While Vietnam Airlines has not officially announced a Vietnam to the US route, the airline has received its Category 1 rating from the FAA. This means that Vietnam Airlines can now initiate service to the United States in a normal manner and take part in reciprocal code-share arrangements with U.S. carriers.
The airline is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance which includes Delta Air Lines in the United States. Currently there are no direct flights from the United States to Vietnam which makes the total travel time amount to 19 or more hours with a connection. The service could start in late 2020 or early 2021 and is helped by the Vietnam government mandate to help grow the economy.
Which Aircraft Will They Use?
Currently Vietnam Airlines operates both the Airbus A350-900 and the Boeing 787-900 aircraft. The A350 have a staggered lie-flat configuration in business class, while only one of the two variants featured a true Premium Economy.
The 787 features reverse herringbone layout in business class and only one variant features a premium economy. Vietnam Airlines is currently taking additional new deliveries of these models and hasn’t said which will be used. A 2016 Airbus press released stated Vietnam Airlines would be using the A350.
Air travel to Southeast Asia has continued to rapidly grow over the past several years. There is both strong demand for tourism as well as visits by family and relatives to the region. Singapore Airlines recently started back up direct flights to the US and both Garuda Indonesia and Thai Airways are looking to begin service.
With more airline options and routes, the world becomes more accessible to travelers. As part of SkyTeam, award flights should be available when routes are publishes and that could be a great redemption opportunity.
The United States destinations haven’t been announced yet, but the likely candidates are San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX). Both routes would be in excess of 8,000 miles, but not long enough to claim a title of longest flights. It is exciting to see new city pairs being planned thanks in part to advanced fuel-efficient planes with long range capabilities.