Bamboo Airlines B787-9 business class flight

Private airline Bamboo Airlines began operations in 2017 and has since grown significantly, operating to 21 of Vietnam’s 22 domestic airports as well as an expanding number of international ones, including London and Sydney.

The B787 Dreamliners used for these lengthy journeys were built with Hainan Airlines in mind.

The airline offers weekly flights from Gatwick and London Heathrow to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It’s probable that this one weekly trip from London to Hanoi will switch to London Gatwick due to the issues at Heathrow and the cost of operating from there.

There was a different business class on the departure trip from London Heathrow, which I have reviewed.

First impressions

I landed at Hanoi International at 2400 (midnight) in order to board QH23 at 0215, which would take 11 hours and 55 minutes to complete. Because to individuals checking in large, wrapped packages and bags in addition to trolleys of luggage, there was a significant line at economic check-in. But, the premium line was considerably shorter, and we were processed promptly.

Although there were few passengers present at this time and the process didn’t take long, getting airside requires having your passport and boarding card scrutinized twice: once at check-in, just before security, and once again, just after security. For safety reasons, everything must be taken off, even little watches.

Lounge

The Hong Song lounge, which is shared by numerous airlines and has a nice size and currently not full, is available to travelers traveling in business class. It offered a variety of hot and cold foods, as well as alcohol, including wine and spirits, soft drinks, and meals. Two massage chairs could be found in the lounge’s corner as well.

Boarding

Even with motorized walkways, the distance to Gate 36 was considerable, and when we arrived there, boarding had already begun (this was around 0130).

I was shown to my seat as I boarded the ship.

Even though it was late, I managed to record some video that can be viewed (above).

The Seat

On its lengthy B787 airplane, Bamboo offers two alternative business class seating options. I had sat in a Saffran Cirrus seat on one of the flights over (see the video link, above).

On this return flight, there were three classes—economy, premium economy, and business—as well as a novel sort of business class seat—the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, which is the same seat that British Airlines and Etihad Airways use in their new Club Suites.

With this arrangement, there are 26 seats in the cabin, which is laid out in a 1-2-1 (A D-G-K) pattern from row 11 to row 19. Only 19A and 19K are located in the front row, but from there on out, toward the back of the plane, the seating is 1-2-1, with each seat having direct aisle access.

There is a ton of storage space in the seat, from the large armrest on the aisle side that can be raised or lowered and has space for items to the side table with a flap that can be opened to reveal the AC power, USB port, and handheld control for the Inflight Entertainment (IFE), as well as additional storage.

The compartment by your feet has greater storage space, and there is additional space under the foot rest for items like a water bottle. With Bamboo’s own thick magazine, some sick bags, and a safety card, there is finally room for some publications, albeit this is already very full.

A panel with several pre-sets is built into the side of the plastic surround of the seat, and it works well. Also, it is out of the way so you won’t knock the controls over.

The IFE screen needs to be big because it is fixed and faces you directly as you sit in the seat, so it is a fair size (18 inches). The IFE selection was terrible, just like it was on the over flight. The table is hidden beneath the IFE screen and has numerous locations that may be changed using a lever underneath that releases it and, depending on choice, brings it closer or keeps it farther away. Because it is bifold, there are multiple uses for it.

Keep in mind that there is a shoulder strap that must be worn during takeoff and landing. Every Super Diamond seat I have ever flown had the same configuration (Etihad and British Airways Club Suite)

The surround of the seat in front is close enough for you to smash your head on it in the event of, let’s say, a sudden deceleration, thus it is vital that you face ahead but at an angle. In this BA Club Suite video, I walk over how to do it.

Despite this, the flight attendants didn’t seem to be aware of it, and only a small number of passengers actually used them, either during takeoff or landing at Heathrow.

Best Seat

They’re all excellent. The galley and restroom, which are in any event on this side of the aircraft are on the opposite side of the door by the door to the flight deck, didn’t bother me at all while I was in seat 11K in the front row window on this flight. The center seats are best if you are traveling with a friend or loved one, but I wouldn’t recommend sitting in the rear row.

The flight

We had the option of three soft drinks prior to takeoff. I went with lime juice. Champagne and sparkling wine were neither offered nor present on the ship. Also, a sizable amenity bag was sent to us, which sadly had all the standard goods wrapped in plastic.
Our requests for food and drinks were taken after takeoff. Two white wines and two red wines were available, including a chardonnay from France’s Pays d’Oc and a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, as well as merlot from Chile and shiraz from Australia. A tablecloth was spread across the table as part of the lunch service. For the first beverages, a tiny bowl of unsalted cashews was presented.

Verdict

A smooth trip with a first-rate seat, excellent service, and a contemporary aircraft. The entertainment options could be more varied and the food could be better, but overall, this trip is highly recommended.

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