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ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Wed May 07, 2014 4:16 pm

Over the Labour Day holidays, me and my partner had wanted to make a short trip to somewhere near. Searching through the internet early in the year, I chanced upon Vietnam Airlines offering very reasonable fares to a less visited destination in Vietnam, Da Nang. Da Nang is reputed to have very beautiful beaches and is also near to the UNESCO historical town of Hoi An, Without much hesitation, the flights to Da Nang were booked. However in order to enjoy the cheap fares, our outbound would be transiting through Hanoi while inbound would be via Ho Chi Minh. We also signed up for Optiontown upgrades for all sectors, and even if all upgrades had gone through, our tickets would still be cheaper than a direct flight on Silkair economy!

Fast forward to 3 days before departure, our Optiontown upgrades on the SIN-HAN sector were approved. A day later, the HAN-DAD sector upgrades were approved as well!

On the day of departure, we arrived at Changi Terminal 3 for check-in. As we had Optiontown upgrades, we could not check-in online. At the check-in desks, the agent took a while to process our upgrades (apparently she was not too familiar with the procedures) and the Optiontown upgrades proved to be a bit of hassle as our economy seats and boarding passes had to be issued first, followed by cancellation of our seats (and tearing up of economy boarding passes) and performing an upgrade to Business, reissuing new Business boarding passes again with our upgraded seats. Luckily there were no queues at check-in and thus we did not hold up other passengers.

Business Class boarding pass issued. My first Business Class flight for the year! However, lounge access was not included with the Optiontown upgrade (that would be another fee for lounge access) but we did not intend to use the lounge in Changi anyway.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2913/13943415148_2610816bab_b.jpg


After immigration, we did some window shopping at the duty-free before heading to the gate at B9. Boarding has already commenced when we reached the gate.

01 May 2014
Vietnam Airlines
VN 660
Singapore (SIN) - Hanoi (HAN)
A321
VN-A351
Business Class


Unfortunately, one of VN's oldest A321 aircraft would be operating the flight today. This means we would be getting the oldest Business Class seats and almost non-existent inflight entertainment. Darn...

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/14126714001_7134ccf25e_b.jpg




Entering the aircraft, we were welcomed and proceeded to our seats in Business. Here is the old Business Class cabin on the aircraft. No leg rests nor personal IFE on these seats.




We were initially seated in 2D/G, but shifted behind to 3D/G after everyone has boarded. Load for Business Class was only 3/16. No wonder our Optiontown upgrades were approved so early! Legroom was good and the seat was actually rather comfortable due to the thick cushioning used.




For information.




Magazines in the seat pocket. Interestingly, VN does not offer inflight duty-free sales.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2911/14150101863_5cc911fcb1_b.jpg


The purser and a steward would be serving us in Business Class today, with 3 other crew members in Economy. Shortly after we got seated, the steward offered cold towels (much appreciated in the afternoon heat) and a choice of juices or champagne. I just had an apple juice for my welcome drink.




Newspapers were also offered to us, followed by menus, pillows, blankets and headsets. Orders were also taken for our choice of meals after takeoff. due to the very low loads, service was rather personalized.

Business Class pillow.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5350/13943358879_9545e0256a_b.jpg


Blanket




Headsets




At the gate with the huge whale beside. Flight time was announced to be approximately 3hrs.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5537/14106848446_c656f43bd4_b.jpg


Doors were closed and armed on schedule and a really antiqued safety video was played. We started our taxi to Rwy20C for departure. Again, the usual Qantases and Jetstars can be seen during taxi, with the only interesting aircraft spotted being a Delta B772LR.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5453/14106848276_0554173021_b.jpg

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https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7382/14126702031_f4660a930b_b.jpg


Takeoff from Rwy20C. First stop, Hanoi. It was so quiet seated so far in front haha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmNrAnFTEgc


Climbing to cruising altitude.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7386/14130036715_6821755007_b.jpg


The menu for the flight today.




Refreshment would be served on this flight to Hanoi. However frankly speaking, portions seemed to be no different from lunch/dinner. 3 choices were offered.




The meal choices on the incoming Hanoi-Singapore sector.




Beverage list. Not too extensive, but VN do offer a few cocktails.




TV screens dropped down and short documentaries and comedies were played. However, the headphones were kinda useless as there were more static then sound coming out from it. No other radio channels were available as well. Guess this is due to the old aircraft? In the end, we did not bother with the IFE at all.




Shortly after takeoff, linens were laid out by the crew in preparation for meal service. The linens with the lotus design looks really nice!

