I happened to be in Hai Phong, visiting my friend’s family. Hai Phong is Vietnam’s third largest city after Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. I needed a last minute ticket so I knew I was in for some trouble. If you buy a ticket ahead of time in Vietnam, tickets can be fairly cheap, $50 US or less. Last minute tickets are around $100 US or more.
While Vietnam Airlines was around $175 US for the one-way, Vietjet was $105 US, so I decided on Vietjet. Honestly I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since this would be the first time flying with them, but figured the savings would be worth it. (I flew SGN-HKG after this trip, check out the review here.)
The website is adequate, not great but not terrible. I tried booking my ticket on my mobile phone but was getting a few errors. First try said the Mastercard credit card wasn’t accepted, then I tried again saying the fare had gone up.
I decided once more try on a laptop, and everything worked fine. I was able to use my AMEX which I didn’t see the option for on the phone, though I did have to pay $5 extra because the fare went up already. Boo.
A seating option came up, and since it was only 30,000 dong I selected the front most seat I was able to in row 7. Make sure you unselect any luggage allowance, travel insurance, etc if you don’t want those. They’ll be auto selected for you.
HPH-SGN Flight Review
Hai Phong airport is very new and small. There’s not many flights so check-in shouldn’t take very long. Security was quick, took me only one minute to go through, so I had plenty of time to spare and wait around.
Domestic flights tend to get delayed quite a bit in Vietnam, and this flight was no exception. Of course there was no announcement of the delay but I could see the plane come in late and passengers get off, so I pretty much knew when we’d board. I lined up a little early with the masses so grab some overhead space.
You’re only allowed 7kg carry-on according to the website, but no one checked the luggage weight. Some people had Vietjet tags on their bags from check-in, a few didn’t, including myself. It did not matter.
Boarding commenced in Asian fashion, people pushing and rushing to get on a plane that went no where until all passengers boarded. Normally I’d wait for everyone to get on first and board last if I didn’t need the overhead. Regardless though, it seemed as though there was enough luggage space for everyone.
Flight left a little late, about 30 minutes, not terrible and we did board via a jetbridge in HPH.
Honestly the airline is good, and service from flight attendants nice. The passengers are another story. As I was coming from Hai Phong, you get a bit more people who aren’t used to flying and live in a more rural part of Vietnam. All food and drinks are ala-carte purchase and I bought a bottle of water for 20,000 dong.
The passenger behind me kept their hands on me seat and touched my head a few times. I don’t know why they felt the need to hold onto the top of the seat in front of them during the flight. I just kept swatting his hand away until it stopped.
The lady next to me would put her feet on the railings of the seat legs, using them as a footrest. She didn’t actually use the open space below the seat much for her legs, which impeded my space. Very odd, never seen that before and was a bit annoying. Luckily she was asleep most of the flight though.
Upon landing we parked at the remote parking bay in Saigon. Of course all of the passengers from the back half would rush into the first half even though the plane door hadn’t opened. Since I was in Row 7 and all of the passengers were smushed in the aisle, one person started putting their luggage on my lap. I immediately pushed it back towards her and wasn’t having any of it. Can’t stand all of the country bumpkins!
Honestly the flight was great, aside from the passengers which isn’t the airline’s fault. It’s a budget airline so you’re flying with passengers with less means than on Vietnam Airlines for example. If you’re flying between Saigon and Hanoi however, the crowd should be a bit more metropolitan and business, so I think it’s dependent on your cities.
I did fly SGN-HKG recently on Vietjet as well and the crowd was totally different. Mostly Westerners so your experience with fellow passengers would vary, though you might find backpackers that haven’t showered in days. Haha. Flight service was the same on both the domestic and international flights.