Vietnam Airlines » B777-200ER (Config 1) » User reviews
Seatplan rating 5.8
- Boarding 7.2
- Seat for sitting 5.6
- Seat for sleeping 4.8
- Service 7.8
- Entertainment 2.2
- Food & drink 6.4
- Punctuality 7.6
- Baggage 3.6
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With a fabulous Cabin Crew and tasty, delicious food, the disappointing ordeal of being greeted with a Business Class seating format I first experienced on Delta Airlines back in the late 90's was somewhat compensated. The B777 - 200ER was 'old'.
Basically the seats decline [approx 70 degrees] intruding into the space of those sat behind, hence when those passengers depart their seats during the flight, the inadvertantly lean on your seat and unknowingly disturb accordingly.
Like many fellow readers, the biggest problem travelling Business over the years means, being spoilt with the likes of Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa, BA, Virgin etc., thus expecting when paying the extra for a Business seat, an uptodate one is provided, or at least not one that appears to be two decades old.
On closer examination of seats 2A & 2C, the cleanliness was also, what appeared to be 'old', with sticky and spilt items under the tray tables and within the tray and TV compartments. As for the entertainment, well, very limited choice.
Not sure if Vietnam Airlines will take take heed of this constructive observation, but if they wish to be a competitive and global player on the London - Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City [Saigon] routes, they are going to have to step up to providing a much better Business Class or reduce fares that would much better be matched to a so called Superior Premium Economy.
Luckily on this flight, with a tail wind and the reaching of speeds in excess of 700, the flight was quicker.
Finally, on reaching Hanoi at 5.30 in the morning on 11 January, though one of the first off the aircraft, it was one and a half hours before I and the majority of the passengers received luggage. Asking for a reason for the delay? Very stern airport officials told everyone they must wait and there were NO problems.
Amazingly, I noticed the airport shops were selling B787 model kits. Is Vietnam obtaining the Dreamliner? It appears it told the industry in 2009 it was but looking at the outstanding Boeing orders - no mention of Vietnam Airlines having any orders.
Conclusion- if you can obtain a great Business Class deal, then great. Otherwise your money and comfort would be better with others.
I actually had a 2-5-2 configuration, which doesn't seem to be an option on this site.
The seats were truly the worst I have ever sat in. They had an adjustable, mechanical lumbar system, which adjusted from uncomfortable to very uncomfortable. I ended up using two blankets on the back of my seat to make it bearable.
The cabin felt very densely packed. Fortunately I was sitting on the outside aisle, as being part of the 5 would have been very claustrophobic. The seat pitch was very tight, and the window seats had a large box under the seat, which left almost leg room.
General service was the usual I expect on a long haul flight, except a little more chaotic. There was no in-seat entertainment, which I didn't realise was still available these days.
I know others who flew from London to Vietnam who had a much more modern plane with entertainment, but I had this type from both LGW to HAN, and SGN to LGW (VN141).
Hanoi - London Gatwick
Check in wasn't very organised or very well signposted in the airport. I had to ask at the desk to find out which desks I could check in at as they were initially only labelled for Paris. The desk staff that I spoke to didn't have a good grasp of the English language and in the end I had to ask other passengers.
Once again I asked to be seated in the back of the plane away from the children and this wasn't a problem. I checked in one large bag at 20kg and took my standard cabin bag on board without having to get this weighed.
Security in the airport was a nightmare and took about 40 minutes to get through. There were a large number of flights departing around the same time and only a couple of desks open for security checking. After about 20 minutes another desk opened but the wait was far longer than I have experienced in other international terminals around the world.
The airport in Hanoi is basic at best and no consumables can't be purchased air side so if you're looking for painkillers or pharmacy items get them before you go to the airport.
Boarding was quick and efficient and we departed on time. As soon as we were at the right altitude food was served but without any drinks run prior to this so I was lucky to have a bottle of water with me in the meantime. The food was excellent and I chose the noodle dish which looked far better than the western option of beef with pasta.
No sooner has the food been cleared the lights were turned off. This would have usually been fine with me except that not only did the row that I was sat on have no working IFE system this also meant we had no reading lights which was frustrating as I could only read when someone in front of me had their lights on.
The staff on this flight were lovely and I spent an interesting hour talking with one of the crew while the rest of the cabin slept.
I managed to sleep for about 4 hours uninterrupted which was a record for me on a flight and we were woken to have breakfast a 2 hours before we landed. In contrast to the excellent meal in the evening breakfast was awful. Whoever decided that mangetout and carrots work with scrambled egg, bacon and beans should be sacked!
We landed on time and while there were no queues at immigration the wait for the baggage was nearly an hour! Clearly we're not as efficient as Asian countries.
London Gatwick - Hanoi
Check in was quick and efficient when I arrived at Gatwick. I was initially seated at the front of the economy section but when I inquired as to where they seat the children it seems that I was placed right next to them so I asked to be moved to the back of the plane which was carried out with minimum fuss.
We were over an hour late boarding the flight owing to technical difficulties with the plane which had been resolved while the plane was at the gate. Passengers were updated during this time so we knew to expect a longer wait.
The 777 was seated in a 3-3-3 formation which had surprisingly comfortable seats and as soon as we were at altitude the cabin crew served drinks followed by a choice of roast chicken or chicken with yellow bean sauce. I went with the roast chicken in naturally got food envy when I saw the other option. The dish I opted for was mediocre with an almond and coconut cake that was dry and unappealing.
I was disappointed with the IFE system, it didn't seem to work properly and films seems to have a scheduled start time so when i was ready to watch a film it indicated that i had to wait over an hour to watch it from the beginning again so I gave up and read my book instead. The selection wasn't all that good but I had hoped to pass some time on this long flight watching a movie.
This wasn't a restful flight as we had crying children in the cabin the whole way and a medical emergency with another passenger who was diabetic and hadn't bought a glucose monitor with them.
Breakfast was served a couple of hours before landing and again it was mediocre but no more so than the breakfast on any other long haul flight I've taken in the past.
We landed a little later than scheduled but after a short wait for my visa the bags arrived quickly and I was out of the airport within an hour of landing.
We flew Hanoi - CDG on a VN 777, leaving on the eve of TET although there was little celebratory about the service. I was in Economy and my wife (courtesy of an Award ticket) flew in Business. Walking through the Premium Economy cabin en route to my seat, the extra £500 for this option did not look worthwhile.
We enjoyed the reasonable lounge in hanoi for a while before on-time boarding through one airbridge, which caused some congestion in the cabin. Economy seating is 3-3-3 and i had a forward aisle seat in the middle block. Legroom is fairly good for this aircraft type although the recline is limited.
Push back was on time and drinks and dinner service commenced soon after take off. The food options were Veitnamese or western (a beef stew with noodles) and the cabin settled quite quickly and, despite quite a few families with young children, remained quiet throughout the night. I did not try the IFE, preferring to read instead. I understand that meal options in Business were fine but uninspiring and the seat, good for sleeping but not fully flat.
Sandwiches, pot noodles and drinks were available throughout the night. Breakfast was served about 90 minutes out (scrambled egg which was tasty) and we landed on-time in CDG. We were transferring to onward flights to Glasgow with AF/ KLM and managed to negotiate the maze that is 2E/ 2F OK.
AF/KLM have it in for me, however. For the third time in the last 3 journeys, my luggage failed to appear in Glasgow although my wife's did. So much for Platinum membership.... It will be interesting to see how long it takes until I see it again...