Home Airlines Flight Review: Vietnam Airlines Economy A321 – SGN-DAD

Flight Review: Vietnam Airlines Economy A321 – SGN-DAD

by joeheg

As part of our tour of Vietnam, Lao and Cambodia, our first flight was from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang. Our flight was on Vietnam Airlines, a SkyTeam Airline. I wasn’t concerned because the airline was a member of a major airline alliance, which means it’s supposed to meet specific standards.

The beginning of our journey was getting to the domestic terminal of Ho Chi Minh City airport. While the international terminal was chaos when we arrived, the domestic terminal has been described as resembling a busy European train station, and I can see the similarity.

Our bus was directed to park at the far side of the parking garage, which meant we had a long walk to get to the terminal.

Once we got into the terminal we had some problems as our gate was changed and most of our group didn’t hear the announcement. Once we arrived at the correct gate, the experience was what you’d expect from a domestic flight. One slight difference from the US was that you could bring liquids through the security checkpoint, but sharp objects (like a nail files) were prohibited.

We boarded our A321 jet (VN-A397), which was a little over 10 years old. I’m not sure if the interior has been updated since it went into service.

Forgive my bare knees (it was hot in Vietnam), but I need to show that I had plenty of leg room and my backpack easily fit under the seat.

I followed Vietnam’s requirement to wear masks while on a plane. I had a supply with me but made a rookie move and they were still in my checked bag. Thanks to the drugstore in Singapore for the inexpensive 10-pack of KN-95 masks.

An unexpected feature was the drop-down IFE screens. They were only used for the commercials and the safety briefing.

The decor screams the 1990s but this plane went into service in 2012.

While there were some advertisements, it’s nothing as you’d find on an ultra-low-cost carrier.

Since this was a domestic flight, Vietnam Airlines is prepared for passengers who don’t fly often. For example, these are the rules listed in the restroom.

If we didn’t already know how dense the population is in Ho Chi Minh City, it was evident when we flew over the city. At last count, there is 4,375 people/sq km, the 20th most population-dense city in the world.

I didn’t know what to expect from my first flight in Vietnam. It felt like a flight in the US, except for the airline agents walking around the gate area with handwritten signs, ensuring you were aware of gate changes. While our boarding passes mentioned zones, it didn’t appear if anyone was following that information so we got in line with all the other passengers.

Our first Vietnam Airlines experience wasn’t anything to remember and I’m saying that’s a good thing. I’d gladly fly with them again, as we were set to do in a few days.

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