Sunday, 7 February 2016

Flying Home With VietjetAir !

Welcome to my 2nd Trip Report on VietjetAir! 


*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net and Jetphotos.net

For my previous experience with this airline, click here


Introduction 

I had a few options for SGN-SIN sector, the last leg for part 1. They are Jetstar, Jetstar Pacific, Tigerair, Singapore Airlines, Lion Airlines and Vietjetair. I have previously flown with Vietjetair and it was from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh, so why not do the other way round - that was what I thought. So checking the airline's website, I found a reasonable airfare of around S$80 including meal and seat assignment, and I booked it not long after.

Airline's website 

I had no issue with the airline's website.

For a short flight, I won't pay $277.60 excluding tax for Skyboss. Skyboss offers free lounge, better seats and check-in priority. 


The meal option looks good and is certainly cheaper than Singapore based Low Cost Carriers. 


Decided to choose the one of the rear rows, 21F


A detailed breakdown of the air fare and fuel subcharge is still included even though the price of fuel is quite low. No complaints from me though since the airfare is still cheap.



History of Vietjetair 

Vietjet Air also known as Viet Jet is a private owned Low Cost Carrier based in Vietnam, was granted to operate in 2007. However, the airline was launched in December 2011 and became the 2nd private airline to offer domestic service. It took a long time to launch due to difficulty with the regulatory issues but finally was given a green light at the end of 2011. Air Asia wanted to buy a 30% stake in this airline but due to difficult conditions, the airline withdrew its plan. Currently, the airline operates of Airbus A320 and A321 fleet with order an order of Airbus A320 and A321 (NEO Version), this airline is certainly going places. It seems that the airline is also leasing 10 A319s from Air Berlin group to cater the demand of both domestic and international markets that the airline is serving. The order for the NEO aircraft is for fleet replacement and expansion.


Current fleet

Airbus A320


Airbus A321 


History of Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)



This airport was originally set up in the 1930s when Tan Son Nhat airfield was  built. In Mid-1956, a 2,190 m runway was built with the help of the U.S. During the Vietnam War,  the likes of Pan Am (Pan America) and Continental Airlines based in U.S was already flying to this airport for military charters using Boeing 747 and Boeing 707 respectively. Once war was over, it took a while before the U.S Airlines restarted flights to Vietnam, with United re-starting flights in December 2004. This airport has become the largest airport in Vietnam and with recent expansion and upgrade of its current infrastructure, the airport aims to be competitive against its neighbouring rivals. The old terminal is now used for domestic flights while the new international terminal is aimed to attract more foreign airlines to serve flights to this city.


Some photos of my stay at Ho Chi Minh City 

(A big thank you to Jasmine and Daisy for their good company)



Pho Beef Soup and the locals love eating vegetables 


I enjoy eating this (below). Fried pancake with various ingredients


Tiramisu cake, a cup of tea and a glass of milkshake 


My mode of transport - quite fun! 


I was certainly enjoying the food!


On the day of departure 

As I had paid my for my window seat, I didn't have to rush to the airport to do my check in. The flight was at an early hour of 8.55 am, not an ideal timing but since I had to go back to work in the afternoon, I had no other choices. Jetstar Pacific had a flight that morning and it departed an hour earlier. 

Took the taxi from my hotel to the airport, the ride took less than 15 minutes. Once there, the check-in counters were not opened yet and I was 2nd in the queue. Fortunately, I didn't wait long for my turn and got my boarding pass without issue.

It was quite busy as the folks were seeing their loved ones off.




All flights at this time were departing to other parts of Asia.


Only passengers are allowed to enter the terminal


Good news for travellers is that Free Airport Wifi is now available. Connection is pretty strong. 


At this time, the counters were closed 


Just 2 counters for Vietjetair check-in 




Interior of the International terminal is certainly quite pleasant 



Unlike my previous flight with this airline, I got a proper boarding pass this time. 


The air side 


Passengers have to walk pass the duty free shops to get to their gates 


Spotted a Korean Air Airbus A330-300 being towed to the gate 



Gate 14 was where I suppose to go 



Smoking room 




A Vietjetair Airbus A321 taxiing to the runway for take off



There are a few restaurants at the 3rd level.


Foot Spa lounge



I settled for Burger King since choices were limited at that time


Coffee and Cocktails don't mix! 


These were my other options for breakfast


My aircraft was parked at a remote parking lot, so a bus would transport us there. 


Waiting for the boarding announcement 


A Vietnam Airlines' Airbus A321 pushing back 


Soon, it was time to board.


