Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Flying with Vietnam Airlines Part 2 (SGN-TPE on board Airbus A330)

Welcome to my part 2 of Vietnam Airlines experience!



For my other trip reports:  Vietnam Airlines A321 TPE-SGN (J Class)
Vietnam Airlines A321 SIN-SGN-SIN (Y class)



Flight route: SGN-TPE

Miles: 1303 


I had about 2 and a half hours of transit time. When I arrived at the arrival immigration counter, I searched for the way to the departure area. Apparently, it was hidden and I had to open my eyes to find it. No huge signs like the one in Singapore or Hong Kong Airports. Once I found it, I passed through the security and within minutes I was at the air-side.

The Air Side of SGN Airport

















This was where my gate was, VN570 flight to Taipei.





Aeroflot's Boeing 767-300ER being prepared for departure to Moscow!


This is my ride: VN-A371 


                  



My ride to Taipei, VN-A372. 




Part 2: SGN-TPE 

Carrier: Vietnam Airlines
Flight number: VN570
Aircraft type: Airbus A330-200
Routing: SGN-TPE
Registration: VN-A372  (Ex-Swissair aircraft)
Line number: 294
Engines: 2 X PW4168A 
Delivered to VN: 19-11-2009
8th time on an A330-200, 1st time on this aircraft
Gate: A2 
Seat: 43K
Departure time: 1650
Push back: 1705
Rotation: 1705 
Flight duration: 3 hours 
FL: 410 

I was a bit worried about the aircraft type for this flight. I checked flightradar and apparently A321 was also used to on this flight on certain days. A sigh of relief when I saw an A330-200 turning into our gate, that would be our aircraft that would take us to Taipei. The registration of the aircraft is VN-A372, just one number short of getting the Skyteam livery, VN-A371. I wonder where that aircraft at that time, haven't seen it yet. 

Anyway, at the boarding gate area, I had a shock when I saw a few ladies using the guys toilet especially while I was doing my business, one of them entered and it was kind of embarrassing. I guess they didn't know that the ladies's toilet was just behind. I should have said something about it, but I was left dumbfounded at that time. 

 Looking at the crowd, I figured out that it would be a full flight and it was to be. I got into my row and discovered that someone was sitting on it. I thought that he belonged to a group of Taiwanese just in front of me, but I discovered that he was a Vietnamese that didn't speak either Mandarin or English. However, we got along quite well, he understood that about the seat and the reason why I wanted to seat there. When the sky turned dark, I offered to exchange seat with him. I knew it was pointless, but then it was just a return gesture. 

The interior of VN-A572






First generation PTV set. Only 2 channels: Moving map and a Vietnamese Channel. Reminds me of the days when the PTV was first introduced. So throughout the flight, this moving map was my source of entertainment. 









The flight departed on time, and we made our way on our flight route to TPE. The flight duration was 3 hours and it was smooth for most part of it. Earlier on the ground, the air conditioning didn't seem to be working and most of us were probably sweating, it was like on board an "oven"! It was only after take-off, the air con kicked in and it was freezing cold when the aircraft reached its assigned flight level.

From the cabin photos, you can see how old the cabin is, I wonder whether does the airline has plans to refurbished it, definitely could do with some updating if it wants to keep up with its competitors. The service was on this flight was pretty mediocre. Most of the crew didn't seem enthusiast about their jobs and from their expression on their faces, they should in my opinion just look for another job.

Anyway, the flight was full and there was a töur guide who were returning home to Taiwan. At the rear, there was this tour guide talking to the group who were scattered around the rear of the aircraft, no wonder the flight was full.

                              The contents inside the seat pocket.







                                In-flight meal: Chicken noodles 




That's me on this flight! 







Window-shot photos 
















At that time, when we started approach Taiwan, according to the pilots it was raining heavily at that time and when we started descending, I saw flashes of lighting way below us, so hopefully the flight would not be too bumpy. As we were making our way down, suddenly there was a strange noise, it sounded like ice cubes dropping on the roof top of the aircraft, I wondered what noise was that. However, the noise only lasted for 10 minutes and the rest of the flight was uneventful, we landed smoothly at TPE airport. It was my 3rd time there and once again arriving at such a late hour in Taipei Taoyuan Airport.


Cabin interior and PTV

The interior makes you feel like like in the 1990s when PTVs were first introduced. The seats were not very comfortable and the colours of them just made the cabin looks gloomy. I guess that's why the airline could offer some cheap airfares. Flying on these aircraft on long haul could be a torture for me especially with the tight seat-pitch and furthermore, there wasn't much interesting programs to watch. Fortunately, my flight was around 4 hours. 

In-flight service

Mediocre service. Just like my previous flight, this set of crew were emotionless. What were they doing on my flight if they didn't want to work? 



In-flight meal

The chicken noodles was dry but it was ok.. The sauce that it came with it didn't help much. As for the appetiser, it is the same as my previous flight, it tasted ok. Basically the meal was average, nothing to shout about. 

Conclusion

I would definitely vote this as the worst flight for this year; emotionless cabin crew, mediocre in-flight entertainment system that comes with an old cabin interior. Maybe for the price I paid, I should not complain but still, one should expect some basic service if not the best. Disappointing is the word to sum up my flight experience on this flight.


My rating

Website: 2/10
On-ground service: 6/10
In-flight service: 3/10
Seat comfort: 5/10
Cabin ambience: 7/10
Cleanliness: 9/10
Aircraft: 9/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Meal: 6/10
PTV: 3/10

Overall rating: 59/100


Cheers,
Charles Ryan Teo

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