Vietnam Airlines and its airports: Far off the mark

On its global alliance website, Skyteam lures travelers with this offer: “Wherever a journey takes you, we aim to provide you with seamless connections and a hassle-free travel experience – before

Vietnam Airlines and its airports: Far off the mark

On its global alliance website, Skyteam lures travelers with this offer: “Wherever a journey takes you, we aim to provide you with seamless connections and a hassle-free travel experience – before, during and after your flights. One of our main objectives at SkyTeam is to act together to offer fast and smooth transfers for you and your baggage between flights. SkyTeam hubs help to make this coordination possible.”

Among the Skyteam hubs are both Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport and Ho Chi Minh City Than Son Nhat International Airport, main gateways for Vietnam Airlines. However, none of these airports offer the requirements that could be expected from Skyteam. Most surprising is the lack of transfer and connectivity services at Hanoi, which just witnessed the opening of a brand new terminal last December. Terminal 2 is bright, large, beautiful and empty. Incomprehensible is the fact that all the flights of Vietnam Airlines – domestic and international – are not under one roof.

The airline’s domestic flights are located in the old Terminal 1 with transfer organized between both terminals by buses. Unfortunately, collecting luggage and then check-in on domestic flights is all but a pleasant experience. In some of the transfer buses, passengers have to cohabitate with luggage with most of the space taken by bags and suitcases.

Queues for check-in for a domestic destination are just horrendous. The airline installed some self check-in machines but none of them seems to work. And ground staff at the airport to help orientate passengers is largely invisible. And then comes the icing on the cake: another twenty minutes queue for security screening, with only one screening machine working for four or five flights at the same time.

Most of these could be avoided if Vietnam Airlines would adopt the check-in through to the passenger’s final destination with luggage being directly transferred. as emphasized in Skyteam’s promise of delivering good service.

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Vietnam Airlines is the national carrier of an emerging developing country where service quality is a new notion after decades of war and deprivation. Vietnam embraced tourism only two decades ago, and since then, standard of services is on the increase. However, the country still struggles to deliver consistent good quality all across the segment of the travel industry. And the state carrier is still managed like a public service with little consideration given to the real needs of passengers.

Skyteam explains that its members have to provide minimum requirements for quality, but it seems that the alliance is incapable of controlling the implementation of those standards. Poor service standards will, therefore, continue to be the norm for a long time. The best way for passengers to address this is: do not use Vietnam Airlines hubs to transfer.

Long queue at security check-in

Nonworking check-in

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