Review of Vietnam Airlines flight Singapore Ho Chi Minh City in Economy

Airline Vietnam Airlines
Flight VN650
Class Economy
Seat 23B
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 02:00
Take-off 09 Dec 14, 13:15
Arrival at 09 Dec 14, 14:15
VN   #30 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 214 reviews
tn92
By 5194
Published on 23rd October 2015
2014 EOY Trip Flight #1
I am back for a series of report on the 10 flights we took back in December 2014 for our end-of-year trip. It was a great trip with 4 new airlines, 5 new airports and 2 new cities. The routing was SIN-SGN-TPE-PVG-ICN, GMP-PUS-GMP, ICN-PVG-TPE-HAN-SIN. To visualize the route we took, please refer to the map at the start of the report.

While our plan was only to visit my relatives in Taipei, and spend 10 days in Korea, the routing of our flights became more complicated as we decided to give up the direct flights available, so as to go for cheaper tickets that will also allow us to fly more!

This is a list of all the other reports in this series.

2014 End-of-Year Trip to Taiwan & South Korea
This Report 09/12/14, SIN-SGN, Vietnam Airlines VN650, A321
Click Here 09/12/14, SGN-TPE, Vietnam Airlines VN570, A321
Coming Soon 16/12/14, TPE-PVG, China Eastern Airlines MU5008, A330-300
Coming Soon 17/12/14, PVG-ICN, Shanghai Airlines FM827, B737-800
Coming Soon 20/12/14, GMP-PUS, Air Busan BX8811, B737-400
Coming Soon 23/12/14, PUS-GMP, Air Busan BX8816, A320
Coming Soon 26/12/14, ICN-PVG, China Eastern Airlines MU5034, A321
Coming Soon 27/12/14, PVG-TPE, China Eastern Airlines MU5005, A330-200
Coming Soon 30/12/14, TPE-HAN, Vietnam Airlines VN579, A321
Coming Soon 30/12/14, HAN-SIN, Vietnam Airlines VN661, A321


Vietnam Airlines VN650
Aircraft Registration: VN-A604
Origin: Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)
Destination: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN)
Date: Tuesday, 9 December 2014
Boarding Time: 1225h (UTC+08:00)
STD/STA: 1315h (UTC+08:00) to 1415h (UTC+07:00)
ATD/ATA: 1308h (UTC+08:00) to 1406h (UTC+07:00)
Estimated Duration: 02 hours 00 minutes
Actual Duration: 01 hour 58 minutes
Flight Distance: About 680 miles / 1,095 km


I am officially addicted to flying; 10 flights for an end-of-year trip, definitely exciting. I was so glad that my girlfriend agreed to come along with me on this 3 weeks trip with 10 flights on the itinerary.

Here is the route map for this trip.

photo 002 Map of Flights_Edited

(Image credit: GC Map)

This trip will cover four entirely new airlines for me: Vietnam Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and Air Busan.

Of which, I looked forward the most to my flights with China Eastern, which was also my first encounter with a Chinese carrier. Following, Vietnam Airlines seemed quite interesting at that time too, so it was certainly a delight to start of my trip with them.

Nonetheless, online check-in and seat selection was a failure. I believe it is possible to do so usually, I was just unlucky that day and my request just couldn’t get through.

photo 004 (OLCI) Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 4.47.48 pm Seat Selection

Oh well, I guess we will just have to arrive earlier at the airport to secure some decent seats for the three of us.

photo 005 (OLCI) Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 4.49.40 pm Unable to Select Seats

(As per the previous report on Emirates, I will be preparing timelines for all my future reports as a tool for all my readers to visualize the entire travelling process. Hope it helps, and do also give me any feedback on how I can improve the structure of my reports.)

photo 1043h Timeline 01


Of all the Southeast Asian (SEA) carriers, Vietnam Airlines was never on the top of my list. I was very interested in Malaysia Airlines and managed to book four flights with them in early 2014. Thai Airways is definitely also among the top few SEA carriers that I would like to fly on, but the chance has yet to come (especially since I am now determined to retain my oneworld sapphire on a yearly basis).

So, how did Vietnam Airlines eventually come into the picture? I guess the answer is simple: the return ticket from Singapore to Taipei was cheap! Eventually, I did not regret my choice and found Vietnam Airlines to be a pleasant carrier to fly with.