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2929/14127052662_ac5fd61343_b.jpg
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Flightsimboy
Posts: 1775
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Wed May 07, 2014 11:27 pm

Looks like only half of your report got posted.
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Thu May 08, 2014 4:39 pm

Our meals were served on trays, first with the appetizer plate alone with salad and fruits. It appears that the meals were catered from Hanoi. An assortment of breads were also offered, where I chose a cheese bread and garlic bread. The steward gave us 3 pieces of garlic bread each, and offered top ups during the meal!

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2905/14150100283_7bcf60da9e_b.jpg


Starter: Grilled prawns with citrus mayo dressing, hot smoked creole salmon. The starter was delicious! Prawns and salmon were fresh, and the melons added a nice twist.




Cheese bread and garlic bread. We were given unlimited servings of garlic bread by the crew till we had to refuse them.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7415/14126709491_88da6e2ff5_b.jpg


Salad and fresh fruits. Would have preferred something more sinful for dessert though.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2905/13943400240_8cc9918c4e_b.jpg


I had a mimosa cocktail to go with my meal.




When the steward saw that we were done with our starters, he immediately came over and cleared and starter plates, and served our main courses piping hot from the galley.

My main of Pork ragout, mash potatoes with garlic. It was ok but nothing too spectacular.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2914/14127050582_5e62f7f9e5_b.jpg


VN branded cutleries.




My partner had the Fried Chee Cheong Fun roll, prawns and scallops. The chee cheong fun was cooked Vietnamese style and has an "acquired" taste, very much different from the version found in Singapore.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2919/14130034415_d9ddee3c58_b.jpg


Throughout the meal, service by the crew was good to excellent, especially the steward who mainly attended to us 3 pax in the J cabin. The purser had went down to the back to assist in economy halfway through the meal service. True, the VN crew might not have the finesse of crew from premium airlines such as SQ and CX, but they did showed the effort in serving us.

After we were done with our meals, hot towels were offered (and they did smelt just like SQ towels) for us to freshen up. The steward also came up to us and made small talk, which resulted in a short conversation on our intended destination, accommodation, VN crew work patterns, favourite (and least favourite) destinations etc. Rather interesting to know the difference in crew rotations for VN vs our local airlines (it was tiring just listening to their schedule), and I must say our local crew had it so much better! The short conversation was very much appreciated especially as the steward was not the most comfortable conversing in English.

After our conversation, our steward asked if we wanted anything else, and feeling curious, I requested for the cocktail Tropical Dawn on the menu. As described by our steward, it is a mixture of Campari, vodka and orange juice, and was presented beautifully with fruit garnishing and swizzle stick.




Since there were nothing else to keep us entertained, we decided to nap on our rather comfortable seats. However the recline of the seats were not overly generous.




The very old school IFE controls, but barely working.




Visit to the lavatory. It was clean but with the bare minimal amenities.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2923/13943406358_ae56698658_b.jpg


After 2 short features were shown on the screen, it was changed to the flight map. However, it froze and for the rest of the flight, this was shown on the dropdown screens...

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7376/14130311714_ed904d3436_b.jpg


The only other form of entertainment.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2936/13943352679_ab2ae95cdb_b.jpg


Just before our descent into Hanoi, water was served to us again as well as another round of hot towels.

Approaching Hanoi. It was rather hazy during approach.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7454/13943352767_06fc9b5de1_b.jpg


http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/uX2M-QW4shk/default.jpg


On finals into Hanoi Noi Bai Intl Airport.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7310/14106846326_d38ac66fa8_b.jpg


Landing on Rwy11R ahead of schedule.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdJ7XvRAuYo


We taxied to and parked at the remote stand.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5546/14130027545_fca7591535_b.jpg


After we were parked and seatbelt signs were switched off, the steward immediately came down to the rear of the Business cabin to stop Economy passengers from disembarking ahead of us as Business Class passengers have our own shuttle van transfer to the terminal.

View of our seats for the flight.




Bade farewell to the crew and thanked them for the great service. Disembarked via stairs to our awaiting van, ahead of the economy pax.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/13943355979_c152585a97_b.jpg


And then it was a short ride to the arrival hall. Glimpse of our VN-A351 (not final glimpse though).




VN B772ER parked at the terminal building.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7356/13943405318_6383da3b9f_b.jpg


It was a rather pleasant first experience on Vietnam Airlines Business Class. Service was pleasant and catering was acceptable. However the only let down was the aged plane and old (but still comfortable) seats used for the flight, and almost non-existant IFE. VN still has a long way to catch up with premier airlines, but I guess their Business Class offerings are still comparable to regional airlines such as Silkair. And with the price paid for it, it was definitely worth every penny!

