Flight: VietJet Air VJ 894
From: Denpasar (DPS) To: Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
I flew with VietJet Air from Bali to Ho Chi Minh City. This is a new route that started in 2019, though it was initially announced a few years ago. When the tickets became available I started planning a trip as a stopover from Melbourne. I always try and make a stopover somewhere, so rather than flying from Melbourne to Saigon, I flew from Melbourne to Bali and enjoyed a few days in Bali before resuming my trip.
At the time of my booking this was the only non-stop flight between Bali and Saigon, but I still compared flights online with Skyscanner in case there was any ridiculous sale happening on another airline.
There are four flights a week on this route, so I had to plan my days around the available flights.
The total price was 1,874,000 VND ($80.75 USD) with a checked bag, so this was a great deal considering the flight distance.
VietJet Air are the first Vietnamese airline to fly to Bali, and this is the first flight to connect Bali to Vietnam.
Shortly after VietJet Air started flights to Bali, Vietnam Airlines announced that they too will start flight from Ho CHi Minh City to Bali. So in the space of a few months Saigon has gone from having no flights to Bali to two airlines flying there. I don’t know if Vietnam Airlines were doing this to disrupt VietJet Air’s expansion plans, or if they saw that there is a bigger market on this route than realised.
Since I booked this flight I have seen some discounted flights on Vietnam Airlines as well, so now would be the time to think of this route as a Southeast Asia travel option.
Looking at the departure board, who have thought at the start of the year that you would be seeing two different flights to Ho Chi Minh City on display.
There was no online check-in so I got to the airport early to get this process out the way first.
I didn’t order a meal so I had lunch at the airport. To my surprise the flight arrived on time. I say that because flights are notoriously delayed in Vietnam.
VietJet Air flight VJ894 departs Ngurah Rai Bali (DPS) at 14:05 and arrives at Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) at 17:05 (one hour behind) for a scheduled flight time of 4 hours.
All was going well at this point for an almost ontime takeoff. Once the flight was in the queue though we got stuck on the tarmac waiting for our turn to take off. Ngurah Rai International Airport only has one runway, and it’s a busy airport. So we were waiting for flights to land in addition for the aircraft ahead in the queue to take off. We were nearly one hour off schedule by the time we took off.
VietJet Air is an ultra low cost airline, so don’t expect much in the way of legroom. I don’t mind this for short flights like Bangkok to Saigon, but it gets harder on long flights like Tokyo to Saigon.
One-2-fly – the inflight magazine of VietJet Air.
They don’t have a route map in the this magazine, which is a shame. They do have news on future expansion, such as their latest aircraft purchases.
In addition to the flights to Bali, this year the airline also started the first direct flights from Vietnam to Delhi. The Vietnam aviation market has really opened up this year to new destinations beyond the usual places in Southeast Asia. With more aircraft being acquired by Vietnamese airlines I look forward to seeing what is in store for 2020.
There is no free meal service onboard, so you can either order a meal when you book your ticket, or buy a meal onboard.
A hot meal is a very reasonable 100,000 VND ($4.30 USD).
Drinks are also available to purchase.
I got an instant coffee for 40,000 VND ($1.72 USD).
The flight was full, so it turns out that this new route is proving to be popular. It also helps that the flight is from Ho Chi Minh City, so VietJet Air can connect passengers from everywhere else in Vietnam. I was sitting next to a couple from Hanoi, who were then going to connect to another flight. With the flight an hour late they were going to struggle to meet their connection, so I don’t know what VietJet Air do in this instance.
We arrived at Tan Son Nhat Airport an hour late, and we deplaned on the tarmac. SGN Airport has long since gone over its capacity, so until the new airport at Long Thanh is built this is going to be a more common occurance.
Overall this was a good flight option to get from Bali to Saigon. I have flown to Bali from Saigon before via an overnight stay in Singapore, so the non-stop flight is welcome. The flight times during the day are good as well (no weird late night flights).
With Vietnam Airlines now offering flights I might end up in Bali more often if there is a price war between the two airlines.