Now, finally a chance to depart from Terminal 3 of Changi Airport! While it is one of my favourite terminals here in Singapore, all the oneworld carriers (& Emirates) that I frequently fly with depart from Terminal 1, so I rarely get a chance to fly from Terminal 3. It’s therefore nice that Vietnam Airlines depart from this terminal.

photo 1044h DSC02756 UTC8 Arrived at Airport

If I remember correctly, this was only my third time coming to Terminal 3 as a passenger. More pictures – it’s a must.

photo 1044h DSC02758 Kerb Side

While fewer airlines are housed in Terminal 3, more of them are shifting over. And very recently, my favourite Taiwanese carriers – EVA Air and China Airlines have shifted over to T3 as well!

photo 1045h DSC02759 FIDS T3 Less Flights

The interior design of Terminal 3 is really quite gorgeous. The entire departure hall provides a very pleasing atmosphere and the size of it is huge too. While all the emptiness may seem like a waste of space, I still choose to think that this is how an airport should be like!

photo 1045h DSC02760 VN Check In Area First Glimpse

We were considered to have arrived very early and there weren’t many at the counters yet. No queue lines were set up except for the Sky Priority and Web Check In counters.

photo 1046h DSC02761 Sky Priority 2 Web Check In 1 Economy Many

Vietnam Airlines uses check-in zone 2 in Terminal 3.

photo 1047h DSC02764 At Row 2

My mom had to settle some errands before proceeding with check-in, so we waited at one corner of the check-in hall.

Take a look at the number of luggage we have with us; a budget airline ticket with the additional fees paid for checked baggage just couldn’t be justified. Hence, Vietnam Airlines it was!

photo 1047h DSC02765 Luggage for Three Travellers

Because lesser airlines use this terminal, the crowd in Terminal 3 is also constantly lesser than that in the other two terminals.

photo 1048h DSC02768 Terminal View


photo 1051h Timeline 02


Once we were all ready, we proceeded to queue for check-in. The queue was short and it didn’t take too long to reach us.

photo 1052h DSC02769 Checking Inphoto 1052h DSC02770 Short Wait

Vietnam Airlines provide economy class passengers with 20kg of baggage allowance each, so in total, we would have had 60kg. I was glad that the check-in staff did not mention anything about the 5.7kg in excess of our baggage allowance.

photo 1054h IMG_9762 Over Limit by 5kg

As we failed to complete online check-in the day before, we couldn’t use the dedicated counter adjacent to those handling economy class passengers.

photo 1055h DSC02771 Web Check In Counter

We were done with check-in within ten minutes. A very high level of efficiency here!

Our bags were checked through to Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan and boarding passes were also issued for both sectors. I must have looked like a tour leader of a small group holding on to three passports and six boarding passes. Haha!

photo 1100h DSC02772 Done Checking In


photo 1222h Timeline 03


We wanted, initially, to have a quick lunch before heading airside earlier. But I was unlucky enough for the bank’s ATM at Changi Airport to decide to fail on me. Consequently, I had to stand in front of the machine and make numerous phone calls to the bank before they promised to return the money to my bank account within a few working days. I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to imagine the situation if I was in a situation where my flight’s departure was imminent.

After that was settled, we still decided to have our lunch first before making our way through immigration.

photo 1223h DSC02784 Headed Airside

The crowd in the airside area of Terminal 3 seemed to be smaller as well.

photo 1223h DSC02785 A Relatively Less Busy Terminal

Our flight was allocated Gate B8 that day, and that meant quite a bit of walk from the departure immigration.



The following photograph went on my Instagram. What do you think of the design of Vietnam Airlines’ boarding pass? Nice, isn’t it?

photo 1230h IMG_9797 Boarding Passes (Instagram Pic)


photo 1236h Timeline 04


Here’s the departure gate flight information display.

photo 1237h DSC02793 Flight Information

There weren’t any other SkyTeam airlines code-shared on this flight; but Jet Airways had their code on VN650, and it was 9W4321 (what a nice number).