Immigration and baggage claim took a while as another flight had just landed before us, but it was not too bad. We had a slightly more than 2hr transit in Hanoi before our next sector to Danang and thus grabbed a light dinner at the airport terminal. Out first foray into Vietnamese food on this trip.

Noodles with pork sausages.




Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette)

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N747PE
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:47 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Thu May 08, 2014 6:54 pm

Wonderful trip report. Thanks for adding the rest. Looks like you had a great trip  
 
debonair
Posts: 3763
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Thu May 08, 2014 10:14 pm

Nice TR, looking forward to the next parts...

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
Vietnam Airlines A321 VN-A351
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, one of VN's oldest A321 aircraft would be operating the flight today.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
However the only let down was the aged plane and old (but still comfortable) seats used for the flight

The a/c was build 01/2007 - so it is only 7.3 years old! It might show some wears and tears, but is definitely NOT an aged or old plane - in my opinion!

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
However the only let down was the aged plane and old (but still comfortable) seats used for the flight, and almost non-existant IFE. VN still has a long way to catch up with premier airlines, but I guess their Business Class offerings are still comparable to regional airlines such as Silkair.

I am shocked! Lufthansa's A321 are equipped without any IFE, are much older (oldest in the fleet turned now 20!) and for the same length of flight you will get only an empty seat next to your standard pitched economy seat...
 
N312RC
Posts: 2608
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2000 10:58 am

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Thu May 08, 2014 11:57 pm

That's not a DL 77L, thats an A330-200.
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Fri May 09, 2014 1:29 am

Quoting debonair (Reply 4):

By asian premier airlines standards, VN still has a long way to go to reach similar heights of SQ/CX/MH etc. But their current product offerings can be justified by the fares they charge, which could be cheaper in Business than the asian premium airlines in economy.
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ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Fri May 09, 2014 3:41 pm

For the next sector to Danang, we had to re-check in our bags and obtain boarding passes. A new section of the Hanoi airport terminal has just been opened and offers brand new check-in counters for some of the domestic flights. The new area is so much brighter than the rest of the 80s looking terminal. However, our gate would still be at the old section of the terminal as the new gates are currently still under construction, even though a new international terminal is also being built beside the current terminal.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2901/13958284550_f928926f45_b.jpg


Through Optiontown, we were again upgraded for this sector. In fact, we were the only 2 revenue passengers in Business Class, but there were also 3 other paxing pilots seated in Business tonight as well. Shucks, missed out on a private J cabin.




Unlike in Changi, our bags were Business Class tagged, ensuring our bags were the first ones out at baggage claim in Danang.




Through security with no hassles and into the domestic departure waiting lounge. The waiting lounge is the same with minimal shops and eateries as when I visited almost 5 years ago and is definitely overdued for an upgrade.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7355/14142023412_3fc951b486_b.jpg


Our boarding gate, with no aircraft at the airbridge. It turned out that we would have to board via buses as the plane was parked at the remote stand.

01 May 2014
Vietnam Airlines
VN 179
Hanoi (HAN) - Da Nang (DAD)
A321
VN-A351
Business Class


Soon boarding started and Business Class / elite pax had our own minivans to ferry us to the plane. As luck would have it, our flight turned out to be operated by the exact same plane that flew us to Hanoi just a couple of hours ago!

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2897/14145099284_ed883808f7_b.jpg


Up the stairs and to our seats at 3A/C. Business Class was staffed with a surly looking with no smiles female purser and a very pleasant and friendly younger stewardess. Luckily the purser stayed in the galley for most of the flight, leaving the young stewardess to serve us. After we were seated, the stewardess offered us cold towels followed by a choice of drinks (no champagnes offered on domestic sectors). We both opted for orange juice. A selection of newspapers were also offered which we declined.




As the load on this flight was rather light, doors were closed early and safety video was played. Flying time would only be a short 1hr.




Soon we taxied to the runway and made a very powerful takeoff to Danang.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrmNsY_pkK4


Shortly after seatbelt signs were switched off, the stewardess approached us and asked if we would like to join in the hot refreshment as well as our drinks choices. For this short flight, VN offers a rather filling chicken and mushroom pie and a dessert. The pie was served piping hot and was tasty! Dessert of a custard pastry was okay. We also had Pepsis to go along with the meal. It was a rather substantial snack for the short flight.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7396/14164979763_3122c78b71_b.jpg




Hot drinks were also offered and I went for a tea. We simply loved the lotus-designed teacups!




