Bamboo Airways’ A321neo Business Class: What An Experience

Bamboo Airways’ A321neo Business Class: What An Experience

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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.

Bamboo Airways A321neo business class cabin
Bamboo Airways A321neo business class seat recline

Honestly, the entire experience was more polished and charming from start to finish than I was expecting. There were pre-departure beverages and towels.

Bamboo Airways business class pre-departure drink & towel

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.

Bamboo Airways business class meal

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.

Bamboo Airways business class 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.

Bamboo Airways business class iced coffee

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.

Bamboo Airways departure gate

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.

Bamboo Airways queue for bus to remote stand
Bamboo Airways private bus to plane

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).

Private Bamboo Airways A321neo business class cabin

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (27)
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  1. Rabbi Single Malt Guest

    What was it a one hour flight? Get a grip man

  2. George Guest

    I'm from the "coke with lime" era, Ben...

  3. Tim Dunn Diamond

    It’s worth remembering that SouthEast Asian airlines including SQ and Bamboo only allow flight attendants and many other personnel to work for a short part of the employee’s live which keeps labor costs much lower
    They also tolerant diversity which should matter to the author and many readers.
    The service is indeed impeccable but it comes at the cost of sacrificing a lot of western values
    There has got to be a...

    It’s worth remembering that SouthEast Asian airlines including SQ and Bamboo only allow flight attendants and many other personnel to work for a short part of the employee’s live which keeps labor costs much lower
    They also tolerant diversity which should matter to the author and many readers.
    The service is indeed impeccable but it comes at the cost of sacrificing a lot of western values
    There has got to be a balance of service on western airlines but let’s not kid ourselves about why many Asian airlines excel at service and consider whether we are willing to go against many of our own human values just to get good service

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Do not tolerate diversity

  4. jns Guest

    It doesn't surprise me a bit that the congee was tasty. I've had in a number of countries in Southeast Asia and it has always been good. Was the bread also tasty? When I visited Vietnam more than 20 years ago, I was impressed at how good the bread was.

  5. Leviture Guest

    I recently returned from Vietnam and had the chance to fly Bamboo Airways domestically from Hanoi to Hue. I had a similar fantastic experience with them, with absolutely wonderful staff on the ground pre-departure and then crew on board.

    But what really blew me away was this: I made a horrible mistake of forgetting my passport on the plane, only realizing it when I reached my hotel in Hue and the plane was already...

    I recently returned from Vietnam and had the chance to fly Bamboo Airways domestically from Hanoi to Hue. I had a similar fantastic experience with them, with absolutely wonderful staff on the ground pre-departure and then crew on board.

    But what really blew me away was this: I made a horrible mistake of forgetting my passport on the plane, only realizing it when I reached my hotel in Hue and the plane was already flying back to Hanoi. The Bamboo ground staff at Hue was truly incredible, tracking down my passport that same night when the plane landed in Hanoi, texting the receptionist at my hotel so I would know it had been found, and having it flown back to Hue the next day. When I went to the airport to pick it up and asked how I could thank them, they asked me just to write an email to Bamboo Airways so they would be recognized internally and by their managers. Below is the email I received back from Bamboo. Talk about an airline that clearly has incredible staff across the board!

    Dear XYZ,

    Warm greetings from Bamboo Airways.

    We would like to express our sincere thanks to you for trusting and choosing Bamboo Airways’ services.

    It is truly grateful when receiving your compliment regarding happy and joyful moments on your journey with us. We have forwarded your message to Ground Services Department at Phu Bai Airport, Hue to promptly encourage our staffs. This positive message is a great motivation for us to put more efforts on the path of perfecting our services towards our guests as well as delivering comfortable and safe flights in the spirit of the Airline of Hospitality.

    Once again, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to you. Wishing you lots of health, success and we long to welcome you on the upcoming flights with Bamboo Airways with remarkable experiences.

    Yours faithfully,
    Tracy, Bamboo Airways Customer Service Quality Control Department.

  6. Petri Diamond

    Impressive airline, interesting report. Thank you! Have you ever considered flying Go First Airlines? They just proved to be worthy of their name and forgot 55 passengers standing in a bus on tarmac when the plane departed to Delhi. Flight GB 116, BLR-DEL, Monday 1/9 at o6.20.

  7. Michael_FFM Member

    Sounds great. Looking forward to the trip report of the Frankfurt flight.

  8. Bob Guest

    Hah hah Ben!

    You cannot probably realise what 333 means as a beer...

    It is very funny because it is like the French 33 so-called export beer with the same type of design but of course brewed in Vietnam.
    The Viets have done their own one: the 333.

    Nice you had it and you could not see all the meaning behind it.

    Excellent post.

    Thank you.

  9. John Guest

    I love Bamboo Air! They were trained right and its good to see that hospiltality hasn't dropped since they started.

  10. RF Guest

    Nice, seems like a lovely experience.

  11. Mike O. Guest

    Vietnam is one of the few countries in Asia who know their coffee. I would say Malaysia/Indonesia/Singapore and their Kopi also know their coffee.

    1. KK13 Gold

      I once visited few southern cities of India, they know their coffee. Granted they consume coffee with milk and has a very unique and strong taste, but those are really good! Specially the way they make it and the flavor.

    2. Mike O. Guest

      I would've thunk that they know their tea better than coffee, who knew?! I'm sure Ben would love to indulge on a iced chai! But yes, I always thought that Indian subcontinent would be more on tea than coffee.

  12. Ryan Member

    Looks like a great product for a short domestic flight! I will say though you shouldn't judge beer by 333, there are far better ones to try!

