If you're planning a trip abroad or somewhere distant, sorting your flight arrangements will be a top priority.
In this case, the airlines you choose can significantly impact your trip. Choosing an airline that offers the right of value and price can help you fly both comfortably and affordably. But one quick look at the drastically varying reviews online will make you second doubt your decisions.
I understand the pain of sifting through online reviews, and that's why I've spent hours sifting through their online reviews so you won't have to.
But today I'll be flying away temporarily from Europe to review an Asian airline: Vietnam Airlines.
You'll find out whether Vietnam Airlines should be your go-to air carrier while in Vietnam and touring around the country's major cities. After seeing all of my research laid out, you'll be able to make your personal decision on if its slightly higher pricing is worth it!
I won't keep you waiting any longer...
What Is Vietnam Airlines?
Vietnam Airlines is the national flag carrier of Vietnam, founded in 1956. It's the largest airline in Vietnam and one of the leading carriers in Southeast Asia, with 4-star ratings by Skytrax that considers its quality of service.
The airline operates a modern fleet of aircraft and aims to offer a comfortable travel experience by incorporating elements of Vietnamese culture in its in-flight services.
I'll talk about whether it's really deserving of that 4-star rating by deep diving into factors such as cabin comfort, in-flight entertainment, and customer service.
Where Does Vietnam Airlines Fly?
It operates in 94 routes, covering 22 domestic and 29 international destinations in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. In December last year, the airlines introduced their first direct flight to and from the U.S.A.
It's the only Vietnamese carrier to date that offers direct flights to the U. K and U.S.A.
Vietnam Airlines Partners and Alliances
Vietnam Airlines is a member of SkyTeam Airline Alliance, consisting of 18 other airline members.
So, if you decide to join their frequent flyer program, you can earn miles from each trip made with any of the airlines of the SkyTeam Alliance. Travelers can use points earned from the program to obtain discounts, extra baggage allowance, and even free tickets.
With enough points, you'll be able to upgrade to SkyTeam Elite or SkyTeam Elite Plus with extra benefits.
You can use Lotusmiles of Vietnam Airlines with AirEuropa, Air France, China Airlines, and many others. Members can also access their faster check-in and luggage services and access to business lounges worldwide.
Not only that, you can also get discounts from their car rental partner, Hertz!
Vietnam Airlines App
The mobile app supporting both Android and iOS devices allows you to view flight schedules and airport maps or book flights on the go.
Its app is also a great way to store all your booking information and check-in online up to 24 hours in advance! You will get the latest flight updates to your mobile, informing you of any last-minute changes.
Members can also use the Vietnam Airlines App to manage their Lotusmiles rewards account. However, many had reviewed saying the app is poorly designed and often crashes.
Vietnam Airlines Baggage Allowance Policy
The total weight of the hand baggage for economy class is capped at 12kg/26lbs with dimensions not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm. It can include one hand baggage item and one accessory. But, you are allowed to take some personal things free of charge. Checked baggage weight for economy and premium economy cannot exceed 24kg/50lbs.
For business and premium economy classes, the permissible weight is 18kg/40lbs. You can carry two baggage items of the (same dimensions) and one accessory. Business-class passengers are allowed a checked baggage weight of 32kg/70lbs.
The fees for excess baggage vary depending on the class, route, and destination. You can learn more about Vietnam Airlines' baggage policy and fees by visiting their website.
Refunds and Cancellation
According to Vietnam Airlines Cancellation and Refund Policy, Refunds are offered for passengers whose departure time was delayed by four or more hours.
You can get a Travel Voucher instead of the ticket and use it to purchase tickets or services of Vietnam Airlines within a year. Otherwise, you can get a cash refund within the specified period for processing refunds. Unless it's the fault of the airline company, you have to pay a refund fee.
I came across many negative customer reviews speaking of refund issues, especially in the light of the pandemic. The Vietnam airline promises to refund in the wake of unexpected cancellations. However, customers have had a hard time claiming refunds even after they've been notified that they are entitled to a refund.
Vietnam Airlines In-Flight experience.
The economy class has reclining seats with ample legroom, and the business class offers fully convertible flat-bed seats. You have access to electric charging ports from your seat. The adjustable LED lighting helps you enjoy a comfortable plane ride.
You can store your hand luggage in the overhead bin or under your seat. As for entertainment options, you usually get a mix of English and Vietnamese classics and new releases. The choice isn't extensive, but there's a decent list of movies, music, TV shows, and games to keep you occupied.
The airlines serve a mix of Vietnamese and other cuisines and offer special meals for those with dietary restrictions. Personal amenities usually include a pillow, blanket, essential toiletry items, and service stickers.
How's Vietnam Airlines' Customer Service?
The cabin crew of Vietnam Airlines offers excellent service! They are usually prompt and efficient. Passengers are provided with the menu to order food immediately after takeoff. The trays are cleared immediately after you finish the meal.
However, the language barrier was noted by many passengers who have flown with the airlines. In some cases, people have found it challenging to explain their requirements for flight attendants, ending up getting the wrong meal or amenity. But, as most of the crew can speak sufficient English, I don't think you will encounter significant issues.
The customer support team in place to resolve issues related to booking and cancellations isn't very responsive. In many instances, passenger pleas to get their refunds via call and email have been unanswered. It seems that customers have to email them multiple times to receive a response.
Is Vietnam Airlines Worth It?
Overall, Vietnam Airlines offer an averagely comfortable and good experience.
I'm not overly pleased but can say it's decent. It's still the best among the Vietnamese carriers in terms of quality, amenities, and comfort, and therefore it's pricier. But, if you compare it with other international airlines, it's cost-effective.
The main drawback is their refund issues, which many airlines have had to deal with during the pandemic. Since we are now likely past the largest hurdle in the pandemic, I hope to see this correct itself more.
My Rating: 4.1/5
- Friendly service
- Comfortable seating
- Great mileage reward system
- Good quality amenities
- Difficulty in claiming refunds
- Unreliable mobile app
- Food isn't always good
- Relative pricey
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