Vietnam Airlines launches nonstop flights to the United States

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Next year, flying from the United States to Vietnam will be easier than ever, thanks to two Vietnamese carriers launching new nonstop flights from the West Coast. Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways, both based in Hanoi, plan to operate routes to San Francisco in 2022.

In fact, Vietnam Airlines’ first US route is already officially underway. Earlier this week, the carrier launched its maiden flight from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco International Airport. The flight, already notable for being a rare non-stop route, was also historic in other ways: it was the first-ever scheduled flight operated between the United States and Vietnam. The launch of the route marks “a new milestone for Vietnam Airlines and Vietnamese aviation”, airline CEO Le Hong Ha said in a statement. A declaration Monday.

The carrier will operate two flights a week on the route with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner widebody. On board, the plane will be equipped with 28 business class elongated seats, 35 premium economy class seats and 211 regular economy class seats, according to the industry website. Airline Geeks; economy class seat fares will start at around $1,000 for roundtrip flights. Although non-stop, the route is still quite long: on the eastbound section, flight times are nearly 14 hours, while westbound flights will last nearly 5 p.m., according to Airline Geeks. In honor of its new California destination, the airline has also said it will serve Napa Valley wine on board alongside cheeses and other dishes from the United States

Vietnam Airlines is also a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, which includes carriers like Delta and Air France. This means US travelers can redeem Delta SkyMiles to book flights on Vietnam Airlines or earn Delta miles while flying with the Hanoi-based carrier.

Although the carrier will eventually expand the route to operate seven days a week, those plans are currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions. Also potentially under construction? A second route, possibly between Los Angeles and Hanoi, reports Airline Geeks.

According to the media Vietnam More, the route has been under construction for 20 years. During this period, Vietnam Airlines has grown to become one of the largest carriers in Southeast Asia, with 29 international destinations in its route network. “We are grateful to Vietnam Airlines for making San Francisco their first destination in the United States, and we are confident that this new service will be a success,” said Ivar C. Satero, director of SFO. in a report.

Moreover, with the launch of its route from San Francisco, Vietnam Airlines has beaten competitor Bamboo Airways, which has also been scrambling to secure a regular non-stop route to the West Coast. Bamboo Airways, a much newer and growing startup founded in 2017, made its first test flight in September between Hanoi and San Francisco. Although this first test flight was a success, the carrier is still awaiting official clearance from the FAA to launch a regular route.

According to Airline Geeks, Bamboo Airways is set to make several more demonstration flights from Hanoi and Da Nang to San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, hoping to launch one of the nonstop routes in early 2022. Similar to Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways’ inaugural route is likely to be a non-stop flight from Ho Chi Minh City to SFO, as the airline has signed a protocol of agreement with San Francisco airport officials in September to launch this route next year.

But the similarities do not end there: Bamboo Airways also uses a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its flights to the United States, also equipped with three cabin classes: business class with elongated seats, premium economy class and regular economy class. . The airline plans to start with four flights a week on the route, hoping to expand service to seven days a week soon, pending government approvals.

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