By Kalai Rajan
Vietnam Airlines launches regular direct flight to the United States
Vietnam Airlines launched its first non-stop flight to the United States On November 28, the flight from Ho Chi Minh City arrived at San Francisco International Airport at 6:42 pm. The maiden voyage from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco, designated flight VN98, departed at 8:40 p.m. local time on November 28. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration VN-A861, crossed the international date and landed at SFO after a journey of just over 13 hours and a time difference of 15 hours.
Vietnam Airlines highlights the fact that travel from the Southeast Asian country to the United States has traditionally required a connection until now, saying in a statement: âThe flight between Vietnam and the United States is usually quite long, so when buying a plane ticket to the United States, you often have to transit through a third country before officially setting foot in the United States. Part of this causes passengers to feel tired, anxious and overwhelmed in the middle of a crowded airport, encounter language barriers, and even miss their flights.
Rather than changing planes in a city in China, Taiwan, South Korea or Japan, travelers can now fly directly from Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnam Airlines.
The flight will be exceptionally long for passengers, with the trip east taking 13 hours and 50 minutes and the trip west taking 16 hours and 40 minutes. Round-trip economy flights are estimated to start at around $ 1,000, which is relatively competitive compared to other market fares. Vietnam Airlines CEO Le Hong Ha also said the route would not be profitable for the next five to ten years.
The Vietnamese airline and aviation industry have worked for 20 years to establish a regular air link with the United States. flights between the two countries.
Vietnam’s planned service means the country has beaten Bamboo Airways, another Vietnamese carrier that hopes to be the first to offer regular non-stop service between the two countries.
Vietnam Airlines hailed its first non-stop direct flight to the United States as a triumph and a “milestone in development”. Vietnam Airlines chose the American-made Boeing 787-9 and outfitted it with 28 business class seats, 35 premium economy seats and 211 base economy seats. The airline also says the flight will feature âUS-produced cuisineâ paired with California wine.
âThe success of the inaugural direct commercial flight to the United States marked a new milestone for Vietnam Airlines in particular and Vietnamese aviation in general,â Ha said in a statement.
This service is expected to stimulate economic activity and deepen ties between the two countries.
In a statement released by Vietnam Airlines, Ivar C. Satero, San Francisco Airport Manager, said, âWe are honored to be the first airport in the United States to offer frequent non-stop flights to Vietnam. We are excited to provide a world class experience with seamless access throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and we are grateful to Vietnam Airlines for choosing San Francisco as their # 1 destination in the United States.
Initially, Vietnam Airlines will operate two flights per week from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco, using its longer-range wide-body aircraft – a choice between the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 XWB, the two more recent. wide-body carriers. Once the Covid-19 outbreak is contained and the government agrees to restart scheduled commercial flights, the airline plans to increase the frequency to seven trips per week. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said last Monday that Vietnam intends to resume regular foreign flights from next month.
Vietnam Airlines is also considering new routes to the United States, possibly including service to Los Angeles from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s two largest cities. According to official figures, there are around 24,000 Vietnamese students and around 2.2 million Vietnamese abroad living in the United States, indicating a demand.
Vietnamese travelers are now allowed to enter the United States after the changes instituted on November 8, but they must produce a certificate proving that they have been fully vaccinated as well as a negative test result received within 72 hours. While not mandatory, the US government advises people to self-isolate for 7-10 days upon arrival.