On a side note, do be careful when photographing the FIDS outside the gates in Changi Airport because the security officers may start questioning you.

photo 1237h DSC02794 Codeshare with Jet Airways

Security was a breeze and the officers were friendly!

photo 1240h DSC02799 Our Aircraft VN-A604

Here’s our aircraft. Personally, I like Vietnam Airlines’ livery and the font type used on its aircrafts.

photo 1240h DSC02800 FFL 17042013 1yr Plus

We will be travelling on VN-A604, one of Vietnam Airlines’ 51 A321 in its fleet. In this trip, all my Vietnam Airlines flight will be on their A321s – I became a little bored of VN's A321 by the last flight of this trip, haha. Anyway, VN-A604's age was just about 1-year plus as of December 2014.

photo 1244h DSC02806 And One Last One

When I was done photographing the aircraft, boarding was well underway and the boarding lounge was already almost empty.

photo 1244h DSC02807 Empty Boarding Lounge

This definitely can be considered as a high level of boarding efficiency as the scheduled departure time was about 20+ minutes later.

photo 1249h (a) DSC02809 Seems Bigger Than T1 Boarding Lounges


photo 1249h (b) Timeline 05


We were warmly welcomed by the purser (presumably) as we entered the aircraft. It was a nice start and a good first impression.

photo 1250h DSC02811 Boarding

And then we had a short glimpse of the business class cabin, which had the standard 2+2 configuration in 4 rows.

photo 1250h DSC02812 A Short Glimpse of Business Class

Here is our seat in the economy class. They have a nice headrest there, but I do wonder if this is changed after every flight? Hopefully it is.

photo 1254h DSC02815 At Our Seats

One downside of this aircraft is that individual IFE is not available. Not just in economy, but business class as well. An overhead drop-down screen is located every three rows or so; some random videos were being shown during the boarding process. I don’t have any impression as to what the videos were about.

photo 1254h DSC02816 First Look of The Cabin (Videos were Played)

You can have a sample of the boarding music here in this video.




photo 1256h Timeline 06


On our itinerary, VN650’s departure time was stated as 1.10pm. This was adjusted to 1.15pm subsequently. Nonetheless, because of the efficient process of boarding and the (presumably) efficient process of loading of cargo, our flight pushed back slightly early at 1.08pm.

I took the time before the aircraft pushed back to take pictures of some of the aircraft’s facilities. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

The legroom was acceptable; my height is 1.77m and it felt really okay.

photo 1257h (a) DSC02819 Legroom

The colour scheme used in the cabin was of a darker and less striking shade; it does however give a rather peaceful ambience in the aircraft. Some argue that it makes the seats look dirty, but personally I found the aircraft quite clean actually – at least for this particular flight.

The colour of the seats was quite a match to the old uniforms of Vietnam Airline’s cabin crew. The new uniforms are, in my opinion, even more elegant than the old ones.

photo 1257h (b) DSC02821 Seat Back

And then we have the overhead panel which consists of the reading lights, adjustable air vents and call buttons.

photo 1257h (c) DSC02822 Overhead Panel

The resolution of the shared screen was acceptable too. At that moment, I was hoping that they can just focus on showing the airshow later on during the flight.

photo 1257h (d) DSC02823 Overhead Screens

The usual looking dining table with some additional Vietnamese messages; the Vietnamese language looks very interesting and I believe isn’t easy to pick up.

photo 1257h (e) DSC02825 Table

On top of the shared screen, some music channels were available on this aircraft as well. I will reserve my comments for the IFE to the next report as I did not touch the IFE on this flight.

photo 1257h (f) 1435h DSC02942 IFE which I Never Used

The seats could be reclined; quite an acceptable angle of recline I would say, given that it was economy in a narrow-body.

photo 1257h (g) 1436h DSC02943 Seat Recline

The colour of the seat belt seemed to be out of place, though.

photo 1257h (h) 1431h DSC02937 Another Look at Seat and Sealt Belt

After experiencing the A380, one would feel that a narrow-body aircraft is indeed so super narrow. Now that the B787 is becoming more and more common, it is making the size of aircraft windows on all other planes look so tiny.

photo 1258h (b) DSC02826 Window

Towards our left we have Singapore Airlines’ 9V-SWK being prepared for its long-haul journey to Frankfurt as SQ326.

