Bamboo Airways Operates Its Inaugural Flight To London Heathrow

* Article updated 17:26 UTC 04/11/2021 with Bamboo Airways statement *

Earlier this week, Bamboo Airways marked a significant milestone in the airline’s short history by operating its inaugural non-repatriation flight to London Heathrow Airport. The only previous time that the up-and-coming Vietnamese leisure carrier has visited the British capital was early in the pandemic. Let’s take a closer look at this exciting inaugural service.

Bamboo Airways Boeing 787
The flight was in the air for nearly 14 hours. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

A long time coming

On the morning of October 30th, Bamboo Airways flight QH9051 touched down at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The airline’s inaugural non-repatriation flight to the British capital took nearly 14 hours to jet over from Hanoi’s Nội Bài International Airport (HAN). However, in reality, this is something that Bamboo has been working towards for a long time.

According to data from, the carrier presently has three Boeing 787-9 Dreamliers in its fleet. It received these in December 2019 and January 2020, and would have loved to have put them to work on exciting long-haul routes. However, the onset of coronavirus last spring meant that some of their early missions were repatriation flights.

As Simple Flying explored in May 2020, two of these rescue services to Europe were followed by a third from Hanoi to London. Since then, Bamboo Airways has been working hard to establish a more permanent link to the British capital. It finally secured slots at LHR earlier this year, with a spokesperson describing the UK’s busiest airport as a “top priority.”

Bamboo Airways Boeing 787
Bamboo Airways has had its long-haul plans put on hold by COVID-19 Photo: A320neoceo via Wikimedia Commons

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The first non-repatriation flight

Bamboo’s goal of serving London on a regular basis has now taken a step closer to becoming a reality, with the operation of its first non-repatriation flight to the British capital. As seen below, the airline proudly took to Twitter yesterday to announce the arrival of flight QH9051 at Heathrow. According to, it touched down at 07:27.

Data from RadarBox also showed that the flight had departed from Hanoi at 23:26 local time the previous day. This gave the milestone flight a total duration of 13 hours and 49 minutes. Regarding full schedules, a Bamboo spokesperson told Simple Flying that:

We expect to officially start the commercial operation of direct flights connecting Hanoi (Noi Bai Airport) and Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat Airport) with the UK (London Heathrow Airport) from the end of this year.”

QH9051 Map
The milestone flight cruised at altitudes of up to 40,000 feet. Image:

The pride of Bamboo’s fleet

The aircraft that operated this special flight bore the registration VN-A818, and was still in London at the time of writing. This was one of two Boeing 787-9s that Bamboo Airways took delivery of on January 15th, 2020. The Dreamliner is the carrier’s long-haul flagship, and data from ch-aviation shows that it also has a further 11 examples on order.

Despite being a leisure-focussed airline, Bamboo’s 787s offer passengers a great deal of comfort. These modern twinjets seat 294 passengers. 247 of these enjoy seatback entertainment and a seat pitch of up to 32 inches in economy class.

There is also a 21-seat premium economy cabin, where wider seats with a 38-inch pitch are laid out in a seven-abreast configuration. Finally, all 24 business class passengers have direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration, with full flatbed seats.

What do you make of this inaugural flight? Have you ever flown with Bamboo Airways? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.