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Vietnam Airlines HCMC to Sydney

Vietnam Airlines HCMC to Sydney
Series: Trip: Christmas 2015 - my first northern hemisphere Christmas

Vietnam Airlines VN773

Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon (SGN) – Sydney (SYD)

Friday, January 08, 2012

Depart: 21:10

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.

a blue sign with yellow text

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.

The Flight

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.

a bag with a newspaper and other objects in it

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.

a group of people sitting in an airplane

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.

a close up of a button

Otherwise the cabin was clean, well ordered and kept that way by the flight attendants.


a group of people sitting in a plane

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.

a close up of a control panel


Our take-off was uneventful, and on time, providing these lovely views of the lights of Saigon.

aerial view of a city at night

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:

a menu of a restaurant

And the drinks options:

a menu with text and images

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.

a plate of food with a fork and knife

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.

a menu of a restaurant

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:

a screenshot of a flight schedule

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

Other Posts in the Series
<< HCMC – Saigon to everyone else

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