photo 1258h (c) 1307h DSC02835 9V-SWK SQ326 SIN-FRA

A positive point to note about Vietnam Airlines is that “refreshing tissue” is distributed to every passenger during the boarding process. While this isn’t as good as hot/warm/cold towels, it is still highly commendable since many other airlines have long done away with this service.

photo 1259h DSC02829 Packet Wet Tissues Distributed

At 1.05pm, the boarding process was almost completed.

photo 1305h DSC02833 Boarding Almost Complete


photo 1306h (a) Timeline 07


Our gate must have been very near the runway that day. Before I knew it, our aircraft was already accelerating down the runway. The time took to taxi from the gate to the runway was only about 5 minutes; and we took off from Singapore at 1.18pm.

photo 1306h (b) DSC02834 Safety Video (STD 1310h 1308h Push Back 1312h Taxi 1318h Take Off)


photo 1323h Timeline 08


Aha! Soon after departure, the airshow was switched on. Seat belt signs were also turned off very quickly, in just another 5 minutes after take off.

photo 1325h DSC02836 Flight Info Shown (1323h Signs Off)

It is kind of interesting to see the airshow being presented in a language that is unfamiliar to me.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t a difficult task to deduce that SGN was 1,044km away, we had travelled for 53km, and the journey time left was 1 hour and 51 minutes.

photo 1325h DSC02837 In Vietnamese

While the resolution of the screens weren’t top notch, they were definitely acceptable.

On 80% of my flights these few years, I fly southwards after taking off from Singapore and my destinations were always Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane… Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane…

This time round, it definitely was nice to be back on an intra-Asia flight, flying to an airport that I have never been to.

Singapore isn’t too far away from Ho Chi Minh City. If we are to compare the flight distances, SIN-SGN is slightly shorter than SIN-BKK and just 200km more than TPE-HKG (one of the busiest international routes in the world).

photo 1325h DSC02838 Resolution Not Top Notch

Our aircraft was passing FL150; still ascending to its eventual cruising altitude.

photo 1326h DSC02840 Altitude In Metres Only (Nearing 15000ft)

Here’s the corporate logo of Vietnam Airlines, which I think is pretty nice!

photo 1326h DSC02841 Nice Logo

And then, since the seatbelt signs were switched off, I took a quick look at the lavatory.

photo 1328h DSC02842 At the Lavatory

Ah, nice sign in Vietnamese again! I think I know how to pronounce “xin cam on” which means thank you; it does sound similar to some Chinese dialects.

photo 1329h DSC02843 Soap Dispenser

Since a soap dispenser (the above photograph) was provided, these racks were left empty.



While the toilets were basically very clean, it did not feel as “new” as it should be. Given that the aircraft was only about 1-year old.

photo 1331h DSC02852

On my way back to my seat, meal service had begun. Time for a good meal on my first Vietnam Airlines flight, hopefully~

photo 1332h DSC02855 Cabin Shot (Meal Service Commenced)

The flight attendants were hard at work just 20 minutes after take off, conducting the lunch service as fast as they could. It must be tough and stressful to work on such short flights.

photo 1333h DSC02856 Back at My Seat

While I waited for my meal, I wasted no time either by taking quick glances at the contents of the seat pocket.
It was very simple, with just the safety information card, a sick bag and the in-flight magazine.

photo 1334h (a) DSC02858 Seat Pocket Contents

Let’s take a look at the magazine first.

photo 1334h (a) DSC02896photo 1334h (b) DSC02897

This flight took place in December 2014, and Vietnam Airlines were still eagerly awaiting the newest members in their fleet.

Right now as I write this report, the airline already has both the A350-900 WXB and B787-9 in their fleet. Definitely a great step ahead of their regional competitors.

photo 1334h (c) DSC02898

I do hope for an opportunity in the near future to fly Vietnam Airlines’ two newest aircraft types. But I don’t think my wish will be granted so soon as I can’t seem to fit VN in my travel plans as of now.

photo 1334h (d) DSC02901

Vietnam Airlines had a successful IPO in November 2014 as well. This is undoubtedly a huge milestone for the airline; a very clear strategy that they are pursuing here to improve their service standards and reputation in the industry. However, it probably is interesting to note this sentence in the article: Vietnam Airlines has a charter capital of VND14,101,840,000,000 divided into 1,410,184,000 shares of which the State owns 75%. This means that while the airline has successfully became a listed company, its majority control is still the Government of Vietnam.

