I know I have a reputation for only ever flying in premium cabins but in all honesty I rarely see the point in spending the money on short haul business class in Europe, when the seats are identical to economy and most of the time I have priority security clearance and lounge access via my Oneworld airline status already.
However, for a mere $95 it seemed like a no brainer to get a better seat, lounge access and fast track with Vietnam Airlines even if the flight was only slightly over an hour long. It may have been twice the price of economy but a $50 upgrade still seemed eminently worthwhile.
Although we had experienced a one hour delay to our boarding time I had really enjoyed our visit to the Vietnam Airlines Lotus Lounge and was hoping that the on board experience would be equally good.
There are two different Business Class configurations available on the Vietnam Airlines A321, a cabin with either four rows or two rows of seats. Our flight was equipped with the more intimate two row configuration, with a curtain rather than a bulkhead separating the cabins. I was honestly pretty shocked at how antiquated the interior of the airplane looked.
The seats had comfortable padding since they appeared to have been built in an era before slimline seats but the legrom felt tight when compared to similar seats in US domestic ‘first class’.
There was one flight attendant working in our cabin and she came round to greet each passenger individually prior to take-off. She first gave everybody a hot towel and then came around to offer either water or orange juice from a tray.
After take-off an amazing aroma began to fill the cabin. I was thinking we were in for a real treat but it turns out that it was just the crew’s meals being cooked. Business class passengers were only offered soft drinks on this flight. I went for a diet pepsi and spent some time just sitting back and enjoying the views.
The flight was delayed by over an hour, no food was served and the interior of the plane looked extremely worn and dirty.
However for a mere $50, I’d pay the premium for business class every time. To me the fast-track security, lounge access, priority boarding and larger seats make the incremental cost more than worthwhile, despite the comparatively subpar onboard product.