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Vietnam Airlines Review Economy Hanoi to Luang Prabang – Fokker 70 – VN931

23rd April 2014
Vietnam Airlines Flight 931
Depart : Hanoi (HAN)
Arrive : Luang Prabang (LPQ)
Departure time : 12:45pm (Actual 1:00pm)
Arrival Time : 1:55pm (Actual 1:48pm)
Fokker 70
Seat  9E
Flight Time : 48 Minutes
Meal Service : None

Take off from Ho Chi Minh

Route Map

Route Map

 This would be my first time flying Vietnam airlines and once again I was excited to try another new carrier on our trip, so far the trip has been great and I have been able to experience a lot of different airlines.

Today would also be a new type of aircraft, our flight was originally scheduled to be an Airbus A321 but it was changed a few days before our departure. Vietnam airlines at the time of writing only have two Fokker 70’s in its fleet and its fairly rare to still see them flying around the world, let alone in Asia.

Vietnam airlines own two of the last Fokker’s produced before the company closed and our aircraft was manufactured in 1997.
Its registration was VN-A502

We took a taxi to the airport and it was a fairly miserable day, it was raining and the sky was very grey and was a pretty horrible day to fly, I imagined how fun the take off would be and getting through the cloud cover.

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We arrived at the Vietnam check in area and checked in very quickly and within 10 minutes we went through security.

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We would be boarding today at 12:05pm for the 12:45pm departure.

The departure terminal in Hanoi was pretty bare, there was only 1 place to really eat and that was a burger king upstairs, apart from that it was mainly shops selling merchandise and cheap cans of beer. I decided to have  a beer before the flight.

Local Beer

Local Beer

Boarding pass

Boarding pass

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Boarding was called a bit late around 12:15pm and we proceeded to gate 5 at Hanoi airport. I had seen a few previous trip reports that you are bussed to the aircraft as the Fokker jets have their own stairs. This was indeed correct, our boarding passes were scanned and we were sent downstairs to a bus. As I walked out onto the tarmac an ANA Boeing 777-200 was pulling up right behind me and it was pretty impressive how loud it was.

ANA

ANA

Security Bikes

Security Bikes

It was a bit strange to see a few bikes out on the tarmac that we walked past, claiming to be security bikes. I can only imagine how much use these bikes must be in a security situation.

We then boarded a bus and took a quick two minute drive to our aircraft to board.

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 We all boarded from the front stairs on the aircraft.

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For an aircraft with an age of 17 years it was in pretty good condition.

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It was spacious inside the cabin for a regional jet.

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The legroom was pretty good for such a small plane and the seating configuration was 2 – 3.

Big Window

Big Window

I did like the fact that the window was bigger than some other aircraft. My seat was fairly comfortable.

Safety card

Safety card

Boarding was completed extremely quick and as soon as everyone was on board the cabin door was closed and we taxied to the runway.

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Today we would be taking off from runway 29L into the thick rain clouds, we were third in line behind an Air China Airbus A330 and a Vietnam Airlines A320.

We were cleared for take off and off we went, I had expected a fair bit of turbulence when going through the thick cloud cover but to my complete surprise there was no turbulence during take off at all.

After around 7 minutes we rose above the weather and would be met with some lovely clear blue sky.

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There was no time for a meal service on this flight today but we were offerd a free soft drink of our choice, I just went with water as the flight was so short.

Cabin in flight

Cabin in flight

Drinks service

Drinks service

We cruised for around 20 minutes and weived in and out of some big storm clouds and had a few bumps on the way but nothing major, I was really impressed with the pilots here, it did seem as though they were maneuvering between each cell, which was much higher than we were flying and I’m glad we did not have to fly through them.

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After 35 minutes the captain announced we would be landing shortly and asked the crew to prepare for landing, the approach into Luang Prabang airport is pretty spectacular. There are lush green mountains all around the place and very close to the aiport, for a short period of time I though we had not come into land at all, but at the last minute the mountains dropped away and we came in for a smooth landing.

Landing in Luang Prabang

I was really impressed with the flight and how the pilots seemed to avoid all area’s of turbulence and I thanked them on the way out for this and the great flight. Our pilots were from Russia and Vietnam today.

As we exited the plane I noticed that our flight was the only flight at the airport at that time. It seems very few airlines fly to this airport.

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We excited the plane via the small staircase and walked towards the terminal

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When leaving the plane I took a few pictures of the aircraft and headed for immigration.

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Vietnam is an upcoming carrier in my eyes and in the future should probably make it into the 4 star airlines category.

The busy baggage collection

The busy baggage collection

 

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