  13. Burritomiles Guest

    This is the type of content we've been missing for the last couple years! Glad things are finally returning to "normal"...and by normal I mean flying weird airlines in Southeast Asia and having awkward moments with the crew.

  14. Santos Guest

    The Vietnamese are a wonderful people. I can't wait to get back there.

  15. pstm91 Diamond

    Echoing the others, this feels like the good ole days again. I'll tell you why/when these are especially helpful (notably the pictures), is when it's like 2 years from now and I'm trying to decide how to fly to Vietnam. I'll Google "bamboo airways OMAAT" and these always serve as a great recap.

  16. Ralph4878 Guest

    Love Bamboo!
    Sadly, I'm no longer full time in BKK, but when I am in SEA (about 2 months/year now) I always get to Vietnam...flying Bamboo is just a joy - their employees seem to truly care about their work and their passengers, and seeing the airline succeed. I've only flown them between within Vietnam and between Thailand, but they are just a really great airline and I hope to fly them long haul soon.

  17. AA70 Diamond

    Loving this content recently, it feels like the good ole days of OMAAT of flying seemingly random airlines again this week. This one is especially useful as I'd like to fly Bamboo next year. Thanks for doing these trips, they're a blast to read!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ AA70 -- Thanks for the kind words, I'm really enjoying it as well! :-)

    2. Jason Guest

      I agree - this is a great review and I love this content.

      Whatever happened to Tiffany? We miss her and her reports as well!

    3. Tiffany OMAAT

      @ Jason – Awww, that's sweet! I'm here, just handling the operations and such for the business(es) takes way more time and brain power than pre-Covid, so I'm pretty wrapped up in the behind-the-scenes stuff.

      Besides, Ben has always (more than!) had the fun reviews and content covered, so while I miss having the space to write, it's realistically better for me to be focusing my efforts on the other parts for now. :)

    4. skylashtravels New Member

      My mum really liked her BKK-SGN-SYD trip. She didn't give a full trip report but also didn't say anything bad the on board experience.

      The ground experience left a little to be desired logistics wise. In BKK they only gave her a ticket to SGN, leaving her to get the connecting boarding pass in SGN.

      She had a 6hr layover in SGN and realized Vietnam doesn't do visa in arrival, so she was...

      My mum really liked her BKK-SGN-SYD trip. She didn't give a full trip report but also didn't say anything bad the on board experience.

      The ground experience left a little to be desired logistics wise. In BKK they only gave her a ticket to SGN, leaving her to get the connecting boarding pass in SGN.

      She had a 6hr layover in SGN and realized Vietnam doesn't do visa in arrival, so she was told to wait in a transfer area until 3hrs before the departing connection. An agent came a little after the 3hr mark she received her ongoing boarding passes and went to the lounge, and then boarded her flight without issue.

      I'm a little bit jealous because she's getting to try out carriers that I would have want to try. :)

  18. Patty Guest

    It looks like a really nice airplane. How do you decide if a new or foreign airline is safe enough to travel on?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Patty -- That's a great question. While I do put some thought into airline safety, it doesn't impact whether I choose to fly an airline or not. I explained that in more detail here:
      https://onemileatatime.com/insights/airline-safety/

  19. MaxPower Guest

    I love that you're back doing these uncharted (for your readers, anyway) types of reviews again!
    I have J FJ on the A350 coming up and RAR-AIT (as well as RAR-PPT) on GZ coming up soon and I can't wait to try them out!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

AA70 Diamond

Loving this content recently, it feels like the good ole days of OMAAT of flying seemingly random airlines again this week. This one is especially useful as I'd like to fly Bamboo next year. Thanks for doing these trips, they're a blast to read!

9
pstm91 Diamond

Echoing the others, this feels like the good ole days again. I'll tell you why/when these are especially helpful (notably the pictures), is when it's like 2 years from now and I'm trying to decide how to fly to Vietnam. I'll Google "bamboo airways OMAAT" and these always serve as a great recap.

4
Leviture Guest

I recently returned from Vietnam and had the chance to fly Bamboo Airways domestically from Hanoi to Hue. I had a similar fantastic experience with them, with absolutely wonderful staff on the ground pre-departure and then crew on board. But what really blew me away was this: I made a horrible mistake of forgetting my passport on the plane, only realizing it when I reached my hotel in Hue and the plane was already flying back to Hanoi. The Bamboo ground staff at Hue was truly incredible, tracking down my passport that same night when the plane landed in Hanoi, texting the receptionist at my hotel so I would know it had been found, and having it flown back to Hue the next day. When I went to the airport to pick it up and asked how I could thank them, they asked me just to write an email to Bamboo Airways so they would be recognized internally and by their managers. Below is the email I received back from Bamboo. Talk about an airline that clearly has incredible staff across the board! Dear XYZ, Warm greetings from Bamboo Airways. We would like to express our sincere thanks to you for trusting and choosing Bamboo Airways’ services. It is truly grateful when receiving your compliment regarding happy and joyful moments on your journey with us. We have forwarded your message to Ground Services Department at Phu Bai Airport, Hue to promptly encourage our staffs. This positive message is a great motivation for us to put more efforts on the path of perfecting our services towards our guests as well as delivering comfortable and safe flights in the spirit of the Airline of Hospitality. Once again, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to you. Wishing you lots of health, success and we long to welcome you on the upcoming flights with Bamboo Airways with remarkable experiences. Yours faithfully, Tracy, Bamboo Airways Customer Service Quality Control Department.

1
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