Vietnam Airlines flight review – The A350 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi

Vietnam Airlines flight review - The A350 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi

Flight: Vietnam Airlines VN 252
From: Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) To: Hanoi (HAN)

I flew with Vietnam Airlines from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. There are three airlines that fly this route (the others being Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific), and with this route being one of the busiest air routes in the world you can always find a competitive airfare. I used Skyscanner to compare airlines and flight times.

Skyscanner

I had booked this flight a few months in advance as I knew I would need to be in Hanoi on this day. After booking it I forgot about it until the day before my flight. When I checked the details the day before the flight I was puzzled as to why I would pick a 4pm flight. As I noted when I flew with them last year, there are flights nearly every hour of the day.

It wasn’t until I checked in that I realised that I booked the flight because it was on an A350. When making the booking it tells you what aircraft will be used, and I had still not been on an Airbus A350. I’m not a complete avgeek (obviously not if I forgot) but I wanted to experience and see how it compares with its Boeing contemporary, the 787.

I checked in at the airport using the self check-in kiosks. I’ve used these a few times now and there is never a queue.

Self check-in

Here I was able to pick my own seat.

Seat selection

Being such a busy route, Vietnam Airlines has a dedicated check-in area just for Hanoi flights. I had a bag to check and it was done without queueing as well. This is a smooth operation here.

Hanoi bag drop

A last minute gate change, and to a gate where I couldn’t get a photo of the A350.

Departures

So here is an image of the A350 in the inflight magazine.

A350-900

What I was most curious about was how big the windows are. While the A350 windows are not as big as the 787 windows, they are noticeably larger than the A330 windows.

A350 window

When I selected my seat the screen was showing a 2-4-2 configuration, yet this aircraft had a 3-3-3 configuration. I’m so confused!

Economy cabin

The scheduled flight time is 16:00 to 18:10, but the flight is about 1h 45m. Here is a view of SGN airport.

View of SGN

Heritage magazine – the inflight magazine of Vietnam Airlines.

Heritage Magazine

I like reading the magazine to get an idea of what construction projects are going on around the country.

Alpha King advertising

And the route map is always a good way to get travel inspiration.

Regional route map

Heritage Fashion is the lifestyle and fashion magazine of the airline.

Heritage Fashion

The Vietnam Airlines A350 has entertainment units installed, but they weren’t activated on this domestic flight.

Entertainment unit

The best thing about flying Vietnam Airlines over Vietjet and Jetstar is the ample leg room.

Economy legroom

And unlike Vietjet and Jetstar, free food and drink is provided.

Lunch box

Don’t get too excited though. This snack pack contained rice crackers and mixed nuts.

Snack pack contents

Three rice crackers in the rice cracker packet.

Honey rice cracker

There is also a drink service, but the only drinks available are water or Coke/Coke Zero – not even tea or coffee. I felt like they were just phoning it in here.

Coke or water

The flight arrived at Hanoi and parked at the international terminal. I appears that they use the aircraft for domestic flights during the day and then it goes overnight somewhere internationally. As it was parked at the international gate we had to deplane from the tarmac and get a bus to the domestic terminal.

Overall this was a good flight and I was glad to test out the A350. I will have to fly a long-haul flight though to experience the full service. I was surprised with how basic the food service was, given that this is a full-service airline. By comparison Singapore Airlines offers a full meal on the SIN-SGN flight, which is almost the same distance at SGN-HAN. I haven’t flown VN regionally yet, so I will wait to make a comparison.


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