Now we’re getting into the really fun part of this review trip. After flying from Bahrain to Singapore on Gulf Air and Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City on Singapore Airlines, I connected from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi on Bamboo Airways. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was to start the Bamboo Airways portion of this trip.
I realize that this is an emotion only some avgeeks can likely relate to. I had the same feeling as prior to my first flights on Azerbaijan Airlines, Somon Air, and Uzbekistan Airways. There’s just such a joy to boarding a flight and having absolutely no clue what to expect. And boy, this experience didn’t disappoint (and we’re not even talking about the Boeing 787 business class flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Frankfurt yet!!!).
While I’ll have a full trip report soon, let me just cover a couple of highlights of my Bamboo Airways A321neo business class experience.
Bamboo Airways’ charming A321neo business class
As I boarded Bamboo Airways’ A321neo, I honestly had no clue what to expect, as I couldn’t find a single picture of the cabin through Google Images. Well, it didn’t disappoint. The cabin had eight seats, spread across two rows in a 2-2 configuration.
The seats should look familiar — they’re similar to American’s domestic first class seats, except they were more colorful, had more legroom, and had legrests. Each seat had power outlets (AC and USB) as well. What a lovely, fresh feeling product.
Honestly, the entire experience was more polished and charming from start to finish than I was expecting. There were pre-departure beverages and towels.
Then there was a choice of three meals. While there weren’t menus, there was an iPad presented with the selection. I chose the only non-pork option, a minced beef congee with goji berries. I was also offered bread, fruit, and some yogurt. I enjoyed the meal, and in particular the main was quite tasty.
Now, observant, longtime OMAAT readers may have nearly fallen out of their chairs when they saw the above picture. No, the blog hasn’t been hacked. Yes, I ordered a beer. I don’t drink beer. I hate beer. So why did I order it? Well, that’s the only alcoholic drink on domestic Bamboo Airways flights, and I try to provide a thorough review. It seemed more interesting than ordering a water. Well, the only thing I can say with certainty is that I still don’t like beer.
Only after the meal did I realize the crew could make iced coffees as well. I ordered one of those, and it was delicious.
There were two flight attendants working business class. While their English was limited and I think that caused a bit of nervousness, they were awesome.
There were so many cute and quirky aspects to the service. On three separate occasions the crew bowed in the aisle while holding their hand over their heart.
Then Bamboo Airways also has these really odd automated announcements that I found to be hilarious. They’re very expressive, and all repeat themselves three times. For example, when the plane pulled into the gate, the announcement was “we’re heeeeerre, we’re heeeeerre, we’re heeeeerre.”
Oh, one other thing about this flight
I forgot to mention one other detail about this flight — while economy was full, I was the only person in business class. The flight left from a remote stand, and when I got to the gate, the gate agent asked me to wait, explaining that economy would board first.
After about 10 minutes, the first bus filled up, and there was a line down the stairs waiting for the second bus. At this point the gate agent asked me to follow her, and we worked our way around people on the stairs, and I was sent onto my own business class bus.
The bus then drove behind the economy bus, and when we got to the plane, I was allowed to get off first, and then those on the other bus could get off. It was kind of awkward, and probably as close as you’ll get to the Air France La Premiere ground experience while in Vietnam.
Being the only premium cabin passenger is always an entertaining experience, and this was no exception. Like, when a flight attendant is performing a safety demonstration just for you, or when they’re bowing for you and holding their hand over their heart, you want to pay just the right amount of attention (you don’t want to ignore them, but you also don’t want to stare awkwardly).
I wasn’t expecting much from my domestic Bamboo Airways flight, so the whole experience exceeded my expectations. I had a new plane with comfortable seats, power outlets, a tasty meal, iced coffee, and a friendly crew. To top it all off, I had the cabin all to myself.
At this point I was even more excited about my Bamboo Airways long haul journey to Frankfurt…
What’s your take on Bamboo Airways’ domestic business class?