Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways Takes Delivery Of 787 With First Class Suites

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Bamboo Airways is one of Vietnam’s ambitious airlines, and they just took delivery of their first Boeing 787-9, featuring a rather surprising configuration.

Details Of Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787-9

Bamboo Airways has some huge growth aspirations. The airline currently has fewer than 20 planes in their fleet, but they plan on expanding massively, as they take delivery of 30 Boeing 787-9s and 50 Airbus A321neos.

Just this week the airline took delivery of their very first 787-9, which they picked up from the Boeing South Carolina Delivery Center in Charleston. This is a big milestone for the airline, as it’s their first wide body.

Bamboo Airways’ 787-9s feature a total of 302 seats, including four first class seats, 24 business class seats, and 274 economy seats.

I wasn’t expecting Bamboo Airways to introduce an international first class product!

While I haven’t seen any pictures of Bamboo Airways’ new 787 first class, in business class they’ll be using reverse herringbone seats, which are great.

I also can’t help but notice how… bright the livery is. In a way I like it, but the lime-colored door does seem a bit much.

Bamboo Airways’ 787 Routes

The airline has indicated that they will initially operate the 787 on domestic flights, including between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

The airline eventually plans to deploy the 787 on medium and long haul routes to Asia, Europe, and America, with a specific focus on connecting Vietnam to countries like Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, and the USA.

As of now the airline hasn’t scheduled the 787 for any international routes.

Bottom Line

Congrats to Bamboo Airways on this very impressive-looking 787. I wasn’t expecting them to offer first class, let along reverse herringbone seats in business class. They’ve now gone towards the top of my list of airlines to review, at least once they start long haul routes.

With 30 787s on the way for the airline, it will be very interesting to see what their route network looks like. Both Bamboo Airways and Vietnam Airlines are hoping to launch flights to the US soon, and Bamboo Airways executives have even said that they hope to be flying to the US by 2020.

I’ll be curious to see if that actually happens.

What do you make of Bamboo Airways’ new 787-9?

Comments
  1. @ JDS
    Good memory, indeed they did. I flew them a few times into Africa from Paris. Some very interesting stamps in my old passport.

  2. I think the planes look great! Those lime green doors remind me of UTA (Union de Transports Aeriens), which used to operate the world’s longest nonstop flights* – prior to being folded into Air France in 1992.

    * On these very long flights the cabin crews were known for disappearing for hours and hours on end, prompting an airline industry wag to claim UTA’s flight attendant motto was “We ‘ave ze right to sleep too!”

  3. Has anyone found any pictures of the first-class product? Would love to see what they mean by “suites,” but judging by their biz product I have relatively high hopes.

  4. Ho Chi Minh-LA is one of the most underserved markets out there, with Cathay Pacific as the main beneficiary. They’ll most likely have to command a premium for the route, but will the market favour it?

  5. But will it last? I can’t help remembering huge expansion of airlines in India in the late 90s/early 2000s, with dozens of airlines and 100+ plane orders, most of which are now defunct, and the rest (IndiGo, SpiceJet) flying mainly domestic routes with 737/A320/Q400s.

  6. The comment about UTA brought back great memories. Flew them first class from LAX to PPT for my honeymoon in 1970 on DC8. Purser wore dinner jacket and flight attendants changed to long Polynesian dresses after takeoff. We were only people in FC. Service was a bit overwhelming, unlimited caviar, iced Russian vodka, great champagne and food. Had different types of forks, etc. for everything, fish, meat, dessert. Purser stood at the back of the cabin for the entire meal service and cleared everything as soon as you put it down. Ruined my new wife’s expectations for all future travel!

    No frequent flyer program back then.

  7. Just a note. I still you still can’t make reservations with international credit cards. Only credit cards from Vietnamese banks are allowed

  8. There is a decently sized Vietnamese community on the US west coast. With San Jose having Vietnamese the most Vietnamese Americans in the US and outside of Vietnam. There are other areas in the US with a sizeable Vietnamese community but outside of the San Francisco bay area and maybe LA there is nowhere near a large enough community to justify a direct flight. But they could make the numbers work in San Francisco and possibly LA given that there would also be other traffic besides visiting relatives although that would be particularly strong in those areas

    It’s imperative that Bamboo airways is careful now. If they overplay their hand then they’ll end up on the scrap heap of airlines who couldn’t make the cut. The Czech Republic also makes sense as they have a large Vietnamese diaspora, third largest in Europe. Fun fact Nguyen is now one of the most popular surnames in the country

  9. @Noah Bowie
    There’s more than just a handful of Vietnamese on the west coast. In total, there’s about 2.1 million Vietnamese in the US primarily residing in California. Orange County, near LA, has the most while the Bay Area around San Francisco comes 2nd. I’m no expert on the airline market to know if this direct route be profitable, but I think it has great potential.

  10. @AncientFlyer

    Thank you for sharing that memory!

    I appreciate lie-flat beds and many of the benefits we enjoy flying in 2019, but all of my truly memorable flights took place many decades ago: first class on a Japan Air Line’s DC-8 from Anchorage to Tokyo, which like your UTA flight, featured a white-jacketed purser who watched the two kimono-clad stewardesses like a hawk, making sure every single aspect of the service was flawless… first class in the nose of an Air France 747, between Paris and Chicago, where an entire stuffed pheasant – looking for all the world as if it could suddenly take wing and fly around the cabin – rested atop a cart from which caviar, chilled lobster and foie gras were offered as the first of luncheon’s many courses… the upper deck lounge on Sabena’s jumbos, where the offers of Champagne and Leonidas’ Belgian chocolates never stopped…

    Best of all, the atmosphere aloft was so different! Flying was still seen as a privilege and it was all rather exciting. The flight attendants were hand-picked, meticulously trained, perfectly groomed, supervised on board, and proud of both their chosen profession and their airline.

    Reading Lucky’s brief review of his recent dismal first class experience aboard American Airlines only reinforces my contention that for all the technical and mechanical advantages available to flyers today, flying in the 60’s and 70’s was far more enjoyable.

  11. Good memories by VC10. Agreed. Flew UTA from lax to tahiti and on to sydney. The pleasure of flying those is rare now and never there on an american carrier especially AA. And loved the VC10.

  12. Hi there. I am the designer of the Bamboo Airways logo and livery. Just FYI, the door in green… no reference to UTA, I assure you! It represents the warmth and sincerity of Vietnamese hospitality, ie “welcome to our home”.
    Also, the shade of green is softer in person.

  13. Per a12/11/19 post on SamChui.com: “A spokesperson from Bamboo Airways have contacted SamChui.com and clarified the above seat map, ‘I’m writing to inform you that Bamboo Airways’ First Class is not available until our fifth Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.’”

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