Flight route: SGN-SIN

Miles: 675


My ride: VN-A655




Date of departure: 18th January 2015
Airline: Vietjet Air 
Flight: VJ 811
Route: SGN-SIN
Aircraft: Airbus A320 with 'sharklets'
Registration: VN-A655
Delivered on 11th March 2015 (leased from ACG)
Engines: 2 X CFM 56-5B4/3
MSN: 6498
Configuration: Y180
Seat number: 21F
Gate: 14
Load: 100%
Duration: 1 hour 45 mins 
Departure time: 0855
Boarding: 0820
Push back: 0918
Take off: 0934
Schedule arrival: 1200
Actual arrival: 1211
Departure runway: 25L
Arrival runway: 02L


Boarding the aircraft the fun way! Great thing is the airport staff didn't stop us taking photos. 



Only this door was opened so boarding the aircraft took a while 


I was delighted to be flying on one of the airline's A320 fitted with 'sharklets' 


No advertisement on this aircraft 


Almost there!



A few seconds later, I was on board. Greeted by the crew, I was directed to my seat. Better set of crew than the ones on my Jetstar Pacific flight, I was greeted with smiles from the crew as I made my way to my seat near the rear of the aircraft. One female crew spoke to me in Vietnamese asking me not to take cabin photo, I think. However, I wasn't stopped by the other crew. Strange! 

Here are the photos of the cabin 

Skyboss seat - is it worth paying more for it? You decide. 



Row 1 offers the best legroom space 


Took a few minutes before reaching my seat 


Seats at row 1 to 5 and the emergency rows have better legroom space



Normal seats 


Look at how tight the seat pitch is 



This type of leather seat is quite common among Low Cost Carriers, its comfortable. Only issue is the legroom space. 



My row, 21F

A Vietnamese couple came and asked me whether I could switch seats with them so that the husband could take photo. Initially, I was hesitant because I wanted to take video of the take off and landing and snapping some photos, wasn't an easy decision and it took me a few seconds to agree with the change. 


I was at my original seat 


Row 21 


Cabin crew at work 



The Airbus A320 features 2 emergency rows, which offers better legroom space than the others. 




Cabin shot during descending 


Back in Singapore, usually I hang around longer but this time I didn't as I had to make my way home quickly as I had work later that day.


More photos of the Economy Class seat 


Legroom space is tight 


Not good for long haul flights 


The seat pocket and the tray holder 


Photos of the toilet 




What's inside the seat pocket? 

Disposal bag



Safety Card 


VietjetAir Menu


Check out the cheap meals! 





Souvenirs 






Duty Free items 


In-flight experience 

Push back only took place about an hour after settling down at our seats. Reason is the aircraft's computer system had issues and needed to be rebooted a few times before it worked. The captain was informative and gave us a good update on the delay, so we knew what was going on. No one made any noise and the crew walked to and fro to check that everyone was comfortable. I was telling my seat mate that its better for them to check and solve the issue than to rush off and made an emergency landing. Fortunately after 45 minutes, the issue was solved and we were soon on our way. 

It feels weird not to have the window seat as I just had to rely on my seat mate's window to watch the world passing by. Take off was powerful and smooth as we headed to our assigned flight level and heading. Not much turbulence on this flight as the 1 hour 45 minutes passed by fast. Pre-order meal service took place first followed by BOB and then Duty free sales. Cabin crew were enthusiastic and it was certainly a better experience with this airline compared to my previous, you can check out the trip report over here.

Had a good chat with my seat mate and before I knew it, we started our descend. Crew came around to do the mandatory checks and we landed at Changi Airport 11 minutes after schedule arrival, not too bad. The flight crew kept us well informed and that's how I like my flights to be. 

My pre-ordered in-flight meal: Singapore Noodles 

For just S$5. you receive this meal with a bottle of water




It's not bad to be honest. Actually, I forgot I pre-ordered this meal. I wanted to order the Vietnamese cake, perhaps on my next flight.


Some window shot photos 

It was nice to fly the Airbus A320 fitted with 'Sharklets'. 



We were cruising at Flight Level 360


Landed at Changi Airport and we parked beside Siam Air's Boeing 737-300. 


With that, I bid farewell to my seat mates and head home. 

My rating: 

Airline's website: 6/10
Check-in staff: 7/10
SGN Airport experience: 7/10
In-flight service: 7/10
Cabin interior: 9/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 6/10 
In-flight meal: 6/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
Punctuality: 5/10 
Overall rating: 69/100

Conclusion 

Vietjetair is a reliable airline that gets you from point A to B. Even though my flight was delayed due to technical problem with the aircraft, the pilot and mechanic did their best to solve the issue. Fortunately for us, we didn't have to change aircraft and not any point of time safety was compromised. The cabin service was good and I enjoyed the in-flight meal. For Low Cost Carriers, don't expect much from the seat pitch, so if you are looking for a comfortable ride, pay for the seats with better seat pitch or fly on a premium carrier. 


Thanks for reading!

Cheers,
Charles 

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