Air France - AF164
Paris Charles de Gaulle to Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nuh Airport via Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport:
Aircraft: Airbus A340-313X
Registration: F-GLZN (Old Current Scheme)
Configuration: 36J, 236Y
Seat: 20A, Tempo Class
Flight Time: 1h 05m
Distance: 445 miles
Scheduled Departure Time: 13:15
Actual Departure Time: 13:19 (Doors closed at 13:05)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 14:50
Actual Arrival Time: 14:43
Departure Gate: F5
Flight Load: 65-70%
Photo © Mark Kryst - YXUphoto
Photo © Snorre - VAP
Having spent 11 Days in the coastal town of Hua Hin it was time to leave to fly to Vietnam. This was to be my first time in Vietnam and by this time I was really looking forward to not only trying Air France in over 10 years; but also entering Ho Chi Minh City.
We left our hotel in Hua Hin at around 7AM; the drive to Bangkok’s newest airport takes around 3hours depending on the traffic. The journey took around 3h 20mins (strangely longer than the actual flight) and traffic was light. We arrived at the new airport at around 10:15am and made our way towards the Air France check-in desks. The check-in was not actually open as yet; we had to wait 15 minutes until they were opened.
The Air France-KLM area was located opposite the Eva Air and Egyptair desks; and next to the Aeroflot desks.
At this time there were lots of passengers who were checking in for flights to London (Eva Air 777-300ER), Moscow Sheremetyevo (Aeroflot) and Guangzhou (Egyptair 777-200ER).
Check in area at Bangkok
Looking across to the other side
Air France KLM check-in area with flights to Taipei and Ho Chi Minh City checking in
Shortly after we checked in for the flight to Ho Chi Minh city; which the aircraft and flight originated in Paris. Today’s flight was scheduled to be on time; however the aircraft was due to arrive slightly later than planned.
We checked in and gained my miles onto my One Pass Card (Continental Airlines); only after to be told Air France is not part of SkyTeam?!!! However the situation was resolved after a quick brain wave serge from the check-in agent. I received seat 29A; which was to be located towards the front of the wing.
Shortly after we made our way to immigration, where the lines were short and quick. The so called observation deck was closed at this time, any idea why?
I had been told by many people that the airport was actually more of a shopping centre than an International airport; I guess they were right. There were masses amounts of shops in the airport; all selling expensive goods which is quite a reality check after being in Hua Hin where many clothes, DVD’s etc… are available for cheap prices on the street and in markets.
I shortly made my way to the F-Gates where the flight was due to be flown from. Located near the gates was a sports bar, a Burger King and several other shops and restaurants. Those of you that have flown from the airport will notice that the windows have small dots on them; which are very annoying for us airline/r freaks.
Looking towards the main building (where Check-In is located), with many shops and restaurants visible.
The E-Gates; where an Eva Air 747-400 shortly bound for Taipei and a Kuwait Airways A340-300 which I guess is either bound for Kuwait or Manila. The later I guess?
As I looked across the remote gates located behind the F and E Gates I noticed an Air France A340-300 (F-GZLO) which seemed pretty lonely with no activity going on with the aircraft. This had me slightly worried as the flight was due to leave in an hour or so.
F-GZLO located on the remote stands. Notice how annoying the black dots on the windows are!
F-GZLO of Air France and two Thai Airways 737-400s docked at the F-Gates.
Looking across the E-Gates with an A340-300 and a B747-400 visible.
The F-Gate security area.
A rather blurred photo of the departure information.
Shortly after an Air France A340-300 landed which at the time puzzled me as why there was two Air France A340s in Bangkok at the same time. I guess F-GNLO had broken down at Bangkok?
Air France flight AF164 from Paris CDG flown by F-GLZN making its way to the gate.
The flight had arrived slightly later than the planned time of 11:35am. The aircraft docked at gate F5 which was located at the last gate of the F-concourse.