Finished everything. It was a slightly bumpy ride for the second half of the flight due to not-so-good weather.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2916/13958247539_f48c4dd49b_b.jpg


Service by the stewardess serving us was very good, but the same could not be said of the female purser, who remained in the galley area almost the entire flight, only appearing to check the cabin prior to takeoff and landing. Well, she did gave us a very "fake" smile when she passed by, so I guess she "tried"....


View of the cabin. No IFE on this sector and the flightmap which was supposed to be shown on the overhead screens was still stuck at the frozen image as on my previous sector. In the end, the purser just gave up on the flightmap and retracted the screens.




Offered another hot towel after the meal service and soon, we were starting our descent into Da Nang.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/14142008872_6ec452dede_b.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2925/14164970543_d781dfa095_b.jpg


Landing in Da Nang Airport Rwy35R 10min ahead of schedule.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaj_j2jeNfU


Disembarkation was through an airbridge this time round, and again economy pax was held back for us to exit the aircraft first. The stewardess thanked us for flying VN, but the purser just looked uninterested while standing at the aircraft door.

Down through the very new terminal to the baggage claim, and our bags were the first to appear after only a very short wait. Efficient!




Overall, apart from the sulky purser, it was again a rather nice flight on VN with great service by the stewardess serving us. I was quite impressed with the catering in Business Class for such short sector as economy passengers were only given a bottle of water each. And with VN pricing Business at only a small premium over Economy on this sector, it was definitely a great deal!


A hotel representative picked us up from the airport to transfer us to our hotel, as airport transfers were included in our room rate. We decided to stay at a newly opened 4-star hotel, Holiday Beach Hotel Danang, as it offers rather reasonable rates compared to the other luxurious beachside resorts.




Our room, which was not too big but was very clean, functional and comfortable.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2924/14144916555_ca6b66584e_b.jpg




Hotel pool. There is another rooftop pool which I did not take photos off.

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Each morning, we would have buffet breakfast by the pool.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7460/14145101184_aa415c5fbf_b.jpg



[Edited 2014-05-09 09:33:42]
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ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Fri May 09, 2014 4:19 pm

As we had reached Danang rather late on the first day, there was nothing much we can do other than resting at our hotel. On the second day, we made a day trip to the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An, which is a 30min taxi ride from the hotel.

We first had a great lunch at a restaurant in Hoi An.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7433/13958277188_4e6431bde0_b.jpg


Followed by exploring the old town. I did find the place a bit touristy, with the old buildings converted into souvenir shops and cafes.

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The famous Japanese bridge.




More scenes of Hoi An.




At dusk, the many lanterns are lighted.




Dinner

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And the best Banh Mi ever!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-9/10172803_10152459624824017_648184507172586516_n.jpg

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ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Sat May 10, 2014 9:45 am

Day 3, we explored Da Nang.

Panaroma views of My Khe beach and Da Nang from the hotel rooftop pool.

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This is definitely one of the best beaches I have ever been to!

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In Han Market.




Along the Han River promenade.

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Brand new office building and mall under construction. Futuristic design amongst the older low-rise buildings.




Lunch.

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Da Nang by night.

https://scontent-a-sin.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1.0-9/1557718_10152461333414017_8616241285197446574_n.jpg


Dragon bridge lighted up!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t1.0-9/10171116_10152461333504017_7793879470387192334_n.jpg
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ba319-131
Posts: 8310
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Sun May 11, 2014 6:44 am

Nice read and pictures, thanks for sharing, brings back fond memories of a trip I took to Vietnam a few years back.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
On the day of departure, we arrived at Changi Terminal 3 for check-in. As we had Optiontown upgrades, we could not check-in online. At the check-in desks, the agent took a while to process our upgrades (apparently she was not too familiar with the procedures) and the Optiontown upgrades proved to be a bit of hassle as our economy seats and boarding passes had to be issued first, followed by cancellation of our seats (and tearing up of economy boarding passes) and performing an upgrade to Business, reissuing new Business boarding passes again with our upgraded seats.

- What a procedure!

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
lounge access was not included with the Optiontown upgrade

- Interesting to know.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, one of VN's oldest A321 aircraft would be operating the flight today. This means we would be getting the oldest Business Class seats and almost non-existent inflight entertainment. Darn...

