Monday, September 12, 2011

Tokyo/Vietnam July 2011 - Vietnam Airlines 1943 Economy Class (DAD - CXR)

***This post is part 15 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

The night before leaving Hoi An, I inquired the front desk at the Ha An Hotel about the cost of a private car to the international airport in Da Nang. I was told $25 USD, which seemed a bit steep, but since the airport was about 30-40 minutes away, I didn't bother looking for cheaper alternatives. Our flight departure time was 10:20 am, and we decided to leave the hotel by 8:00 am.

Da Nang International Airport is currently undergoing major construction to build a brand new $84 million terminal, and from the looks of things at the old terminal, it's badly needed. Despite being the 3rd busiest airport in Vietnam, the facilities were extremely outdated. Services airside were poor, with just a few gift shops and snack vendors, but surprisingly, there was free WiFi (or maybe we were just stealing WiFi from some unlocked router). The waiting area was crowded, and became almost completely full as more flights were preparing to depart.

Vietnam Airlines 1943
ATR 72-500
Da Nang (DAD) - Cam Ranh (CXR)
Wednesday July 13, 2011
Departure: 10:20 AM (scheduled)
Arrival: 11:45 AM (scheduled)
Duration: 1h 25m (scheduled)
Seat: 1B (Economy)

Boarding was via bus once again, but I was excited to be able to take some closer pictures of our ATR 72-500. Only the back door was used for boarding, as the forward door looked like it was only for cargo. I quickly realized that we had been assigned the bulkhead seats, which offered plenty of legroom. Take-off is always fun on an ATR, as the roar of the propellers hum in your ear and the climb just feels a little bumpier than the typical jet aircraft.

Taxiing to the runway, with new terminal under construction

The plane looked to be near 100% full in the economy-only arrangement. There were 3 flight attendants, and all of them were very friendly with smiles consistently throughout the flight. This was a noticeable improvement over the HAN-HUI flight a few days prior. Service was quick and efficient, as it should be since all they really needed to do was hand out a small bottle of water to each passenger. It's a shame no other food or drink choices are available for these short domestic Vietnam Airlines flights, as they could probably create some extra revenue from all the tourists that frequent these routes.

Soon, we landed at Cam Ranh International Airport, approximately 20 miles outside of Nha Trang. We disembarked on the tarmac and took a quick bus ride to the terminal. The airport itself was noticeably newer than Da Nang International (I'll have pictures for the CXR-SGN post), and it was very quick and easy to book the airport taxi in the arrivals hall for about $15 USD direct to our hotel.

 Cam Ranh International Airport

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