Looking down towards Gates F3, F4, F5 and F6.
Ground staff announced for all passengers to go to gate F5 as soon as the aircraft had arrived. I guess they were still planning for the 13:15 departure and therefore gaining a quick turnaround.
Looking down from the upper level towards F-GLZN which had two Thai Airways Catering trucks docked onto the 2R and 4R doors. The aerobridges were located onto doors 1L and 2L.
A closer view of the aircraft at gate F5.
Shortly after B-18312; an Airbus A330-300 taxied past after arriving from Taipei.
Soon after another China Airlines A330-300 taxied past. I hope to soon see this airline in SkyTeam.
Another view of the aircraft that would take me to Ho Chi Minh City, notice the Ambulance located on the right of the photo.
F-GLZN being unloaded with passengers bags from Paris.
The scene across the apron as an Eva Air 747-400 pushes back for the flight to Taipei.
A Thai Airways 737-400 being readied for departure for Chittagong.
Looking towards the E-Gates where the Eva Air 777-300ER had just arrived from Taipei; and would shortly depart for London Heathrow. Notice the Vietnam Airlines A320 which would shortly depart also to Ho Chi Minh City.
Kenya Airways crew waiting for the aircraft to arrive from Nairobi.
Philippine Airlines A340-300 arriving from Manila.
Touchdown of Royal Brunei 767-300, hope to see the Triple 7s here in the future.
Soon after I made my way into the departure lounge at gate F5 and sat down ready for boarding.
Flight information for today’s flight to Ho Chi Minh City, I think the information boards that Air France provides are great.
Today’s captain was to be Mr. Di Liegghio accompanied by his crew onboard this A340. The crew was changed from the previous crew who operated the Paris to Bangkok leg of the flight. Various different languages were to be operated by the crew on this short flight; those including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Vietnamese and Thai.
Today’s flight was to be operated by an Airbus A340-313X which was manufactured in 1998 making the aircraft roughly 9 years of age. The aircraft was also equipped with the larger L'Espace Affaires (Business class) which held 36 passengers rather than the smaller 32 passengers equipped on some of AF’s A340s. The aircraft also featured the older colour scheme as opposed to the new scheme which has added logos on the engines and the ‘Air France KLM’ logo on the front fuselage.
Seat pitch on this aircraft was 31” in the Tempo cabin and featured a 2-4-2 configuration. In L'Espace Affaires the layout was 2-2-2.
L'Espace Affaires Cabin
Looking out from the departure lounge; with a Vietnam Airlines A320 taxiing for departure to SGN.
Close up of the beautiful A340 nose.
Three beautiful A340s in one frame.
Egyptair 777-200ER having just arrived from Cairo, behind schedule. The aircraft would later depart to Guangzhou, China. The Vietnam Airlines A320 was preparing for the flight to Hanoi.
Soon after I arrived into the departure lounge, the ground staff announced that there would be a slight delay; however the flight would still depart on schedule.
A few minutes after the flight were announced for boarding to the delight of passengers. L'Espace Affaires passengers were invited to board the aircraft first before the usual two block Tempo class passengers were invited.
View from the Aerobridge; the first bridge was for L’Espace Affaires passengers only.
All passengers were on board soon after and the aerobridge undocked from the aircraft. However the aircraft waited at the gate for 15 minutes until scheduled departure time. As soon as 13:15 hit, the aircraft pushed back. The passengers which originated in Paris were already onboard and featured special cards on their seats.
View across the A340 wing as an Emirates 777 arrives from Dubai; the flight would shortly continue onto Hong Kong.
The very blue Tempo Class Seat with the map showing on the PTV.
Pushback with the guidance of the Bangkok ground crew.
The arrival of yet another China Airlines A330-300.
Kenya Airways 767-300 at gate F3 shortly after arrival.
Indian Airlines A320 after arrival at Gate F1.
Waving goodbye to the aircraft from the ground crew.
