Vietnam Airlines HCMC to Sydney
- My first Northern Hemisphere Christmas
- Flying to the UK in business is never cheap at Christmas, unless . . .
- Skyteam Lounge, Sydney – the living wall is only just clinging to life
- Vietnam Airlines – Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Hey, that A330 is a 777!
- Airport Hotel Transfers – a luxury that is worth it
- Intercontinental Asiana – Staff attention make it a little gem in Saigon
- What should an airport lounge be all about? Vietnam Airlines Lounge – Saigon
- I was a 787 virgin. And now I’ve taken the whole 9. Is it a dream – liner?
- Fly me to the moon, or Flybe to Newquay, but not many stars to play with.
- Off to the Northern Lights – Heathrow Terminal 2 – Priority Pass / Premium Plaza Lounge
- My first ever extreme cold weather flights and de-icing. Scandinavian Airlines London to Tromsø via Oslo
- What do you do when someone is already in the room you have been assigned? Clarion The Edge Hotel, Tromsø, Norway.
- The chase to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) from Tromsø, Norway
- Skyteam Lounge Heathrow – Terminal 4. I was a bit disrupted.
- Vietnam Airlines London to Ho Chi Minh City, for some R ‘n R, and an urban break
- Not all Hotels are the same – Intercontinental Asiana, Saigon – the second time around
- HCMC – Saigon to everyone else
- Vietnam Airlines HCMC to Sydney
Vietnam Airlines VN773
Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon (SGN) – Sydney (SYD)
Friday, January 08, 2012
Arrive: 09:50 +1
Duration: 8h 40m
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
Seat: 3A (Business Class)
Reverse Herringbone on a 787 will always beat recliner seats on a 777
I’m not going to go into much detail, as this was basically the reverse of the Sydney to HCMC trip, on a Boeing 777 instead of the originally scheduled A330. The 777 has a 2-3-2 seat format in business class, whereas the A330 is 3-3 – so some upside to the aircraft change. We were in seats 3A and 3B.
Leaving the Intercontinental Asiana
We had booked the hotel car, and the fabulous staff at the Intercontinental Asiana let us stay in our room until about 4pm, and then fed and watered us in the Club lounge until our departure for the airport around 6pm. We would have stayed longer – but the unpredictability of Saigon traffic led to the hotel advising us to not leave too late. We wanted to stay in the Club lounge as long as possible, as we already knew that the Vietnam Airlines Skyteam lounge in Terminal 1 was not up to much.
Our trip to the airport was without incident, and we moved through check-in and immigration pretty effortlessly. We boarded at the first opportunity.
Service was good, but not proactive, and the recliner seats made it feel like travelling in business class in the 1990’s. There was nowhere to put things, and recliner seats just don’t cut it on an overnight flight these days.
The scheduled A330 would have had angled flat bed seats – which would have been acceptable, and is why we booked with them. We had been warned about the 777’s by our travel agent. But – you get what you pay for and at a price under AU$4,500 return in business class, I’m prepared to overlook a few things.
As you can see seat pitch was pretty good, and the business cabin was full. The plane was not in the best condition though. It was showing its age.
Otherwise the cabin was clean, well ordered and kept that way by the flight attendants.
Seat controls were basic, but easily understood, and worked fine. I actually like the ability to alter each element rather than some of the ‘presets’ that you find in more contemporary seat technology.
Our take-off was uneventful, and on time, providing these lovely views of the lights of Saigon.
Although the Intercontinental had kept us in snacks by providing us with an extended afternoon tea, I was still hungry. I figured that we might be hard pressed to get a good nights sleep, so better to be well fed, and have a few drinks. We had loaded up our ipads with TV shows, so the lack of seat back IFE wasn’t a problem.
Here’s the menu:
And the drinks options:
As you can see they were not big on brands.
I chose the the Lamb – which was fine – despite the aluminium bowl of gravy. Desert can just be seen at the top left of the picture, and was the Vietnamese style sweet soup.
After the meal, I started to fall asleep during an episode of House of Cards on my ipad. I abandoned that, and settled in for the evening. I was surprised at getting close to 5 hours of sleep – albeit a little broken.
About 2 hours out of Sydney, lights were on, and breakfast was heading to us. I wasn’t that hungry, so went for the Pho. It was delicious.
We arrived a bit ahead of schedule, and collected our baggage, paused at duty free for a few supplies, and breezed through immigration and customs.
We were home and unpacking in about 90 minutes from landing. That’s one advantage of living not far for Kinsford Smith Airport in Sydney.
787-9 all the way?
Since our trip, Vietnam Airlines has moved to all 787-9’s on this Saigon to Sydney route. If you are going through to London, then you may get a combination of A350’s and 787’s, and the prices are still sub-AU$5,000 last time I looked. The cheapest fares still tend to have a Hanoi-Saigon leg though:
They still have a long layover and some involve an additional stop in Hanoi. Still, for this price, you get to travel on some of the newest model aircraft in the air, at an amazingly cheap price, with perfectly good service, in reverse herringbone seats.
More stories from this trip
- Northern Hemisphere Christmas
- Trip Planning
- Skyteam Lounge – Sydney
- Sydney to Saigon
- Airport to Hotel Transfer
- Intercontinental Asiana, Saigon
- Vietnam Airlines Business Class Lounge – Tan Son Nhat International Airport
- Saigon to London in 787-9
- Flybe to Cornwall
- Priority Pass Lounge Gatwick
- SAS to Tromso
- Clarion Hotel Tromso – what to do when someone is already in your room
- Chasing The Northern Lights
- Skyteam Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
- London to Saigon
- Intercontinental Asiana, Saigon – 2nd time round
- Saigon Highlights
- Saigon to Sydney