Vietnam Airlines operates 15 flights a day between Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang and 105 flights a week depending on the season.
I had checked in for my domestic connection to Da Nang at Heathrow’s Vietnam Airlines desk before for my flight from London to Ho Chi Minh City. After exiting baggage reclaim at 6am (departure was at 0800), I was given a baggage sticker and told that I needed clear security at the domestic terminal – a five-minute walk from international arrivals.
Once there, I bypassed the check-in counters on the ground floor, following signs to security on the first floor. I was met by an enormous queue of what looked like 150 people, which snaked from the front to the back of the hall. I joined the queue and made slow progress until I was approached, seemingly at random, by an attendant who ushered me through to an offshoot line. I’m not sure why this happened, but I was glad to be there as we moved quickly through, and was I eventually in departures by 0635.
There are a few restaurants and shops in the domestic departures hall, though many weren’t open at that time of the morning. I killed time in a noodle café until 0705, when the display screen showed that the flight would board at gate 6. My ticket stated that boarding would start at 0730, but I waited to join the queue until 0745. The flight was full, and I arrived at my seat (25G by the window) to find a child in it, next to her parents. The seat on the other side of the aisle (25C) was unoccupied, so I sat there instead.
Economy seats on Vietnam Airlines’ A321 are not uniform – there are four types of seat pitch and recline, ranging from 29-inch pitch to 31 inches and 4.45-inch recline to a 5-inch recline. Upholstered in a dark grey and green fabric, the seats were comfortable, and I was happy to be in the aisle so I could get out and stretch my legs.
AT 0755 I was offered a cold disposable tissue and asked to take out my earphones and turn off my phone for take-off. We waited another 15 minutes before the aircraft pushed back at 0810, taking off at 0820. I was exhausted from the international flight before, and found it difficult to stay awake but noticed that crew had left a bottle of water in the seat pocket in front of me. I slept for the rest of the flight.
We started our descent at 0905, eventually landing at 0920. As the flight was full, it took about ten minutes to disembark, but once across the gangway, I was through passport control and in baggage reclaim by 0930.
Despite the queue at security, this is a quick and painless transfer. Remember to keep your baggage receipt for staff at Da Nang airport, who will crosscheck this with the sticker on your bag before you leave.
Internet rates for an economy standard flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang in July start from £66.