Philippine Airlines A340-300 after arrival from Manila parked at the E-Gates.
Saying goodbye to F-GLZO as we head to the active.
Qatar Airways A330-200 being readied for the return journey to Doha. Soon QR will operate a A340-300 + A330 on the double daily route.
Egyptair 777-200ER pushing back for the flight to Guangzhou after a quick turnaround. Partner KLM 747-400 being readied for the continuation to Taipei, the aircraft had only arrived a few minutes before.
Thai Airway’s first A340-500 (HS-TLA) at a remote gate. The aircraft would later depart to either JFK or LAX.
Looking towards the Thai Airways gates with a A340-600 and a 777-200ER.
Three Thai Airways aircraft all sporting the old scheme. A 777-200A, 747-400 and a A300-600R.
Two Thai Airways 747-400s and a single A330-300.
Soon we had reached the runway and the flaps were lowered. We were third in the line to take-off after a Bangkok Airways ATR-72.
I noticed that the A340 cabin was extremely quiet compared to the 777 which I had previously flown on to reach Bangkok.
Here is the video of the takeoff from Bangkok.
TAKE OFF VIDEO TO COME...
The aircraft took off quite quickly and strait away could notice the poor climb rate that is so much talked about on Airlines.net. However it was not as bad as had previously expected, nevertheless it was not a full load.
The aircraft maintained a South-wards climb toward the Gulf of Thailand before making a sharp left turn towards the Thai-Vietnamese border.
Shortly after take-off over the outer-areas of Bangkok.
The A340 takes a left turn over the North Gulf of Thailand Sea as the seatbelt signs were turned off.
Shortly after reaching cruising altitude the crew brought around amenity kits which included headphones, refreshment kit, earplugs and a eye-mask. Not too bad for a one hour flight!!
Soon after a snack involving sandwiches, water, yoghurt and a small cake were brought round by the crew along with refreshments. After eating a Burger King before the flight, I wasn’t to fussed about the food but nevertheless still eat everything bar the sandwiches.
The window view as we cruise above thick cloud.
The Tempo class seat with the main menu showing. The menu was interchangeable into French and English languages. The Tempo cabin was in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Looking towards door 3R which is located near to the wing.
Looking towards the front Tempo cabin with a light load.
Soon after the meal was cleaned away the captain announced that we would soon be descending into Ho Chi Minh City. The weather was due to be overcast with a high chance of thunderstorms. The city had just experienced a rain shower and was cool at a temperature of 27C.
Beginning our descent.
The mini-cabin of the L’Espace Affaires is visible.
Looking towards the Engine as we get lower and lower towards the city.
The in-flight map showing that we are near to Ho Chi Minh City.
Making a series of turns over the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City.
Airbrakes slowing us down as we descend.
Shortly after the captain announced that we would be landing very shortly and cabin crew were to be seated. The approach took us over Ho Chi Minh City; a truly amazing approach as can be seen on the landing video. Some people associate the approach to HCMC as to similar at LAX!
Flaps are now lowered as we begin our final approach into Tah Han Son Nut Airport
Landing Video soon to come...
Taxiing to the terminal after landing, the runway activity seemed very light here with only one aircraft making a landing during taxi. The aircraft was a VN A320.
Looking towards the smaller Vietnam Airlines aircraft with an A320 visible in front of the new terminal
Rear View of a Vietnam Airlines 777
Passing a Vietnam Airlines 777-200 parked in front of the new terminal
Passing a Vietnam Airlines A330-300, equipped with PW engines
Another Vietnam Airlines A330, this time parked at the terminal. This model was a -200.
