This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, autumn 2019, issue 110
Flight number: VN772
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Duration: 8 hours, 45 minutes
A light, spacious feeling dominates in the cabin, with its 1 x 2 x 1 configuration and capacity for 24 passengers in eight rows.
Seats recline to fully flat. A retractable arm rest provides a further cocooned feeling. There are several pockets for storage and a USB charger and personal light. The cabin contains LED lighting and dimmable windows that made it feel like we were already transported to another world within minutes.
The LotuStar inflight system features movies, audio, TV, games and a skymap, all available in several languages. Movies are a good mix between western and Asian, as well as mainstream and arthouse films.
Vietnamese locals are known for their warmth and kindness, and thankfully that translates on board from the moment of arrival. Attentive but not fussy, cabin crew and check-in staff are friendly and pleasant to deal with. I love that the female staff are wearing the áo dài – the Vietnamese traditional costume.
Food + Drink
Before take-off, I take a cold towel handed to me and sip on a glass of Heidsieck & Co Monopole Champagne. After take-off, I sample one of the signature drinks designed by Mr Vo Tan Si, president of Saigon Bartenders Association. The ‘Beloved Hue’ drink is a refreshing blend of whisky, apple juice, lemon juice, diced ginger and sugar which is savoured perfectly alongside cashews and wasabi nuts. My lunch order is taken – I select a smoked salmon confit with crème fraîche dashi cream and a tangy olive tapenade topped with Norri powder. Entree is accompanied by a fresh garden salad and a roasted pumpkin soup. I choose a 2016 Saint-Véran chardonnay from Mâconnais, France. A choice of bread follows, along with my main selection – braised pork Chinese-style with fried rice with egg, shallot, stir-fried vegetables and corn. All is swiftly presented, and the food is at just the right temperature. Dessert includes a selection of cheeses, fresh fruit, mini cakes and pastries and, just when I think I can’t fit in any more, I’m offered pistachio ice-cream. Why not?
Our seats are equipped with a Charriol amenities pouch containing comb/brush, toothbrush and paste, socks, night mask, ear plugs, moisturiser, lip balm and a sticker the sleep-tempted can place in their pod to indicate if they wish to be woken for meal service or inflight duty-free service.
Business and Premium Class passengers are allowed 30kg checked baggage and two pieces of hand luggage.