- It's a short flight, IFE is really not needed, well for me anyway.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
Legroom was good and the seat was actually rather comfortable due to the thick cushioning used.

- Oh yes, those VN A321's are pretty comfortable.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
the only interesting aircraft spotted being a Delta B772LR.

- It's a Airbus A330-200.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
VN branded cutleries.

- A few fell in my bag from my 4 VN flights.....

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
VN crew might not have the finesse of crew from premium airlines such as SQ and CX, but they did showed the effort in serving us

- They bare no CX/SQ but they are pretty good, certainly up there with MH for example, and I rate MH.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
the only let down was the aged plane and old (but still comfortable) seats used for the flight, and almost non-existant IFE. VN still has a long way to catch up with premier airlines, but I guess their Business Class offerings are still comparable to regional airlines such as Silkair. And with the price paid for it, it was definitely worth every penny!

- The plane is only 7.3 years old, a similar age to SQ's 1st A380, so not old at all. I think your comment about the price is bang on, they provide decent service at a reasonable rate, who needs excessive IFE when almost everybody has access to a smart phone or tablet of some type, if not, read a book!

Cheers

Mark
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airbuseric
Posts: 3565
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RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Sun May 11, 2014 9:57 am

Hi,

lovely report on VN, congrats on the front seating and especially on your first sector it looked like a nice flight with a great catering as well. Shame about the old seats, but it's not much different from many other operators with narrowbodies. Maybe you're more used to widebodies in SE Asia, but this 2-2 layout in C is not used anymore in Europe (generally spoken). Did you get the mileage on FlyingBlue as for a business class segment? Or just the regular Economy mileage?

They have 3 A321's of nearly 10 years old, but you're right, many newer examples in the fleet then the one you got on!

Nice pics from your holiday destination at Da Nang. Great beach and food for sure!

Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Sun May 11, 2014 4:57 pm

A short getaway and time to fly home. As essential all flights to SIN would require a transfer at either HAN or SGN, we would have to depart rather early out of Danang. Our flight out to SGN was scheduled at a more reasonable 0945am, not at the ungodly hours as transiting via HAN requires early departure at 6am!

Danang's new terminal as we were approaching the airport. A rather generic design similar to many other newer airport terminals in the region.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5478/14160194215_a8f10a1006_b.jpg




The rather airy and spacious check-in hall. It was rather crowded due to the many travellers returning home after a long weekend break.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5105/14180265103_3871fca6c0_b.jpg


VN common check-in desks.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2906/14157401952_69f6e1e643_b.jpg


Unfortunately due to the full flight on this sector to SGN, we were not upgraded by Optiontown to J class. No problem, as it was a very short flight anyway. Our bags were also only checked to SGN, and we would need to re-check them to SIN at SGN.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5544/13973519779_84449cbbd4_b.jpg


Through security and into the departure hall, which is eras ahead of the departure hall of Hanoi airport! There were lots of shops, eateries and facilities. Probably even a nicer terminal than Ho Chi Minh as well!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7344/14180264463_50dfcab586_b.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7394/13973542250_68130a5ca0_b.jpg


Departures for the day.




VN A321 departing for Hanoi soon, with a company ATR72 just arriving from Vinh.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7429/13973532347_1176023983_b.jpg


2 Vietjet Air A320s, including a sharklet A320, at the gates.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7386/14180263773_56a7e6c8c5_b.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2911/14180263763_dee7f03f59_b.jpg


However, our flight to Ho Chi Minh would be departing from a bus gate. Funny that the low-cost carrier got two aerobridges but the "premium" carrier got assigned the remote stand.

04 May 2014
Vietnam Airlines
VN 107
Da Nang (DAD) - Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
A321
VN-A602
Economy Class


We were ferried by bus to the remote stand. This morning, a rather new aircraft would by flying us to SGN.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2932/14180262323_779eee30ec_b.jpg


Boarding from the front door.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7375/14137010616_a423142688_b.jpg




The exterior of this aircraft is so spotlessly clean!




VN's newer A321s are fitted with the new generation recliner seats in Business Class, along with personal IFE. Unfortunately, I would not have the chance to try out the new seats. I believe Silkair also uses the same seats in Business Class for their new B738s.




However, we were back in Economy for this leg. Economy seats on the newer aircrafts seemed similar as on the older planes, with no personal IFE as well. The flight seemed to be totally full!

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5509/13973539130_70aa660533_b.jpg


Seat pitch was not bad though.




