Here is the report of my flight back to Seoul, after having spent four unforgettable days in the beautiful country that is Vietnam. By the way, I recommand this country to anyone willing to visit Asia one day. It has its own character, its own charm, and there is always something to do in Hanoi, even late in the night. This city has an incredible enthusiasm.
As those who read the ICN-HAN flight report know, I didn't plan to write a report about the flight back to South Korea. But, as those same people could expect, the flight was so uncomfortable, that I finally decided to write it, as I didn't sleep. I didn't manage to.
To make a short summary of the context, I am currently an Engineering trainee in Seoul, South Korea. As I got one free week, I decided to make a small trip in another country with two friends of mine. We finally booked a flight with Vietjet Air, a very young - and not less ambitious - low cost carrier born in 2009 with an all-A320 fleet, for less than €250.
This flight is part of the routing below, if you think you can read the other reports in French!
Here is what it looks like on a map, using Great Map Circle:
But before beginning the report, let me show you some photos of this unmissable country.
As four days was far from enough to visit much sites in Vietnam, we concentrated ourselves on two unmissable (I don't have any other word) places: Hanoi and Halong bay.
This city is a beautiful mixture of colonial style archiectures - as the country was a French colony - and traditional style Asian temples, gates, pagodas, etc… . All of this with the charm and the fervour of a developing country.
Vietnam as we see it now was born thanks to heroism of Ho Chi Minh - who fought against France and United States for the freedom of the Vietnamese people. The regime devotes a personnality cult to President Ho Chi Minh, who is still considered as the President, just like Kim Il-Sung in North Korea. By the way, those countries as diplomatic relations, as North Korea has an embassy in Hanoi. Not far from Poland's and Germany's ones. Quite surprising for me.
Then, what is not surprising at all is that President Ho Chi Minh has its own Mausoleum. Like Mao in Beijing.
And by night:
The national flag in front of the Mausoleum is removed each night at 9 pm, with the national athem played in the background. Here is what the ceremony looks like:
The Hanoi's Flag Tower:
The same Flag Tower seen here from a nice place with people dancing with a very enjoyable Latino American music:
The president's resident. I was quite surprised that nobody came from nowhere prohibiting me from taking photos of it.
This is also Hanoi. Electrical engineers and technicians have a lot of work is this city:
Would you like a little piece of propaganda ? Propaganda for you, Propaganda for him, for her, for them. Propaganda for everyone at the Ho Chi Minh museum! Here is a letter, written by Nguyen Ai Quae to a French fellow and caught in Ho Chi Minh's museum. This museum is directed by the Vietnamese ministry of Propaganda, itself.
Dear fellow, I come from Indochina and I am a member of the French party. In this capacity, let me thank you for the attention you gave to the colonial issue at the Lyon Congress. On the other hand, I would be happy to talk to you about the colonial issue if you'll grant me a meeting. As I got my nose and my fingers frozen during the Lenin funeral, I can't work at the Comintern. I would be grateful if you write me directly to my address […]. Please accept, dear fellow, my fratenal communist greeting.
And to finish the Hanoi part, here is a nice little Pagoda:
Halong Bay is another unmissable - once again - place to visit in Vietnam. You just can't go back to your country without spending at least two days there on a boat. By the way, if you want to do this, don't book your cruise on the internet. Every single hotel or even hostel in Hanoi has relations with cruise companies there. The cheapest cruise I saw on the net for two days and one night was USD 171. We finally found an excellent opportunity on an awesome boat for less than USD 70, with the transportation fees to Halong city included.
Halong bay is a water area with no less than 1969 islands and islets. This place was originally far from coast, between 550 and 250 millions of years ago. A huge amount of sediments amassed there. The Earth crust movements broke it. Then, erosion, rivers and rains created huge caves, collapse of which completed the lansdcape. Here it is:
At Noi Bai airport
With the flight departing at 1:45 am, our hotel booked a shuttle for us at 10:30 pm for USD 15. 30 minutes later, here we are:
The Internationl Terminal of Noi Bai airport looks very clean, modern and pleasant at first sight. There are several screens showing the flights status outside, just in front of the entrance. Ours is expected on time:
This is what it looks like after having entered:
Just like the ICN-HAN flight, there is no counter for the people who already checked-in online like us. So, we have to queue again before getting our new BP.
