Back to the airport via Grab and checked in at the VN counters.
Through immigration and security rather quickly and into the departure hall with overpriced duty-free shops.
With my priority pass, I visited the Orchid lounge. It was rather busy at this hour.
Buffet selection was pretty decent.
My pick from the buffet.
One aspect I liked of the lounge is the vast windows for plane-spotting. EVA B773ER preparing for departure.
Vietjetair A321 and new Vietnamese airline Bamboo Airways A320.
SQ B772ER 9V-SVN taxiing in as SQ184 and returning a SQ183. This aircraft was just recently retired. This would be one of her last few flights in her SQ career.
Heading to the gate and spotting my VN A350 in Skyteam livery.
28 October 2019 Vietnam Airlines VN 657 Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) - Singapore (SIN) A350-900 VN-A897 Economy Class Flight Time: 1H50M
Our SkyTeam liveried A359.
Boarding had just commenced.
Newspapers were available at the door. Passing through the Premium Economy cabin, which is in a 2-4-2 layout. The seat frame is exactly the same as on SQ's A350.
Into the economy cabin. I believe the seats were also of the same model as used by SQ on the B773ERs and most long-haul A350s, but with less bells and whistles.
Boarding in progress
Was seated in an aisle seat on this leg. Legroom was pretty decent for the mid-long haul flights this aircraft usually serve. IFE monitor was touch-screen and large, with USB port beneath the monitor. There were no footrests.
After boarding was completed, crew came round to hand out refreshment towels. Blankets were handed out upon request. No IFE headphones were available as, according to the crew, it would only be handed on flights longer than 3hrs. So use your own earphones on these short sectors.
Safety video played.
Boarding was completed on schedule but there was a bit of delay for departure due to traffic. Finally took off about 20min behind schedule and the IFE was turned on just as the engines spooled up on the runway. IFE selection was good enough for this short flight.
3D flight map. However it was on a loop and cannot be personalised.
My entertainment for the flight.
Everyone were 'forced' to watch the VN ads just after takeoff.
Seat recline was quite good.
Meal service started immediately after departure. The flight was totally full in Premium economy and Economy, and with 276 passengers in these 2 classes, it was hard work for the 5 crew in PEY/EY to conduct the meal service on this short sector. Carts started from PEY and moved towards the rear, with a crew dishing out meal trays and another following behind with the drinks cart.
Seated near the rear of the aircraft, we only received our meals almost an hour into the flight, just 5min before descent was announced by the pilot. The meal tray came with a salad, main, warm roll with butter and a banana.
The meal choices were Fish with Noodles or Pork with rice. The Fish noodles was rather salty again. Lesson learnt, noodles on VN are normally salty.
The other choice of Braised pork with rice was very tasty!
Just noted the VN logo on the plastic cup.
A round of coffee/tea was also offered but I declined. 2 additional crew also came up from Business to help with clearing of the trays. Definitely a hectic flight for this set of VN crew.
Crew busy in the Economy galley in the rear, clearing up the trash. This was the only galley serving the entire PEY and EY cabins!
Quick visit to the lavatory. Other than the necessary, the only amenity available was the VN-branded handwash.
Clearing up the last trays while we were descending.
Some facts on the A350.
Our flight time was extended as we were required to hold.
Again we were forced to sit through VN ads again before landing.
Landed on Rwy02C and it was only a short taxi to Terminal 4 where we disembarked. It appeared that there were many passengers who had originated from Japan/Korea and transited at SGN, judging from the many duty-free shopping bags they were carrying.
A glimpse of our aircraft after disembarkation.
Followed by a long trek to the Arrival hall where immigration and baggage claim was very efficient.
Southern Airports Services Company Orchid CIP Lounge
Ho Chi Minh City - SGN
Singapore - SIN
Even though it was a busy and full flight, it was still a comfortable journey on Vietnam Airlines on this short-haul flight. VN's service may not be as polished as the 5-stars carriers, but the onboard offerings on the newer aircraft are still comparable with the major airlines out there. When the price is right, I would still recommend flying on Vietnam Airlines.
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