IFE controls, though it was not used on this short flight.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7379/14137007936_75112d7f1d_b.jpg


View out the window.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7346/14160189395_97b5b26a73_b.jpg


Soon after all passengers had boarded, crew came down to distribute refreshing tissues.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2910/14160188995_5e09c5ca44_b.jpg


Doors closed and safety video was shown. Flying time was announced to be 1hr.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YGy_FUdhMk


Started the short taxi to the runway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqxoQPfs6u0


Where we held at the entrance to Rwy17L, waiting for another aircraft to land from the opposite direction on Rwy35R. Apparently takeoffs and landing were performed using different runway headings.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7395/14160286614_c48abca794_b.jpg


Takeoff from Rwy17L.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_5NG6Cpr68

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7360/14156840271_5344311483_b.jpg
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Mon May 12, 2014 5:07 pm

Climbing out of Da Nang, with some great scenery.




Video of the climb to cruise altitude. We climbed to a cruising altitude of 32000ft.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVcKf6MwEbk


Inflight entertainment consisted of the flightmap. At least it was working properly on this flight.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7341/14156834621_2d9152d8ba_b.jpg


Cabin service started and was very efficient.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7327/13973537960_761b1a5fa0_b.jpg


This was because all we got was a bottle of drinking water and nothing else.




With no other cabin service, I just spent the time admiring the landscape we flew over.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7331/14157389272_a365fc050f_b.jpg

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5568/13973546528_2a27815150_b.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7351/14137006546_f94b9d4651_b.jpg


Bored, and started taking photos of the cabin. We were halfway there by now. Cabin crew had all disappeared into the galley since there were no more service to deliver in economy.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2935/14160185915_27d33f2dcd_b.jpg




Seat recline was quite decent.




Soon, the pilot came on to announce our descent and gave some information of our arrival as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAT28pqPpKI


Starting our decent into Ho Chi Minh City.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2926/13973525977_eef1a2a47a_b.jpg


Very densely populated outskirts of HCMC.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2912/14180253243_c279a6709c_b.jpg


Over some fields.




Flying pass central Ho Chi Minh during the descent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54RGrYGXpBo

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5074/14160278954_f3b3bd3219_b.jpg


Turning for finals.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2919/13973526057_d20ea65ae4_b.jpg


Flaps and gears down, we are landing soon!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7399/14137005526_6c9795a08c_b.jpg


Landing over the urban landscape onto Rwy07R and taxi to our gate at the International terminal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFfxDBloQmg


Parked beside a CX B773ER at the International Terminal. This plane would be used on an international flight to Yangon for its next rotation.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7304/14137004826_c0171122b4_b.jpg


My seat for the past hour.




Disembarking.




We had to disembark via stairs to awaiting buses to ferry us to the domestic terminal.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7300/13973509909_1ca11c5cce_b.jpg


SQ B772 beside us as well.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5072/13973542348_b1315aed96_b.jpg


Short bus ride to the domestic terminal and we were disembarked directly at the baggage belts. Had only a short wait for our bags, after which we proceeded to the International terminal, which was about a 10min walk away to check in for the final sector.




This short flight in economy is basically efficient and no-frills. Flight was punctual and service minimal. Guess this is the norm on VN domestic flights of an hour or less.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
jeffrysky
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:56 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Tue May 13, 2014 1:32 pm

Great pictures! Is Optiontown reliable ? Always heard such bad stuff about it   The food looks pretty good for the short sector

I think VN offers one of the cheapest J class tickets to NRT/KIX/ICN .. besides MH J of course 
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Thu May 15, 2014 4:47 pm

And on to the final sector of the trip. We had a slightly more than 3hr layover in SGN awaiting our connecting flight. For this sector, we were upgraded by Optiontown again, which was surprising as Business Class ended up totally full! Not bad, 3 out of 4 sectors upgraded. And the refund for the un-upgraded sector was refunded within a week.

Checked in at the VN desks.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2896/14191768615_a57cfb351a_b.jpg


Boarding pass for the sector.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7440/14211895413_e8e47614ec_b.jpg


Cleared immigration and security after a slight wait and caught an interesting aircraft. EVA Air Sanrio Family B773ER!

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2913/14168608986_03d647ae06_b.jpg


The A321 which flew us in from Da Nang is now pushing back for Yangon.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5553/14005093719_6ab1149d9b_b.jpg


Courtesy of our Priority Pass and ANZ credit card, we spent most of our time in the Apricot Lounge. The lounge is rather small, but offers most of the basic amenities. Beats hanging at the duty-free area. There is a small but sufficient selection of food and drinks.