photo 1334h (e) DSC02903

Being a frequent traveller to Australia, this caught my eye too. Vietnam Airlines have scheduled flights from Ho Chi Minh City to both Sydney and Melbourne. What makes these flights special is that they are code-shared with Qantas – a great deal for me as I can earn maximum Qantas points if I really do fly with them. Unfortunately, prices have never appeared to be appealing enough; they are in fact, rather expensive at times.

photo 1334h (f) DSC02904photo 1440267364-3696138777

Apart from its small-scale cooperation with Qantas, Vietnam Airlines has got extensive partnerships with members of the SkyTeam alliance.

photo 1334h (g) DSC02905photo 1334h (h) DSC02906photo 1334h (i) DSC02907

I don’t expect that I will ever be able to achieve any status with any of the SkyTeam airlines; so I guess I will resume my status as a loyal oneworld customer after this trip.

This page shows a list of Vietnam Airlines’ offices around the world.

photo 1334h (j) DSC02909

The next section in the magazine shows the airport layout map of both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City airports.



Next up, we have the airline’s network map. Apart from a very comprehensive domestic network, Vietnam Airlines flies also to neighbouring cities like Bangkok, Yangon, Vientiane and Phnom Penh.

photo 1334h (p) DSC02922

There are many Asian destinations as well. It is interesting to note that all three major cities in Taiwan are listed in the map: Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung (which has occasional charter flights from SGN). I guess this isn’t surprising since there are many Vietnamese residing in Taiwan.

What’s surprising is that Vietnam Airlines does not have flights to/fro Manila, and instead code-shares this route with Philippine Airlines.

photo 1334h (q) DSC02924

A good coverage of destinations can also be seen in Europe; this where Vietnam Airlines is currently sending all its A350 and B787 to.

photo 1334h (r) DSC02925

On the other end of the spectrum, Vietnam Airlines has no destination at all in America (both North and South). I guess they rely a lot on Delta and/or China Airlines for the North American market?

photo 1334h (s) DSC02926

Last but not least, Sydney and Melbourne as mentioned above.

photo 1334h (t) DSC02927

As of December 2014, the airline’s fleet consisted of 8 B777-200ER, 10 A330-300, 51 A321 and 14 ATR72.

photo 1334h (u) DSC02928

Our aircraft type for this, and the next three, Vietnam Airlines flights.

photo 1334h (v) DSC02929

There was even a dedicated section introducing the A321! Making it very obvious that this aircraft type is the workhouse of the airline. I am quite certain that this section in the magazine has since been replaced by the introductions for the A350 and B787.

photo 1334h (w) DSC02931

Finally, we see some useful information about Vietnam in the magazine.

photo 1334h (x) DSC02932

It is interesting to note that all hotels in Vietnam are expected to provide details of their guests to the Vietnamese police, and guests are expected to hand over your passport. (Is it true?)

photo 1334h (y) DSC02933

The section on Vietnamese food looked very interesting as well; especially since my girlfriend and I are avid-lovers of the Vietnamese cuisine.

photo 1334h (z) DSC02934

Just some more snapshots of the safety instructions card.
(There wasn’t any duty free sales catalogue; Vietnam Airlines does not conduct duty free sales on their flights, if I am not mistaken.)

photo 1338h DSC02860 Safety Cardphoto 1338h DSC02861 Safety Card (Back)photo 1338h DSC02862 Safety Card (Front)


photo 1341h Timeline 09


Thank you for diligently reading about the in-flight magazine; now it’s time for pictures of the meal, which probably will be of more interest to most of us, yeah?

photo 1342h DSC02864 Lunch Served

The fruits were good enough but nowhere near what I can get in Taiwan, Korea or Australia.

photo 1343h DSC02866 Good Fruits

The appetizer was awesome. It has been almost a year since I took this flight so I really can’t describe exactly how it tasted like. At the very least, I can remember that the appetizer tasted great!

photo 1344h DSC02867 Nice Salad (Sour but I Like)

