Thursday, 18 February 2016

What should an airport lounge be all about? Vietnam Airlines Lounge - Saigon


What should an airport lounge be all about?
The best airport lounges are havens from reality. Little cocoons that allow you to work, or relax, or chill, or just cope with your own anxiety about travel.

For me, they act like the curtain raiser for the trip. A kind of non-space before you are transported to a holiday, or a meeting, or to rejoin family or loved ones.

Sometimes they are luxurious (Qantas - I'm still waiting for my invitation into the first class international lounge in Sydney!). Sometimes exclusive like the Qantas Chairman's Lounge and the Virgin Australia equivalent.

Sometimes they are barely adequate.

Tough competition
Vietnam Airlines lounge at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) sits fairly and squarely on the adequate side. Sorry about using that swear word. It is relatively comfortable, wasn't overcrowded when we were there, and it will keep you fed, watered and toileted as required.

I am willing to concede that my view may be influenced by the circumstances of my visit to this lounge. Our first visit was at about 11pm at night, having spent the last 6 or so hours in the loving embrace of the Intercontinental Asian Saigon's Club Lounge, and staff. Our next meeting was the same morning at about 3am. I just wanted to get on my way to my first northern hemisphere Christmas

I was definitely tired, and arguably emotional, and really just wanted to get on a plane and go to sleep. Assessment of the lounge was not uppermost in my mind.

Not good, not really bad, just adequate. We ended up spending far too long here.

I wasn't going to review this lounge, so I only took a couple of not very good shots. There are two great things about this lounge. It has fantastic views of the tarmac, and our plane was parked at one of the two very close airbridges.

Here is an overhead shot which I have borrowed from Flyingroo.net
I hope he doesn't mind but it gives you a better idea of the scale and layout.
Unmemorable
The food selection looks pretty downmarket, but given the time of night - I didn't sample anything. Good selection of beers, and a red and a white wine, no sparkling, - oh and a bunch of pre-packaged stuff that was unmemorable but in the potato chip/wasabi covered chick peas style. Staff tidied and renewed the food offering, and were perfectly pleasant, but we had just been coddled by the staff at the Asiana, so they had a lot to live up to.

Bathrooms, tired but clean.

Look - I won't go on. Suffice it to say - this is adequate. You wouldn't build a trip around it and you wouldn't want to get stuck here for too long, but its fine . . . better than some . . . not as good as many . . . .

Can we board yet?

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