Instant noodles and pho.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2918/14168617126_9ec602eb19_b.jpg


Cooked dishes.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5037/14005093509_95ef180f27_b.jpg


Sandwiches, snacks and fruits.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2940/14191712354_6f8eb5aa3c_b.jpg


Lunch time!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7326/14211894403_6e362cfb9d_b.jpg


The banh mi and rice noodles were rather tasty!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7449/14005154707_13e510f45e_b.jpg


Some tea to end.




The lounge had an unobstructed view of the tarmac. Here, a Qatar A332 has just arrived from Doha, and would be continuing to Phnom Penh.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7428/14191712124_2e55571248_b.jpg


The plane scheduled to fly us back home had just arrived from Fukuoka. "Lucky" me would be flying again on one of VN's older A321s again, with the old old Business Class seats. Well, at least I am not doing a 5hr flight in these seats unlike the incoming pax from Fukuoka.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7456/14005107208_a06e2f5b46_b.jpg


The Lion, also bound for Singapore and continuing to Jakarta.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7363/14168614946_73b0f542c5_b.jpg


FIDS. Didn't knew that Emirates also codeshared on Jetstar!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/14189210672_76c5af68e2_b.jpg



04 May 2014
Vietnam Airlines
VN 655
Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) - Singapore (SIN)
A321
VN-A353
Business Class


About half hour before departure, we proceeded to the gate for our flight.




Our plane today had a weird looking nose....

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7446/14189211062_0c868c449e_b.jpg


Only about 15min before STD did boarding started. We boarded through the priority queue and settled into our seats at 2A/C. Business cabin ended up totally full and I guessed economy was full as well.

View from my seat. Tiger beside, also bound for Singapore shortly after us.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2904/14005105958_6cc9e564ca_b.jpg


Due to the constant streaming of passengers boarding, the crew could not perform any service till most pax had boarded. A female chief purser and a male purser would be attending to us in Business on this short flight. When the boarding pax slowed to a trickle, cold towels were handed out, which was perfect for the warm weather. Newspapers were also offered, even though they were also available at the door during boarding.




Followed by a choice of welcome drinks, where I chose a champagne. Not sure of the brand, but it was of decent quality.




Doors were closed 5min late and we started our pushback. Flying time was announced as 1h35m. A PR A321 with sharklets had arrived beside us.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2919/14188471471_b6b20fb5f5_b.jpg


Safety video played with the crew preparing the cabin for departure.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7397/14189209722_cfb9b2581e_b.jpg


We only had a very short taxi to the runway and even held on the runway as the safety video was still playing.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7459/14005109420_912b4f5871_b.jpg


Started our takeoff shortly after the safety video ended. Our crew even rushed to collect some drink glasses from the couple seated across just before the engines roared.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTi9IysLxec


Climbing out of Ho Chi Minh City.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2896/14189209692_a621da8003_b.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7356/14005112960_edd95a101c_b.jpg


Seatbelt signs switched off and service announcement was made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPbEPCfYwI0
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User avatar
allrite
Posts: 2606
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Fri May 16, 2014 10:17 am

I am hungry now (well, actually not right now as I just had dinner, but I was hungry when I first read the report prior to dinner). The food looks so good, as does the VN catering. I've only flown with them once, SGN-HUI, in economy and all we got was a cup of water. But whilst VN may be a bit bare bones in facilities they do seem to convey something more.
I like artificial banana essence!
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Fri May 16, 2014 4:01 pm

Inflight entertainment was restricted to only the flight map. At least it was working properly on this flight.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7413/14211887423_2d468c04b9_b.jpg


The very friendly and nice chief purser came down the aisle to take orders for our meals. On this sector, no menus were distributed and we were verbally given our meal choices. Today, the choices were Chicken with noodles, Pork with rice and Fish with potatoes. We chose the chicken and pork mains and the chief purser would paste the respective colour stickers corresponding to each meal choice on our seats.




After meal orders were taken, she began to lay our tray tables with napkins. Instead of just handing out the table napkins, she insisted to lay the table napkins for us.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5549/14168611616_3cd40dbe1c_b.jpg


The male purser then rolled out the meal cart to distribute our meal trays and offered beverages as well.




