BANGKOK – VietJet is one of the world fastest-growing airlines in the world. With its home base in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the airline played a major role in the increase in the Vietnamese air travel market.
VietJet alone has 94 aircraft, with 78 aircraft flying for Vietjet and 16 for its Thai subsidiary, Thai Vietjet, which I am going to review today.
Chaos, Confusion, and Cramped at Check-In
I arrived well in time for check-in for my flight to Ho Chi Minh City from Bangkok. My flight VZ974 to Ho Chi Minh is scheduled for an 8:30 departure, which means that I had to be at the airport at least 2 hours before check-in.
I thought I’d be at the airside within half an hour. However, I was wrong. This sight greeted me despite arriving at 6:30 AM:
It was chaotic at Bangkok Airport. The line snaked beyond the check-in area, as there were 4 Thai VietJet flights departing that morning, to Phnom Penh, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh (my flight) and Da Nang respectively. I timed myself, and it took me 45 minutes from queuing to handing my boarding pass to the agent.
With a quarter of an hour elapsed, I rushed through security and then immigration which took another half an hour. At this stage, I realised that I am unable to comfortably enjoy my morning breakfast.
My Flight VZ974
I arrived at Gate G1 where my flight was parked. My shuttle to Ho Chi Minh was flown by HS-VKE, a 12-year-old Airbus A320. This aircraft’s serial number is 4512 and has had a fair share of ownership changes.
It first went into service in November 2010 with AirPhil Express and in 2013 briefly with Philippines Airlines before going to Vietjet Airlines in the same year. In March 2018, it finally went to Thai Vietjet under the current registration.
The flight was roughly 75% full, a satisfactory cabin load given that this is the first of the four daily flights between the two metropolises. I took the earliest flight as this was the cheapest, I paid $105 USD – round trip, guess I can’t and could not complain.
My view from seat 20A!
Legroom is not bad given I’m 179 cm tall.
I was one of the first batch to board. Initially, I thought this flight was going to be a light load, but it took half an hour for passengers to fill the aircraft.
Pushback 8:30 AM sharp! An impressive lineup showing ANA, Etihad and Korean Air!
Emirates A380 and Vietjet A321.
Morning Rush Thai Airways Line Up!
Runway 01 Right Take-Off! Taking off from this runway at Suvarnabhumi is usually performed during the winter season. This is also my favourite take-off direction as you can see the entire airport view.
Shown above is the soon-to-open satellite terminal, slated to open this year. For over two years, the terminal was used to park inactive aircraft, now there are fewer of them! Only a handful of Thai 747s and A380s. What an eyesore!
Rather disappointing. I saw selections of authentic Thai a Vietnamese coffee, but it wasn’t available on board. So I opted for a bland generic instant Nescafe coffee.
I had high hopes when it comes to coffee onboard a Vietnamese airline, a country known for its dark robusta beans.
Their onboard menu or ‘Sky Cafe’
A mixture of western and local foods. The only authentic Vietnamese food selection here was Banh Mi (Top Left).
Heavy hot meals catered towards the Thai market.
Generic Dessert options
Snack options. It is imperative that all Asian carriers serve or sell instant noodles!
My much-craved for filtered or drip coffee is not fulfilled! Opted for number 39 instead.
Approaching Ho Chi Minh (SGN) Tan Son Nhat International Airport. This view never gets old! Hands down one of the best approaches in Asia ever…
For those of you who want to enjoy the approach, always opt for a window seat port side if you ever fly into this city.
Disembarkation – these passengers unbuckled their seats even before the seatbelts signs were switched off. It’s a race to the bottom when you think de-boarding is a race.
Parked next to a Thai Smile from Bangkok, feels like home!
Way to immigration
Madness at immigration. It took me 50 minutes to clear this place.
Arrivals Hall at Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Bottom Line: I’d fly Thai Vietjet Airlines on any given day considering it’s the cheapest option from A to B, at least to and from Bangkok.
My previous Thai Vietjet flight to Phnom Penh wasn’t that great as the aircraft was very dirty. Seating comfort was mediocre, but not too bad, what can you expect on a low-cost airline?
The flight was 1 hour and 10 minutes, therefore, it was a great experience and worth every penny.
Me enjoying a proper Vietnamese coffee after the instant-coffee gate on my flight.