Vietnam Airlines has conducted its first non-stop service to the United States. The flight from Ho Chi Minh City touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 18:42 local time on November 28th. The Vietnamese flag carrier beats out Bamboo Airways in starting a regular commercial service to the US. Up until now, Bamboo has only conducted one special flight to San Francisco.
Vietnam Airlines operated the flight using a Boeing 787-9. Photo: Getty Images
Assigned flight number VN98, the inaugural service from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco departed at 20:40 local time on November 28th. With a flight duration of just over 13 hours, the Boeing 787-9 (registered VN-A861) crossed the international dateline and touched down at SFO at 18:42 on the same day.
Marketing the service on its website and social media, Vietnam Airlines is emphasizing the fact that travel from the Southeast Asian country to the United States has typically required a connection until now, saying:
“The flight between Vietnam and the US is usually quite long, so when buying a plane ticket to the US, you often have to transit in a 3rd country before you officially set foot in the US. This partly has passengers feel tired, anxious, and overwhelmed in the middle of a crowded airport, encountering language barriers, or even missing their flight.”
Indeed, rather than transferring through a city in China, Taiwan, South Korea, or Japan, passengers are now able to fly Vietnam Airlines’ direct service out of Ho Chi Minh City.
The duration of the flight to San Francisco is just over 13 hours. Photo: RadarBox.com
successful inaugural service
Publishing photos of the flight on Twitter, Vietnam Airlines called its inaugural direct, non-stop flight to the US a success and “a key development milestone.”
Photos, embedded below, show a special ceremony, as well as scenes from the flight. Choosing the American-made Boeing 787-9, Vietnam Airlines has configured the aircraft with 28 business class seats, 35 seats in premium economy, and 211 seats for standard economy.
✈Vietnam Airlines, the fastest-growing carrier in
Southeast Asia, today announced the success of the first direct flight to the United States, fulfilling a key development milestone of the Vietnamese flag carrier.#VietnamAirlines #4StarAirline #4Stars4You #UnitedStates pic.twitter.com/UlxZ4gLjc8
— Vietnam Airlines (@VietnamAirlines) November 29, 2021
The airline is also promoting the fact that the flight will feature “US-produced foods,” and paired with Californian wine.
Service to gradually ramp-up
Currently, the carrier will operate the service regularly with a frequency of two times per week. However, Vietnam Plus reports that the carrier has plans to increase that number to seven flights weekly once the global health crisis is under control and the Vietnamese Government allows the reopening of regular international routes.
Many (but not all) 787s and all Airbus A350s in the Vietnam Airlines fleet are fitted with premium economy. Photo: Oliver Holzbauer via Wikimedia Commons
The media outlet also notes that Vietnam Airlines is also considering opening more routes to the US, perhaps including services to Los Angeles from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Naturally, the airline will deploy its longer-range widebodies on these services – a choice between the Boeing 787 or Airbus A350.
It is hoped that this regular service will grow economic activity and strengthen the connection between the two countries.
What do you think of this new service? Is it something you might fly yourself one day? Let us know by leaving a comment.