Meal tray, which consisted of a starter salad with dressing, main course, bread and fruits. For the breads, I chose a sesame roll and garlic bread among the 4 to 5 choices. Also had orange juice and white wine to go with the meal.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2935/14211889603_6778b0f523_b.jpg


Just a simple salad to start and a selection of fresh fruits as dessert.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7362/14005087519_7a411f80cc_b.jpg


My choice of Chicken with noodles. The taste of spices used for the chicken was a bit overpowering of me, but it was a decent dishl.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7445/14189208332_3d44359ea4_b.jpg


My partner's choice was Braised pork with rice. This dish was absolutely delicious!




White wine and orange juice.




Ended with a Vietnamese green tea. I loved the green tea! It was very fragrant!




We were more than halfway there after the meal service ended. The chief purser then went down to assist in Economy cabin, where the 3 crew in economy seemed to be overwhelmed with the full load.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5115/14005084669_27b86bbc6e_b.jpg


Visited the lavatory, which was decorated with stalks of flowers.




My seat at 2A.




Hot towels were given out after all meal trays were cleared. Call me slow but I just realised that the towels had the VN insignia!




Cruising.




We started our descent slightly less than half hour away from Singapore.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2928/14005148937_a2c6512742_b.jpg


An arrival video of Singapore was played, which came dubbed in Mandarin and Vietnamese, with both languages broadcasted concurrently and overlapping each other throughout the cabin. Weird and kind of annoying....




Descending over Malaysia.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2917/14211888463_8d8eb85bf5_b.jpg


Overflying Bintan and Batam Islands.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7407/14005101858_fc94a19938_b.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2899/14005108780_0d46ae2553_b.jpg


Islands off Batam while turning back towards Singapore.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2904/14005100748_a3acbb7a3d_b.jpg


The famous Singapore city skyline seen during the Rwys 02 approaches.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2933/14005100428_8af903a222_b.jpg


And landing on Rwy02L, 5 minutes behind schedule.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7406/14168608886_7b24d25b9c_b.jpg


Short taxi to Terminal 3 and parked at gate B7.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7406/14168608886_7b24d25b9c_b.jpg


Last view of our seats during disembarkation.




It was another pleasant flight on Vietnam Airlines Business Class. Service was not too personal due to the full flight but still good and efficient, especially the female chief purser who delivered great service with smiles despite the heavy workload. Thanks to Optiontown, it was great to be able to fly VN Business Class at very affordable fares.

Thanks for reading this very long report. Your comments are most welcomed!
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ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Sat May 17, 2014 3:10 pm

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 11):
Did you get the mileage on FlyingBlue as for a business class segment? Or just the regular Economy mileage?

Surprisingly I had J class miles credited into my Flying Blue account. Guess it was a fluke?
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
nelsony
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:21 am

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Tue May 20, 2014 4:47 pm

Hay ycp81,

wow that was an amazing trip report! just amazing. You had the perfect mix of words and pictures, it was really enjoyable to read it!

And I love the food pictures! since I love to eat  

I hope next time you have better luck with getting on the newer aircraft   and i look forward to reading that report.
 
Luv767s
Posts: 261
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 7:26 am

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Mon May 26, 2014 6:23 pm

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
ounge access was not included with the Optiontown upgrade (that would be another fee for lounge access) but we did not intend to use the lounge in Changi anyway.

I have a VN flight coming up and did the optiontown upgrade thing. The rules in the email I received said that I would be entitled to lounge access in the event of an upgrade. I wonder what the deal is. This was from my email message.

a) You will be served all onboard services of the corresponding new class of service and priority boarding only, other services as per original class of service, including mile earning of the frequent flyer program;
b) all passengers in a booking reference number (PNR) shall be upgraded together
c) you will be entitled to access Business Lounges (if applicable at the airport);and
d) you will be informed about the upgrade on the email address provided by you.
-"...never have I been a blue calm sea, I have always been a storm"
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Flying The Golden Lotus In Business To Danang

Thu May 29, 2014 1:09 pm

Quoting Luv767s (Reply 20):
I have a VN flight coming up and did the optiontown upgrade thing. The rules in the email I received said that I would be entitled to lounge access in the event of an upgrade. I wonder what the deal is. This was from my email message.

a) You will be served all onboard services of the corresponding new class of service and priority boarding only, other services as per original class of service, including mile earning of the frequent flyer program;
b) all passengers in a booking reference number (PNR) shall be upgraded together
c) you will be entitled to access Business Lounges (if applicable at the airport);and
d) you will be informed about the upgrade on the email address provided by you.

From what I do know, VN does not offer lounge access with Optiontown upgrades. Lounge access would have to be paid separately. The lounge access eligibility differs between airlines. You can check VN's website for more information.
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