This time, it is much faster than in ICN airport: after less than 10 minutes, our BPs are printed. The agents, true VJ agent not subcontracted, were very sympathic with us.
Enjoying a little Whooper with the Flight Documents:
The border and the safety steps are very fastly passed. The airside area is as clean and pleasant as the rest of the terminal. But it is quite long!
As you can see, the terminal is not very spotter-friendly. Here is a Vietnam Airlines A330-200:
And a Kenya Airways Dreamliner just arriving from Nairobi:
I am forced to use my 55-300mm lens to get some good shots with few parasitic reflections. A Vietnam Airlines A330-200 wearing the Skyteam dress:
A Boeing 777-200 bound to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle. This flight will soon be operated by the recently delivered A350-900.
The same plane closer:
A little closer:
Now getting a little further as she is being pushed back and starting up her engines:
Close enough to see the pilots preparing their flight:
Here is the Kenya Airways B787 we saw arriving a little earlier:
I guess she's a Dreamliner, but I am not sure. Can you confirm ?
Now with the Paris-bound Triple Seven:
Here is a photo of the airside area of the international terminal:
The toilets are very clean. One of the cleanest I've ever seen in an airport:
We were supposed to board at Gate 23. At the boarding time, our plane still wasn't at the gate. Then I understood that either we would depart late, or the gate has changed. Or both. It was the both option actually. Here is our new gate. Three different numbers for one boarding gate means…
There is an HD Sony Bravia TV screen for each boarding gate, in front of the seats. Very enjoyable.
500 meters further, we get near our plane. This one looks older than the one we got for the previous flight, which had Sharklets.
We finally get in the cabin about 15 minutes later than expected. The greeting is very warm from very nice and elegant hostesses and stewards. Like the previous flight, there is one steward for two hostesses.
I didn't expect to have a better legroom than in the previous flight. My kness are firmly in love with the seat in front of me:
The safety card:
And here is the magazine. I didn't present it in my previous Flight Report.
It has very nice and very attractive photos:
But I have to wait until the very last pages to see a few lines written in English, as nearly all the articles are written in Vietnamese. The menu…
…is once again useless for me, as they don't take credit cards on board - only cash - and as I didn't reserve a meal. This time, I ate before getting onboard. Well calculated.
The boarding is very rapidly completed. No pushback for us, as we are on a remote ramp directly connected to the taxiway. We start our engines with about 28 minutes late. We taxi rapidly to the runway:
My take off shots are not good enough to put them in this report. I directly tried to sleep, as I didn't expect to receive even a glass of water (see previous report). I succeeded for one hour, as I was tired enough not to take care about the cruel lack of comfort. I didn't manage to extend my night. Of course, I missed the sunrise. When I definitely wake up, we were not far from beginning the descent.
The little winglet:
We are here when we begin our descent. Where ? I don't know. Can't see anything down there.
At that moment, I had a rare feeling while aboard an airplane. I was happy that the flight would end soon. Very happy. The past hours were certainly the worst flight hours I ever spent. Unfortunately, I didn't expect those 30 minutes of rounds in the sky:
Indeed, the weather is very bad down in Seoul, with a very heavy fog. The flaps are now fully deployed, meaning that we are on final, but we still don't see the ground, and we are still above clouds.
Seconds from touchdown. 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, retard, retard, 5. Gentle touchdown ladies and gentlemen.
We park with 40 minutes late to the satellite dedicated to foreign airlines, letting me spotting this BA Dreamliner:
And this AF B777-300ER, being prepared to fly back to Paris soon:
Close to which we finally shut down our engines:
A last view of the very tight cabin. 6-abreast.
I don't hope to see you soon, little A320.
Its registration was VN-A669. It was a 5.8 year-old A320, baptized on September 22nd, 2009. Not so old, finally.
Hanoi - HAN
Seoul - ICN
To conclude, I have exactly the same feelings as for the ICN-HAN flight. Let's be honest, it was a very bad flight, and it was the last time I take a low cost carrier for such a long flight. But we have what we pay for.
Same feelings, same marks.
It was my 25th report, and my very first written in English. I wanted to share my experience with the English-speaking members of Flight Report, as it was only the third report for Vietjet Air. I hope you enjoyed it.
Thank you for reading me, Gilles
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