The airline with the best average rating is Cathay Dragon with 8.1/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 2 minutes.More information
Greetings flight report community and thank you for stopping by this report.
I've read about mistake fares but have always been too late to the party. That trend reversed as I sat in my den with my laptop on 12/31/18 and, as I often do, surfed over to one of my favorite miles and points blogs to see a post about some rather incredible airfares ex. Vietnam, in first class too. For fun I pivoted to an OTA website and sure enough, these fares were still live. I picked some random days and a few clicks later the tickets were purchased. Jennifer and I would be taking two trips to Vietnam and we were ecstatic. Please visit this post to read more about the planning and the first trip.
This series of posts will cover the second half of the mistake fare ticket. On this trip we added a visit to Laos and the enchanting Luang Prabang.
Jennifer is a great travel companion and is up for anything. That said I decided to spare her the Hong Kong lounge hop on this 3 hour visit as there wasn't enough time to do it properly. I selected The Pier as I know she would appreciate the massage service. Transit security was quick and we had a 10 minute walk to the lounge.
Before lounging I stopped by a Cathay Pacific service center to inquire about seat assignments and obtain boarding passes. This turned into a cluster of poor service. Cathay was claiming that our Vietnamese Visas were incorrectly filled out. Something about our names being first, middle, last but they should be last, first middle. It made sense on some level but I applied online for the evisa and they were approved in whatever format I submitted, along with a scan of our passports. I wasn't concerned, but they were. They wanted us to sign forms that held Cathay harmless if we were to be denied entry. I refused to sign and they finally relented and gave us boarding passes. Anyhow is was all strange and unfortunate after such a great flight.
We went directly to the shower/spa counter to inquire about reserving a time. Unfortunately none were available until after our departure time. Instead we decided to take advantage of some showers and freshen up. We met about 30 minutes later and veered off to the dining room to have a taste.
The strange spotlight lighting in the restaurant prevented me from capturing good menu shots, apologies.
I opted for Champagne and Jennifer for a Manhattan.
Wonderful views from The Pier.
We were treated to an authentic dining experience complete with a man loudly shouting on speakerphone while slurping and chomping on dinner.
In our typical way we ordered several items to share: The wonton soup, the burger, and the clams. Everything was pleasant enough with the burger showing exceptional. Jennifer commandeered the sandwich as she didn't opt to enjoy the beef on board as I did.
Throwing caution to the wind ordering shell fish at an airport lounge.
I had coffee after the meal, Jennifer opted for tea.
As we left the dining room Jennifer went off to use the restroom and the Spa attendant came and located me in the seating area. He asked if Jennifer was still interested in a treatment as there was a no-show. I was certain she was so I walked with him so we could intercept her on the way out of the loo. She went off to have her 15 minute foot treatment and I retired to the comfortable seating for the remainder of our stay. I was absolutely stunned by the excellent service. He said he was looking all over the lounge for us. I understand the more people he treats the more potential for gratuity but I was still pleased he made the effort and Jennifer was able to enjoy a treatment.
The flight information screen displayed a delay of 35 minutes for us which was a bit of a bummer as we were hoping to get to our hotel with time to go walk around town. If it got too late we probably wouldn't be up for it. Eventually the status switched to boarding and we left our sanctuary of luxury.
Arriving at the gate during final call has the benefit of avoiding the Oneworld everyone is elite boarding process. I located my seat, starboard bulkhead window, and as soon as the woman in 10H noticed Jennifer was seated apart form me she offered to move. A very kind gesture and 11G was one row back and still on the aisle to she didn't have to go far.
I can't remember the name of the welcome cocktail. Is it Oriental Breeze, or something like that?
Seat and IFE controls.
Limited storage in the bulkhead.
Monitors in the bulkhead and fold out bassinet.
The menu for this sort flight.
We finally pushed back after a 1:06 delay. The inbound aircraft was delayed, etc…
Lifting off 7R.
Service started quickly, as it would have to on a short flight. The crew were fantastic. Full hustle but alwys able to address us by name and provide excellent service. The base tray was set with the smoked duck starter. I requested the Italian red.
Butter soaked goodness.
Sauteed beef short rib. It was quite flavorful. I only picked a bite or two.
Hagen-Dazs caramel biscuit & cream speculoos to finish.
I tried to nap a bit the rest of the way but as you can see these seats are not the best for sleeping.
We stayed at the Hilton Hanoi Opera. It was a dated property but we were upgraded to a huge suite for our brief stay and the location seemed good.
The actual opera and the hotel to the right.
Large groups of mostly women doing their morning workouts around Hoàn Kiếm Lake.
I find Hanoi t be a very pretty city with wide tree lined boulevards harkening back to colonial influences.
I was fascinated by the flower display on delivery by scooter.
The Ground Service: Nothing to speak of as a transit passenger except for a frustrating interaction at the transit counter.
The Lounge: The Pier First Class Lounge remains one of my favorites. The design, the spa treatments, the nap rooms, the shower suites, and sit down a la carte restaurant all make for a fantastic lounge.
The Cabin: I don't care for the 2x2x2 on the Dragon A330s. For a short flight like this one it's of no consequence but they use this config. on some longer regional flights and red-eye flights as well. I'll skip those.
The Crew: Very professional and hard working. I only had positive interactions.
The Food and Beverage: Mediocre food for the most part. The ice cream was lovely. The wine I tasted was enjoyable.
Overall: Nothing disappointing about this 2 hour regional flight. I generally been impressed with Dragon crews and this flight was no different. I won't compare this experience to flights of this length in the USA as there is no comparison.
Thanks for coming along on this series of flights and leaving any feedback along the way. Happy flying.