- Vietnam Airlines 54
- London (LHR) – Hanoi (HAN)
- Departure: 1126 Arrival: 0445
- Duration: 10:18
Aircraft: Boeing B787-9
- Registration: VN-A870
- Seat: 7A (Business Class)
The first Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner for Vietnam Airlines entered service in August 2015 between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, 9 more aircraft have been delivered flying to destinations in Europe and Australia. Vietnam Airlines now has 10 B787-9 in service and one more B787-9 series in order which is due to be delivered soon. The company also ordered 8 -10 series which are going to be leased from Air Lease Corporation and delivered between 2019-2021.
I have tried a couple of B787-8s with Qatar Airways but it was my first time on board the -9s. The aircraft is slightly longer than the original -8s, fitting more passengers inside on short and long-haul flights. There are 274 seats in total: 28 Business, 35 Premium Economy, and 211 Standard Economy seats. The business class seats have 42 inches of pitch and 21 inches of width, in Premium Economy class, it has 38 inches of pitch which can increase up to whooping 42 inches with 18 inches of width, and standard economy class has 32 inches and the same width as Premium Economy seats.
This flight is one of the three Vietnam Airlines flights I took to my final destination as I had a chance to try out the Dreamliner, the A350, and their narrow-body A321. In the past, the flight was serving London Gatwick Airport with a B777-200ERs, but now it has completely changed to London Heathrow with a new aircraft.
The calming, olive green-themed, business class is configured in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access seats. It is a great improvement on the seating compared to their old 2-2-2 arrangement on wide-body fleets. Also, the cabin is equipped with Boeing’s mood lighting as well as better air filtration and more humidity which prevents jet lagging. All business class seats are reverse herringboned, meaning, all passengers will have a great amount of privacy.
Vietnam Airlines’ business class seats are manufactured by Zodiac Aerospace’s Zodiac Cirrus which you can normally find it on American Airlines or Cathay Pacific. Seats go fully 180 degrees flat and the curvature provides much more privacy than the two middle seats.
The simple-looking seat adjustment is attached beside the seat with an IFE controller, headphone socket, and USB port above it. The height of the armrest by the aisle can be adjusted using a metal push button embedded in it. Personal storage spaces are also available on both sides of the seat.
Dreamliners are famous for their windows that are electrically operated. All the windows can either be controlled by the flight crew or yourself. Be aware if you are seated in the last row because the location of the button in the last window is restricted due to the seat.
On this flight, lunch and breakfast were served. Since the departure time was around noon, lunch was served followed by breakfast before landing in Hanoi. Unlike some airlines, VN’s dining was not à la carte, so food was served to all passengers at once. It was a three-course meal: Appetizers, mains, and desserts.
I have flown with Vietnam Airlines in the past and they usually served the meal on a tray, with salads to mains to deserts were all placed in one tray Indeed, it is easier for crews to bing and takes away the plates but it looked like the food and drink being squeezed in one medium sized tray. Sadly, on this flight too, foods were served on the same tray I have seen for the past few years.
Nonetheless, the food was delicious and fresh combined with some signature drinks designed by the president of the Saigon Bartenders Association.
Vietnam Airlines’ Business class seats are equipped with a 15.4-inch touch screen monitor and a remote controller from Thales AVANT system. The remote controller is very simple and looks like an economy class controller. A “Noise-canceling” headset is provided in plastic wrapping and I find it interesting that Vietnam Airlines still makes passengers, even in the business class, install ear seal coverings on the headset. The covering tears easily if wrongly installed and the headset itself was not noised canceling.
The in-flight entertainment is installed with Vietnam Airlines’ LOTUSTAR content. IFE was limited with narrow choices of movies, tv shows, and music so most of the time I enjoyed looking at the navigation map. I also noticed that there was a wi-fi signal scanned by my phone but it was not operating and when I asked one of the crew members, they told me there was no wi-fi at all on the flight. Maybe, the company still did not decide to activate the wifi service.
There are two lavatories in the business class section that has a design similar to other B787s. The tap and flush buttons are all sensor types where you can just put your hand nearby to activate them. Only the temperature setting is adjusted by physically pressing the red or blue dot.
The Dreamliner, being one of the technologically advanced aircraft, was the best Boeing series I have tried. One of the main reason is that, compared to B777s, the jet lag effect on B787s are really low and the cabin feels more comfortable with lesser noise when on long-haul flights. I also like the direct aisle seating arrangement for comfort and the service on board.
I can’t really give 5 stars to the in-flight entertainment experience since the contents were limited and also the “headset” but time flew quickly after a sleep and constantly looking at the navigation page. I would like to give compliments to the atmosphere inside the cabin and to all cabin crews who were always ready and being friendly and delightful. I do have some more flights with Vietnam Airlines and hoping to have an awesome flight as well.