Why This Airline Seatmap Is Missing A Letter

by joeheg

Sharon and I just returned from Southeast Asia and during our trip, we took two flights on Vietnam Airlines. The airline is a SkyTeam member so we expected a certain level of quality from our flights and weren’t disappointed.

Our travel arrangements were part of our tour package, so we didn’t receive our travel documents until we checked in at the airport. For the most part, they tried to keep couples like Sharon and I together but occasionally the airline split us up. We didn’t have a flight longer than 90 minutes so we didn’t mind sitting apart, since we were spending 2 weeks together (which is longer than we spend with each other when we’re home).

What confused me was when we received our boarding passes for a flight and Sharon and I were in seats E & G on an A321. I was trying to figure out how Vietnam Airlines fit 7  (A, B, C, D, E, F and G) seats across on a narrowbody plane. Well, until we got on the plane and saw this seating arrangement:

a sign on a wall

I asked our guide, who was from Hanoi, why there was no seat “F.” He told me that there is no letter F in the Vietnamese alphabet and that sound is replaced by “Ph” as in the popular Vietnamese soup.

I guess Vietnam Airlines could have seats A-B-C-D-E-Ph, but I doubt that the ancient airline IT systems could handle it. As it was, I heard more Dot-matrix printers at the airports in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia than I’ve heard in the past 20 years.

So when you look at the seat map for Vietnam Airlines A321 on SeatGuru, don’t be surprised to see it missing a letter.

a diagram of a number

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