The main dish was (probably) pork with rice; it was just edible and there's nothing much to write about it. In my opinion, the best meals that I have tasted in economy class were on flights with Malaysia Airlines, and also those with EVA Air. (But of course, this is just my opinion.)

photo 1347h DSC02869 Main Course - Pork with Rice and Vegetables

Nice logo, printed elegantly on the tray.

photo 1401h DSC02872 Logo Elegantly Printed

Even though we already had a quick lunch back at Changi Airport, I still managed to clear the food in my tray quickly. (We really ate a lot on that particular day on the way as we flew from Singapore to Taipei, via Vietnam.)

photo 1402h DSC02874 Almost Done with Lunch

Nice cup; felt like it was made of good quality plastic.

photo 1402h DSC02877 Nice Cup

Apart from the appetizer that left a good impression with me, this cup of coffee was nice too. I don’t exactly know if this was considered Vietnamese coffee, but it probably can still rank as one of the better coffees that I have tasted on an aircraft.

photo 1403h DSC02878 Vietnamese Coffee was Good

Let’s take a look at the aircraft’s location after we are done looking at the food and drinks; halfway through!

photo 1406h DSC02883 Aircraft Locationphoto 1406h DSC02884 Zoomed In

About to enter Vietnamese airspace soon.

photo 1406h DSC02886 Zoomed In Further (Reaching Vietnam Soon)

The flight attendants were really working hard. Soon after they were done with the meal service, they started going around collecting trash and trays.

photo 1408h DSC02889 Collecting Trash

With the airshow being shown right above me, it was hard not to take too many photographs of it – I am sure you guys understand what I mean.

photo 1412h DSC02893 Descend Soon

At about 1.13pm (UTC+07:00), we were still cruising at FL340.

photo 1413h DSC02894 Cruising Altitude 34000ft

With just about 380km left.

photo 1413h DSC02895 A Short Hop of 1000km Plusphoto 1417h DSC02899 A Really Standard Airshowphoto 1417h DSC02900 Descended to About 33000ft

Before actually descending, our altitude was reduced to FL330.

An announcement came from the flight deck before we descended, here’s what the pilot said:
- Descend to begin in about 10 minutes
- The scheduled arrival time is 1.55pm local time
- A reminder about the time difference between Singapore and Vietnam
- Current time in Vietnam is 1.23pm
- Current weather in Ho Chi Minh is fine and temperature is 32 Deg C




photo 1425h Timeline 10


Descend began at 1.27pm.
Vietnam is a country that I have always wanted to visit, it’s a pity we were only transiting this time round.

photo 1426h DSC02921 Approaching Vietnam (Where I Always Hope to Visit)

Flight attendants started doing their landing preparation as well.

photo 1429h DSC02935 Arrival Preparation in Progress (1427h Descend Started)

Another 100km more to go.

photo 1433h DSC02939 Just Another 100km More

This is the only picture I have of the beautiful skies outside, for this flight.

photo 1434h DSC02941 Weather Still Beautiful



photo 1456h Timeline 11 (1439h Passed 10000ft) STA1415h (UTC7)


VN650 arrived much earlier than the scheduled time of arrival; touching down at Ho Chi Minh City at about 2.49pm.

photo 1457h DSC02947 (1449h Touch Down 1456h Remote Stand 1506h Reach Terminal) NOTE SGN Time is UTC7



photo 1501h Timeline 12


In total, the three of us were carrying two 20” carry-on luggage, two backpacks and one handbag. I was therefore quite disappointed when our aircraft stopped at a remote stand, as it’d be a little troublesome to walk down the staircase with our bags.

Initially, I thought that I could at least make use of the opportunity to take some close-up shots of our aircraft. But I was restrained from taking too many photographs when I saw many Vietnamese officers in their military attire, standing around the aircraft and the bus. In the end, only the following photograph turned out to be decent.

photo 1502h IMG_9766 From the Bus

Most economy class passengers were packed into this (and the next bus) so as to transfer us back into the terminal as efficiently as possible.

photo 1504h IMG_9768 In the Bus


photo 1506h Timeline 13


Many passengers from our flight, and those arriving from other flights, were surprisingly also transiting in Ho Chi Minh City. I never knew that Vietnam Airlines were so popular as a connecting carrier, and I guess this is a very good sign for the carrier.

