On February 2, Ms. V.H. (based in Ho Chi Minh City) stated that she booked a flight departure at 1 am from Tan Son Nhat Airport and expected to land in Vinh City (Nghe An province) at 3 am. However, when the plane landed, she found out that it had touched down at Noi Bai Airport instead. By 11:30 am on the same day, she was still on a bus from Hanoi to Vinh.
Plane Unable to Land
“Upon landing, Bamboo Airways announced that due to force majeure, the plane couldn’t land at Vinh Airport. The airline provided VND 250,000 per passenger for bus transportation back home…” – Ms. V.H. recounted.
Similarly, on February 2, when departing from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Ms. Đào Ngọc Anh (based in Ho Chi Minh City) also had to land at Cat Bi Airport (Hai Phong City). After that, she had to continue her journey from Hai Phong to Hanoi.
Mr. N.V.H. (based in Ho Chi Minh City) reported that the flight to Hanoi, scheduled to depart at 6 am on February 2, was delayed. By 9:30 am, passengers were still waiting on the plane with no information about when the plane would take off. “I struggled at the airport and on the plane from 4 am to 1 pm before finally touching down at Noi Bai Airport,” – Mr. H. said wearily.
Representatives of Bamboo Airways confirmed that due to bad weather conditions, thick fog, and reduced visibility in the early morning of February 2 in northern regions, some flights couldn’t land according to the original schedule and had to adjust their operation plans.
Vietnam Airlines also announced that it had adjusted flight schedules due to the impact of fog in the northern and central regions, including Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi City), Tho Xuan (Thanh Hoa province), Vinh (Nghe An province), and Phu Bai (Thua Thien Hue province). To ensure safe operations, the airline rescheduled takeoff times from 2 am to 6 am for flights to and from these airports on the morning of February 2. As a result, 8 Ho Chi Minh City – Vinh flights, 1 Ho Chi Minh City – Thanh Hoa flight, and 1 Ho Chi Minh City – Hue flight were delayed.
According to airlines, as of the afternoon of February 2, many flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang had to be delayed by about 1-2 hours. Takeoff of flights from Noi Bai Airport also had to be postponed to ensure safety.
Surprising Tet Plane Tickets
Many people were surprised that they were able to buy plane tickets back to their hometowns at a reasonable price just before Tet. Ms. Tran Thu (based in Ho Chi Minh City) said she recently purchased 3 round-trip tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Binh Dinh for her family for a little over VND 13 million, equivalent to around VND 4.4 million per round-trip ticket. “About 1-2 weeks ago, travel agencies announced that tickets for infrequent flights were sold out. I was very surprised when I received the notification 2 days ago that there were still available tickets,” – Ms. Thu said. On the afternoon of February 2, Ms. Nguyen Yen (based in Ho Chi Minh City) visited the airline’s website to find tickets to Thanh Hoa for this Tet holiday and found that there were still tickets priced at around VND 3.2 million per one-way trip, which was lower than the previous weeks.
According to the research of reporters, airlines have added more flight tickets after increasing operational frequency and bringing in more new aircraft. The latest statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam show that routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Hai Phong, Thua Thien Hue, Pleiku, Thanh Hoa, Chu Lai, Quang Binh… currently have a high booking rate, ranging from 85% to 98%; some, such as the Ho Chi Minh City – Quang Binh route, have a booking rate of 89%-103%. With the airlines’ additional capacity, some local routes have become less crowded compared to the previous week, with some still having available seats. For example, the Ho Chi Minh City – Buon Ma Thuot route has a booking rate from February 3 to 5 of only 76%-83%; routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Tuy Hoa, Quy Nhon, Vinh… still have available tickets.
The busiest route in the country, Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi, still has many available seats. The lowest fares are currently offered by Vietjet, Bamboo Airways, Vietravel Airlines at around VND 3.4-3.5 million per leg; Vietnam Airlines offers fares from VND 3.6 million per leg for night or early morning flights. Compared to the previous week, the booking rate on the Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi route during this period has begun to increase, spreading evenly throughout the days with a rate ranging from 56% to 73%.
However, on the reverse route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, ticket prices for peak days from February 17 to 18 (the 8th and 9th day of the lunar calendar) are still very high – up to over VND 9 million per leg for Vietnam Airlines.
2-3 Extra Flights per Day
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, during the Tet peak period, all 15 wet-leased aircraft of Vietnamese airlines are put into operation. The administration is continuing to direct and coordinate with airlines and airports to increase capacity, with plans to add 2-3 flights per day on some routes from Ho Chi Minh City to regions with high demand.