Vietnam Airlines has flown its first-ever flight to the United States. A Boeing 787-10 operating a repatriation flight landed in San Francisco, California, on May 7th. The flight is bringing citizens back to Vietnam.
First-ever US flight
VN1 landed in San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on May 7th. The brand-new Boeing 787-10 flew nonstop from Hanoi to San Francisco, where it made quite a scene. Midday on May 7th, the aircraft took off for Hanoi via an overnight stop in Anchorage, Alaska. Nonstop, the flight between Hanoi and San Francisco is about 6,400nm– right at the upper end of the 787-10’s range.
With passengers onboard, the aircraft has to make a stop en route to Asia. So, the flight is following the lead of most Asia-bound cargo flights with a stop in Anchorage. Although, the passengers appear to be spending the night in Anchorage based on tracking data from Flightradar24.
— San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ✈️ (@flySFO) May 7, 2020
On May 15th, according to the US Embassy & Consulate in Vietnam, another repatriation flight is scheduled to depart Hanoi for Washington-Dulles (IAD). The pricing for that flight is $1000. Vietnam Airlines will likely also be flying Vietnamese citizens back from Washington.
The Boeing 787-10
Vietnam Airlines took its first Boeing 787-10 last year and placed it into service on high-demand routes in East Asia. The 787-10 has 24 business class seats and 343 economy class seats for a total of 367 seats.
Also in Vietnam Airlines’ fleet is the 787-9. There are two configurations for this type. One operates more high-profile international routes with 274 seats in a three-class configuration with 28 lie-flat business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 211 coach seats in the back. Other 787s are in a simpler two-class configuration, with 28 business class seats and 283 economy seats.
To round-out the long-haul fleet, Vietnam Airlines also flies Airbus A350-900 jets. These planes are also equipped with business, premium economy, and economy configurations with either 305 or 323 seats.
Commercial flights to the United States
Vietnam Airlines has been eyeing flights to the US. There have been a lot of discussions about the airline launching permanent commercial flights ever since Vietnam received a coveted Category 1 rating from the FAA.
Eyeing Los Angeles as a possible destination, Vietnam Airlines, however, will likely lose a fair bit of money at first. Given the current downturn, and that Vietnam Airlines is leasing out aircraft, this launch will likely not happen in 2020, perhaps not even in 2021.
Vietnam, however, is a growing tourist destination. It has a different kind of charm, and its favorable exchange rate makes it a prime spot for tourists from around the world. But, the current downturn may mean that it will take some time for Vietnam Airlines to make this route work.
Do you think Vietnam Airlines should launch regular service to the United States? Let us know in the comments!
Simple Flying reached out to Vietnam Airlines for additional details. However, the airline was not immediately available for comment. This article will be updated accordingly