photo 1507h IMG_9769 Reached the Terminal

The queue to get pass transit security took quite a while.

photo 1509h IMG_9772 Queueing for Security

The queue at the arrival immigration looked quite alright at that time of the day.

photo 1510h IMG_9774 Immigration

For connecting passengers without their onward boarding pass, they will have to report and check-in for their next flight(s) at these counters.

photo 1511h IMG_9777 Transfer Countersphoto 1513h IMG_9779 VN Counters

Five minutes later, we were still in the queue. It was moving quite quickly.

photo 1513h IMG_9780 Still Queueing but Fast Moving

Qatar Airways has got fifth-freedom rights to carry passengers between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, and that probably explains why there was a dedicated counter for Qatar passengers. As for Royal Brunei’s counter, I am not sure why it was there?

photo 1515h IMG_9781 Brunei and Qatar Counters

The information on connecting flights was manually printed and pinned on the notice board as shown below. You can also see on the left that high-tier members of SkyTeam airlines will be able to skip the queue entirely with the dedicated security lane.

photo 1518h IMG_9784 Trasnfer Gates Information on Paper

It was our turn soon after 10 minutes in the queue.

photo 1518h IMG_9786 Finally Us Soon

We were not in a rush anyway since our transit time was about two hours; definitely sufficient for a good bowl of Pho before our next flight!


(To be continued)


This report was completed on 24 October 2015.
Originally posted in Traditional Chinese on http://tn92.pixnet.net/blog/post/299681861.
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Verdict

Vietnam Airlines

7.1/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Meal/catering7.0

Singapore - SIN

9.1/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Ho Chi Minh City - SGN

7.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Vietnam Airlines outperformed my expectations, by a lot. And I really do feel happy saying this because it is always nice to know that there's a good (and improving) carrier near home! The A321, albeit without individual IFEs, was a pleasure to fly in. I had good first impressions of it, after having been on countless numbers of A320s. I am not sure why, but the A321 just felt a little bit more spacious, even though I know it's just the length of the aircraft that is different. The crew members weren't exceptionally friendly and not all of them seemed that comfortable speaking in English, nonetheless, they were working really hard on this flight and the service was carried out efficiently. For the meal, like I have mentioned in the report, it was just slightly above average, but the good appetiser and coffee added on some more points.

Changi Airport is still has efficient and pleasant as it is, always. There are flaws, but I will only mention them if they become too significant in any of my trips. On this one, all was good.

Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport was again, much better than what I have expected. I am leaving the access and parking score at 5 because I can't comment about it as a transit passenger. As for the other aspects of this airport, allow me to discuss further in my next report as I share my transit experiences there.

Information on the route Singapore (SIN) Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)

9 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 149134 by
    Simmy1972 41 Comments

    Nice to hear your good experience on VN Airlines. I will be flying them KUL - SGN - KUL this coming December. Can wait to fly them again after almost 10 years.

  • Comment 149207 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this complete report with great pictures.

    Glad to read that you had a good experience with VN. The impression I have is that they are efficient without being as glamorous as the other top Asian carriers. There has been rumors on and off about them starting flights out of SFO, but nothing official yet. There is definitely a large Vietnamese population in the Bay Area, especially around SJC. It would be nice to have another option flying to SFO.

    • Comment 327439 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 173 Comments

      Yup, I believe they are trying really hard to up their service standards by a lot in the recent few years.
      Hmmm if they do fly to SFO, where will be the appropriate stop? (TPE, NRT, HKG? Do they have any 5th freedom rights?) It seems unlikely that it will be a direct one from Vietnam to the West Coast right?

    • Comment 327441 by
      jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

      A nonstop can be done with the 773. AI will start flying SFO-DEL on Dec. 2 using that type of equipment. I would love to see VN start service and add a 5th freedom city. KIX or HKG would be great. For a short time, CX, QF and PR flights that stopped in SFO used to continue to YVR.

  • Comment 149308 by
    Numero_2 10004 Comments

    Hey Kevin, welcome back ! ^^
    Altough this routing is almost one year old. ;)

    Did you collect all the miles flown on a Skyteam FFP ?
    At the time of booking the ST flights, did Vietnam Airlines allow to make a stopover in Ho Chi Minh City ?

