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Thursday 18 September 2014

My September 2014 Trip Starting Off With VietjetAir

Welcome to my Trip Report on Vietjetair!

How did my trip come together?

The idea of going to Taipei to chill out was the first thing that came into my mind. The question after that was how to get there!? Normal travellers would either fly direct or at the most, a stop-over.  I took a look at the number of possibilities and found one that suits me best.

Why SGN? You must be wondering. I can not only fly VietjetAir - a new airline for me, also be able to fly on Turkish Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER to Bangkok. (Killing 2 birds with one stone!) From Bangkok, I would do a return trip on Kenya Airways' 787 Dreamliner to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong to Taipei would be on EVA Air's A321 and China Airlines' Boeing 747-400 on the return. From there, I would fly on Ethiopian Airlines to KUL then catch Jetstar back to Singapore. That's how I like to travel! 

Later on, I added a couple of domestic flights in Taiwan; flying the MD-80 with Far Eastern Transport (FAT) and the ERJ190 with a new airline for my list - Mandarin Airlines.

I decided to fly with FAT to MZG-Makung, arriving there in the morning and departing there at night and on Mandarin Airlines to TTT- Taitung and back, also a day's trip. I will do trip reports on them, will post them up here once they are done. 

Trip reports of others

Introduction to my Vietjetair's experience:

When this airline announced it was starting flights to Singapore, I knew I had to give it a try. As some of you know that I am a big fan of trying out new airlines. Flying with this airline was very much possible as the timing fitted me perfectly. So once I confirmed the dates and itinerary, tickets were booked and just had to wait for the day to arrive. I booked the air tickets via airlines' website usually. 

There was a promotion on Facebook which 1000 participants would 'like' the page and submit personal details and an email would be sent to you to notify if you are one of the lucky 1000 participants to win "free" flights, taxes were excluded. Within a few days, I got the reward - a code sent to you to key in when booking. 

I decided to do one-way SIN-SGN instead of return as I wanted to come back by a different route. 

Website is basic but I was able to book it without difficulty. I paid around S$90 for the one-way ticket which included the "premium" seat, in-flight meal and the 25KG luggage. It was strange that the 25KG luggage fee cost lesser than the 20KG by $5, so of course I took advantage of the error. 

On the day itself

I was glad that the flight was in the afternoon, 1245. No need to wake up that early to get to the airport. Even though there is a website check-in option, it wasn't of any use as I had to join the long queue at the airport! What's the point? 

Thanks to flightradar24, I knew which aircraft I was flying on, way before the arrival. 

Unfortunately, I got myself the oldest A320 in the airline's fleet. However, things even out later on; so thinking back now, I have no complaint at all. 

Lion airlines were heading to SGN as well and no thanks, I would rather be on Vietjetair's flight. 

The queue was short so it didn't take long to clear. The airport staff was friendly and within minutes I was done. 

 I collect boarding passes and would very much prefer VJ's owned ones. 

During my free time, I went to this spot at Terminal 3 for some plane spotting. Seeing some new aircraft for the first time, such as this subject: SilkAir's Boeing 737-800 9V-MGE. 

SQ's Airbus A330-300 taxiing into the central apron for its well-deserved rest. 

This was where my gate was, B10. It was about 10-15 minutes walk from the concourse. 

My aircraft: VN-A688

66th airline
Airline: Vietjetair 
Flight number: VJ8932
Aircraft type: Airbus A320
Registration: VN-A688 (Leased from CIT)
Used to fly for Air Arabia and OLT Express Poland 
Configuration: Y180
Delivered to the airline on the 12th October 2012
Engines: 2 X CFM56-5B4/3
MSN: 2712
Route: SIN-SGN
Gate: B10 
Seat: 5A (Seats empty beside mine- yeah!) 
Load: 70% 
Duration: 1 hour 40 mins 
Boarding time: 1210
Push back: 1240 
Take off: 1300 
Actual arrival: 1341 (SGN time) - On-time 
Departure runway: 02C
Arrival runway: 25R

Once I was on board, I was hardly welcome on board. A couple of crew's eyes were looking elsewhere despite the presence of the passengers coming in. Not a good start, that's for sure. If the crew are not interested in their jobs, please look elsewhere. They are representing the company, be professional, please! Anyway, got into my seat and it was no different from the standard seat, hardly any in fact. It was just as cramp as the other Low-Cost Carriers. 

                                      Here are some photos of them! 

Very cramp legroom space. Not good for flights for more than 3 hours! I will definitely avoid it.

Reminds me of Jetstar's. 

Quite a number of empty seats behind my row.

This is my seat. Fortunately, there wasn't anyone sitting beside me, had the whole row for myself.

What's inside the seat pocket? 

In-flight meal menu - someone requested me to post the pages of it! Here you go.

I got myself a white polo-shirt! I wish more of the major airlines sell airline's polo shirts. 

In-flight meal: Spaghetti

I pre-ordered this meal and the crew didn't remember until I had to highlight this to them. Fortunately, they had my meal and gotten it after the rest had theirs. Surprisingly, it didn't come with water so I had to pay for one. 

The sauce is not bad but the noodles are too soft so overall - 'Nah'. 

In-flight service: My impression of this airline and Vietnam Airlines is similar. The crew weren't friendly, they were more keen on going home, it seemed that way to me. One incident: I called one of the male crew, telling him my intention to purchase a polo shirt and he replied nonchalantly. I wasn't expecting him to return but he did and treated me much better then. What's up with that? The rest of the crew didn't seem interested in their jobs as mentioned earlier on. So if you ask me to give me a rating? I would say a 5/10 is the best I would give. 

Window-shot photos 

Goodbye Singapore, I will be back soon! 

Passing by one of SQ's newest Boeing 777-300ER, 9V-SWW. 

When lucky, you get to enjoy a good view of Changi Airport. 

Passing through clouds is likely to give you a good ride! 

On final approach to SGN- the land of Saigon. 

Going to take off again? Nope, we are just passing by. 

Parked beside this Vietnam Airlines' jet and we had to disembark by stairs and a bus took us to the terminal building. 

My rating:

Website: 6/10 
SIN check-in experience: 8/10
SIN Airport experience: 9/10
In-flight service: 5/10
Cabin interior: 8/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
In-flight meal: 5/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 77/100


Average flight; nothing positive to comment. However, the airline seems reliable; getting you from A to B. I haven't heard many complaints regarding this issue but as for the in-flight service, its a disappointment. Quite similar to Air Asia, Jetstar and Tiger Airways; I have gotten a mix of the good and bad crew so it depends on your luck. For the low airfare that it is offering, one cannot expect too much. Do read the conditions carefully before making your booking. For me, the challenging part for these Low-Cost Carriers is how they handle the situation when flights get delayed for more than 3 hours. Do take note that some of the airlines do not have any partnership with other airlines so it may not be possible for them to transfer you to another airline. For premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines, transferring passengers to Cathay Pacific or vice versa is possible but not on LCC except Scoot and Tiger Air. 

So If you ask me, sometimes it is worth paying more for a premium carrier. 

Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoy it.