PHNOM PENH – My trip report on a little-known airline called Lanmei Airlines in Cambodia. This particular flight took place in early October, from Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh to Vietnam’s financial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.
This flight is actually the second part of my business trip, with the first leg originating from Bangkok (my hometown), where I flew the boring generic Thai VietJet A320 from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phnom Penh.
I had never thought of flying Lanmei Airlines until I was scavenging for the cheapest flights on a third-party booking website. I found out this is the right time for my avgeek self to try on another ‘hidden’ airline after Lanmei Airline indeed was the second cheapest option between the two cities, first the cheapest of course being Vietjet Airlines. The additional splurge was worth every cent – sort of!
Lanmei Airlines Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh City
The start of my flight – the XU-901 on a rainy Phnom Penh evening.
In my humble opinion, this livery does not look exciting, but indeed it is very typically South East Asian style, being very simple yet somewhat trying to hard to be eye-catchy.
I was greeted by a home-styled mat, this was a first for me. I would expect to be greeted by such carpets at a Chinese restaurant or at a 3-star Chinese roadside hotel. Anyhow, this is the moment when I realised that this little-known airline is owned by a Chinese creditor.
This is not surprising to me as there have been many Chinese influences and presence in this poor but booming country of Cambodia. Very much so, most of the passengers here are Chinese nationals, a handful of Vietnamese and Cambodians, and no westerners or your regular backpack travellers.
Love the seat colours, very pale blue. The flight was indeed full, but I was one of the first batches to board the flight.
The seats look outdated, reminds me of flying in the early 2000s! Old but nevertheless very comfortable, to my surprise.
Looks cramped and tight in the picture above, but wasn’t that bad in real life. I’m 179cm and still had plenty of knee room to move around.
The Lanmei Airlines A320 safety card.
Push back and flight
It’s pushback time!
Taking off from Phnom Penh Airport.
Arrival at rainy Saigon.
This airframe bears the serial number 3743 and is an Airbus A320-232 to be very precise. The plane’s age is 13.9 years and it has passed through a handful of owners before coming to Lanmei Airlines.
The aircraft was originally delivered to Australian native Jetstar Airlines in 2009 as VH-VQB and was stored in 2014. It then had a new life in Mexico with VivAerbus which was delivered in 2016 as XA-VAH. Finally, the aircraft then joined Lanmei’s fleet as the current registered XU-901 on a leased basis from Carlyle Aviation since 2019.
Bottom Line – What is Lanmei Airline?
I find Lanmei Airlines to be a quirky airline, a hybrid carrier between a full-service and a low-cost airline. There was no meal service but a buy-on-board option available. It is an attractive airline to fly because it allows seat selection and all passengers are entitled to carry 15KGS of baggage weight allowance. I might consider this airline in the future should I fly to Cambodia from Bangkok.
Lanmei Airline was founded in 2016 with its operating hub out of Phnom Penh, the country’s Capital. The name Lanmei comes from the Lancang-Mekong river which runs from China and flows through the Mekong Delta in South East Asia.
The airline operates an all-Airbus A320 fleet of 4 A320S and 2 A321-200.
Photo Credits: All photos in this article – Indy Udol.