    Of which, I looked forward the most to my flights with China Eastern, which was also my first encounter with a Chinese carrier. -> Trust me, no need to hurry for flying CA ! Haha

    SIN-SGN is slightly shorter than SIN-BKK and just 200km more than TPE-HKG (one of the busiest international routes in the world). -> I was so surprised to see how many flights are made in a single day between CX, BR and CI !

    The tray looks average for an asian carrier economy class meal.

    See you for the next report.

    • Comment 327561 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 173 Comments

      Hello! Nice to see you here and thanks for reading my report. =D

      Although this routing is almost one year old. ;)
      HAHA I finally found time to rush through all my reports so I am hoping they will all be published really quickly!

      Did you collect all the miles flown on a Skyteam FFP ?
      At the time of booking the ST flights, did Vietnam Airlines allow to make a stopover in Ho Chi Minh City ?
      When I was researching and planning this trip, I wasn't that well-versed with mileage accruals yet, so I just simply deposited all my points in VN's Lotusmiles. Now my plan is to just fly a little bit more SkyTeam flights next year, get enough miles to use them - so that I don't waste the miles accrued from this trip, and then go back to be loyal with oneworld. Hahaha... Stopovers were allowed if I am not wrong! We unfortunately couldn't schedule it in our trip.

      Trust me, no need to hurry for flying CA ! Haha
      CA....... Your nightmare forever, right? No plans as of now. But China Southern, maybe?

      I was so surprised to see how many flights are made in a single day between CX, BR and CI !
      Yeah, and Hong Kong Airlines!

      The tray looks average for an asian carrier economy class meal.
      Yeah you are right. This one is average, the next one I had was slightly above average.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 149601 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5606 Comments

    Nice to see a new series! And as always, a great report with good detail and beautiful pictures. 10 flights in one trip, that's exciting indeed! I'm doing 12 flights on my year-end trip. Will be passing through SIN, actually. Yep, we're all addicted to flying :-)

    Reports on VN seem to be generally positive. I think many people tend to have low expectations and then are pleasantly surprised. Aside from the lack of PTVs, which isn't that big of a deal to me on a short regional flight, everything else looks great. The catering looks quite good and the cabin looks comfortable. For narrowbodies in Y, I generally prefer A32X over 737s as the cabin and seats are wider.

    the Vietnamese language looks very interesting and I believe isn’t easy to pick up.
    - It is definitely an interesting language, but being half Vietnamese, I can tell you it is not an easy language to learn. Because it is a tonal language, the pronunciation can be difficult. Using a wrong tone can completely change the meaning of a word. Although I know there are several tonal languages in Asia--for westerners, this is a tough concept.

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the other reports! Yes, I know one is already published :-)

    • Comment 327897 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 173 Comments

      Nice to see a new series! And as always, a great report with good detail and beautiful pictures. 10 flights in one trip, that's exciting indeed! I'm doing 12 flights on my year-end trip. Will be passing through SIN, actually. Yep, we're all addicted to flying :-)
      Welcome in advance to Singapore!

      Reports on VN seem to be generally positive. I think many people tend to have low expectations and then are pleasantly surprised. Aside from the lack of PTVs, which isn't that big of a deal to me on a short regional flight, everything else looks great. The catering looks quite good and the cabin looks comfortable. For narrowbodies in Y, I generally prefer A32X over 737s as the cabin and seats are wider.
      I do agree with you and prefer A320 series over the 737s too! Maybe I am too used to those planes in the fleets of Asia's LCCs haha! VN was really pleasant to fly with and I think I won't hesitate flying with them again.

      It is definitely an interesting language, but being half Vietnamese, I can tell you it is not an easy language to learn. Because it is a tonal language, the pronunciation can be difficult. Using a wrong tone can completely change the meaning of a word. Although I know there are several tonal languages in Asia--for westerners, this is a tough concept.
      Oh! It's nice to know you are a half Vietnamese! Yeah, after listening to it I kinda guess it really isn't easy to learn! And I think I get what you mean about the tones - it's tough yeah.

      Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the other reports! Yes, I know one is already published :-)
      Things are getting busy again.. Hope I can share more with the Flight-Report community soon! Thanks so much for your comment!

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