Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by this report. This is the continuation of our trip to Vietnam that became a reality after a Cathay Pacific "mistake" fare that was honored. Feel free to visit the SNA-ORD report for more background on the planning, etc.
After several spectacular days in Nha Trang (check out the "Tourist Bonus" if you're interested) it was time to start the trek back home. We're not taking the most direct routing as a result of the Cathay mistake fare so we have to position to HAN to pick up that ticket. This ticket was originally booked as ICN-CXR-HAN in Y but when we arrived at CXR I stopped by the VN ticket desk and asked about a cash upgrade. It was a very reasonable fee so we thought it would be fun to have a go in VN J having flown VN Y several times to date.
Security was a breeze at this small airport and we were airside quickly. The Lotus lounge is at the far end of the terminal and is clearly marked.
I have to say it's a fairly spacious and well appointed lounge for domestic flights. The interior décor is a bit dated or a least in a style I cannot relate to.
There are a variety of soups on offer with appropriate garnishes.
Also hot foods and cold cuts.
Fruits, sweets, and tea.
Having eaten breakfast at the hotel we just sampled a dew snacks. The only cups I could find were coffee.
Not much in the way of views. or natural light.
They have a cabinet for passenger. I thought that was simply economy class….
There is a smoking room in the lounge as well.
As boarding time arrived we made our way to gate 6.
It was only after our boarding passes were scanned and we started walking to the jetway did I realize I would have my first ride on the A321-200neo. I thought it odd that the flights between CXR-ICN-CXR, almost 5 hours in duration, are operated with the A321-200ceo and the 90 minute ride to Hanoi would be on the A321-200neo.
There is a small 8 seat J cabin on this configuration with no hard bulk head separating the cabins. The J seats are rather basic. The look like a larger version of a typical Y slim line seat.
The lack of bulk head provides some good legroom for the first row of economy.
The J eats have a storage compartment presumably where you could stow IFE monitors if the aircraft is so equipped.
Tray table is on the other side.
Bare seatback, safety card, and wifi info.
Cold towels were offered as well as water or juice.
The safety video was aired on fold down monitors that had excellent resolution and aspect ration. A moving map was aired during the flight.
My IFE of choice as we taxi to 2R.
Beautiful views of Cam Ranh coastline and Cam Ranh Bay on departure
The flight attendant working the cabin asked if we would enjoy a snack and of course I took her up on the offer. The other J passenger didn't partake.
A tray with open-faces sandwiches is served along with a beverage. There is no bar service on this short flight but beer is provisioned.
There was a dessert on the tray that looks like Bánh Flan Dừa but I didn't taste it to confirm.
The sandwiches were not very appetizing so I only nibbled. The meats were OK but the bread was stale.
Small lavatory with basic amenities.
The front of the airplane has arrived in Ha Noi.
Curtains drawn and another round of beers before landing.
Hazy day in Ha Noi.
We parked on a remote stand next to a 757. The symmetry is perfect as the 321neo is as close to a 757 replacement as we're going to get.
I am happy to do air stairs and bus any time. The neo is gorgeous in the VN livery.
Looking back from the bus.
We were dropped into a deserted baggage claim area and proceeded to catch the shuttle bus tot eh International Terminal to leave our bags and explore the city a bit. Until next time.
Tourist bonus - nha trang dining and sights
Bonus : Click here display hide
We absolutely loved Nha Trang and for the very reason we selected it as our destination: It is a perfect mix of culture, cuisine, and beach/lounging destination. The food, as is my experience with everywhere I've visited in Vietnam, is extraordinary. Below, in no particular order, are some highlights of the sights and flavors.
Fancy a lobster on your walk?
Views from the Intercontinental Nha Trang.
Long Son Pagoda
Bun Bo Hue
Fantastic food tour on motorbikes. Banh beo, banh xeo, banh can, and bun bo. All brilliant!
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Bun Ca Sua.
Reunification Day celebrations.
Sea sails and clams.
Banh xeo and cha gio.
Vietnam Airlines Lotus Lounge
Nha Trang - CXR
Hanoi - HAN
The Ground Service: Check in took a bit of time on account of upgrading at the airport. Once we completed the ticketing and walked over to the check-in counter there were many radio call back and forth to get us actual boarding passes.
The Lounge: I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the lounge, in particular the food selection. I didn't really sample much of it but it appeared plentiful and varied.
The Cabin: A very basic configuration. I would have guessed the NEO would be doing longer routes thus be equipped with better IFE and perhaps even a larger J cabin. I would be incorrect in those assumptions.
The Crew: The flight attendant was perfectly fine. She only had two of us to look after as the other passenger slept the entire way.
The Food and Beverage: Not much positive to say here. No bar service and stale bread are not excellent features.
Overall: The upgrade was not something I would do again but I have no regrets. I got value from the experience and education on VN's domestic J offering.
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