At the Airport
Getting to the gate was quite tedious. There was a long queue for checkin, so I used the self checkin machine which as a rule I avoid. On this occasion the machine worked and produced a rather ugly paper ticket.
There was then a queue for passport control and a long queue for security.
The flight was schedule to depart from gate 24, a short walk from the security checkpoint. It was a very orderly boarding.
The flight was operated by an Airbus 321 (registration number VN-A396). The seats were comfortable but the pitch felt a bit small.
There was no seatback television, power points or USBs, but there were shared overhead television which mostly showed inane slapstick comedy with slightly too loud volume before takeoff.
The economy cabin was about ninety per cent full. We pushed back on time, and had a fairly smooth flight. There was a flight map on the overhead monitors at some points. We followed an overland course, up just south of Nanning and then east, turning south before we reached Guangzhou. We then circled outside of Hong Kong a couple of times before landing, with the door opening exactly on schedule at half past one.
We were at a remote stand (108) which meant I needed to use an overcrowded bus to reach the terminal, although the upside of that is that it disembarks very close to immigration.
The captain’s heavily accented English was not reassuring, but the flight was smooth even though the seatbelt sign was turned on during it.
The crew were impeccably attired in their smart uniforms and provided a friendly service throughout. They also had a calm demeanour, even with annoying passengers.
They started by distributing wet wipes shortly after the seatbelt sign was turned off. They then did a meal service with drinks. They then started to come around with hot drinks but the seatbelt sign was turned on again so that was the end of the service.
Food and Drink
There was no menu shown but the flight attendant offered a choice between pork and rice, and seafood and noodles. I chose the latter.
The starter was a delicious potato salad with tuna. The main course seafood element was a generous serving of prawns in a sauce, which was excellent. The noodles were a bit dry and rubbery. Dessert was a tasty cake. This was a solid meal for a flight of this distance in economy class, reminiscent of what some other airlines usually served some years back before there was so much cost cutting.
I was again impressed by the service and comfort of Vietnam Airlines. I would prefer it if they also offered personal inflight entertainment, but apart from that this was a good flight.