade as most of my trips are for work in Business Class, but have some personal trips coming up and would be interested to hear if you received Business Class status credits and miles or just the status credits/miles for your originally booked ticket?ReplyDelete
Just like FreakyFlyer I have done SYD to SGN on Vietnam Airlines Business Class and can't say enough about the service, meal and flights, for the price, really great value.
Looking forward to reading more of you blog and future posts
Im travelling economy Sydney to HCM in April on the A330 is that ok do you think? Im reading mixed reviews and a little scared now. Optiontown was going to cost an extra $2300 for our family which I just don't have unfortunately
you will be fine, they are quite a decent airlineDelete