VN A330-200 being loaded for yet another flight to Asia
A Vietnam Airlines A321 parked at the current terminal
An Eva Air A330-200 being prepared for the return journey to Taipei
Looking across the window towards the new Taiwanese A330
Turning towards the gate which had two aerobridges, similar to that at Bangkok
This was my third Eva Air aircraft I had seen today; the others being a 777-300ER and a 747-400
Looking towards the VN fleet with a 777-200, A330-300, A330-200 and A321 visible
The tail of B-16311, a newish aircraft in the Eva Air fleet
B-16311 of Eva Air equipped with GE engines
Docked at the gate, with the two aerobridges moving towards the 1L and 2L doors
One last look across the wing before departing the aircraft
The seatbelt sign was turned off shortly after the aircraft arrived at the gate. For once there wasn’t mad chaos, perhaps due to the light load of this flight.
We entered the terminal via door 2L and made our way to immigration, which directly in front of the aircraft. Aircraft visible on the ground at the time was an Air France A340, Eva Air A330 and a Philippine Airlines A320 which had just arrived from Manila. There were also several dozen Russian aircraft in the background which looked beyond repair.
The immigration lines were split into Vietnamese and ASEAN desks and then foreign travellers. The foreign traveller’s lines moved slowly and I eventually had my passport stamped. (In Vietnam you need a visa to enter the country)
I then headed downstairs to where the baggage reclaim would be, you could still see the aircraft on the ramp from the baggage reclaim area. Baggage came through very quick and I made my towards the foreign exchange desk to get some Vietnamese Dong, however there was large lines so I decided to wait until I had got into the city instead.
As we headed towards the mini-bus I noticed the new terminal which will soon open
Driving away from the terminal you can see the masses amounts of people who are waiting outside the arrivals area of the terminal.
Buildings at SGN
Overall my flight was very pleasant; I was extremely impressed with the Air France crew. Having last flown on Air France long haul back in the 90s it was nice to get back in the air with AF. The aircraft was also very good however the A340 was starting to show its age. The A330/A340/777 is my favourite group of airliners so this trip was especially interesting.
One thing I must mention is that if Vietnam is to be a fruitful tourism country similar to its neighbour Thailand then airport staff for a staff must be more friendly and helpful. I noticed that the staff were no way as nice as the Thai Staff, however people are much nicer in the city than at the airport.
Looking forward to now spending time in Ho Chi Minh City and will soon post the return flight to Bangkok…
***** Air France Crew
**** Aircraft; Airbus A340-300
**** In Flight Entertainment/Magazine
***** Crew Announcements/Broadcast of Information
**** Food/Beverage Service
**** Bangkok Ground Crew
**** Bangkok Airport
** Ho Chi Minh City Airport
*** Bangkok Immigration
* Ho Chi Minh Immigration
**** Friendliness of Bangkok Ground Staff
* Friendliness of Ho Chi Minh City Ground Staff
Some Shots of Ho Chi Minh City:
Thank you for reading and comments are welcome… Merci...
Previous Trip Reports: EVA Air - London To Bangkok - 773ER (Pics/Vids) (by B742 Aug 12 2007 in Trip Reports)
American Airlines - Miami To New York JFK (Pics) (by B742 Jan 14 2007 in Trip Reports) American Airlines - Boston To Miami (Pics/Vids) (by B742 Jan 12 2007 in Trip Reports) American Airlines - London To Boston (Pics/Vids) (by B742 Jan 5 2007 in Trip Reports) Malaysia Airlines - KUL-KUA-KUL - 734 (Pics) (by B742 Aug 14 2006 in Trip Reports) Malaysia Airlines - LHR-KUL - B747-400 (Many Pics) (by B742 Aug 12 2006 in Trip Reports) RAF VC10 Tour - Many Pics And Info Included (by B742 Jun 24 2006 in Trip Reports) Air India ~ 744 ~ LHR-JFK-LHR +Spotting (Pics) (by B742 May 14 2005 in Trip Reports) LGW-SSH-LGW - BY - 763 + SSH & LGW Spotting (Pics) (by B742 Apr 26 2005 in Trip Reports)
Future Trip Reports:
Air France - Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok
EVA Air - Bangkok to London Heathrow