We landed about an hour late into BKK from FRA, meaning we had only 20 minutes to deplane, go through security / passport control and make it to our next flight. The BKK ground service got a bit confused and sent me and Mike to the First Class Lounge and said they’d be back to collect us in about 90 minutes. My first thought was our flight to Hanoi was delayed – which excited me since I wanted to have a massage in the first class lounge. We checked the monitors and found that our flight was in final boarding (which is total BS – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a status of “boarding” just “final boarding”). In any event, we had to hurry to our gate.
As we made it to the departure gate we ran across our Ground Crew Escort and she was very apologetic. She got confused on who was going where. Very frustrating. We made it to the gate, which ironically was the gate immediately next to the A380 we flew in on from FRA.
We were seated in the first row of Business Class (and the first row of the plane) in seats 11A and 11B. We were greeted by a much less polished stew crew but were offered champagne to start. I didn’t have the heart to ask them if they were serving 2003 Dom on this flight. We did get a tall pour, but it tasted much more like sparkling turpentine than champagne. Such a change.
That’s not a 2003 Dom Perignon…
Mike checking in with our friends in Hanoi.
Check out that old monitor in the center bulkhead!
After two red eye flights (even in Business and First) we were feeling a bit exhausted and the sparkling wine didn’t really aid that feeling.
It seemed like about 4,000 people boarded the flight to Hanoi, but business class was only about 75% full. The pitch in these seats was pretty bad. I couldn’t stretch my legs out — that’s the problem with bulkhead seating. We just didn’t plan this leg properly.
A breakfast of fruit, beef noodle and a pastry was served and I have to tell you, the beef noodle was GREAT! I’m not usually a breakfast guy, but since I’d been flying for two days it didn’t really seem breakfast time to me, so the beef noodle was perfect.
Beef noodle breakfast
There was no IFE and all the large screen on the center bulkhead showed was the map – which I’m usually OK with. At this point, I just wanted to get to Hanoi take a real shower and start the land portion of our trip.
Up to this point, we hadn’t really put any final plans on the land portion of our trip so after breakfast we pulled out our guide books and started making a plan for Hanoi. We started our initial decent about 25 minutes out of Hanoi and there was a little bit of chop as we came through the clouds.
Coming into Hanoi
Farmland near HAN
Hanoi was very hazy. Once we landed we taxied around the runway quite a bit. It was fun to see all the Vietnam Airline planes. There wasn’t really any other airline there when we landed.
Vietnam Airlines taxing
Hanoi Airport and ramp crew
This flight was the worst of the trip to Hanoi, but that’s to be expected considering the two other flights we took to get here. The flight itself was perfectly fine. Service was a definitely unpolished but on a quick 90 minute flight to Hanoi I don’t necessarily expect a great experience. If I was flying this route again, I’d totally take Thai versus the competitors (Vietnam Airlines).
Have you flown an old A300 recently? Did it remind you of flights when you were a child? Do you feel cheated when you are in business class, but the leg room is so bad you can’t even stretch out your legs?