Domestic flights in Vietnam

Domestic flights in Vietnam are rising in both number of routes and frequency. The most frequent flights are between main cities, especially those with larger airports such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. There are also many direct flights, though at fewer frequency to tourism destinations such as Dien Bien, Nha Trang, Hai Phong and Dalat.

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The airway market in Vietnam now has only seven domestic companies. The biggest and most influential one is Vietnam Airlines, a state – owned airway corporation, which makes up approximately 70% of domestic market share. Vietnam Airlines (a Skyteam alliance member) is the best of the lot, in terms of routes, airline  quality and timeliness, but is generally more expensive. Its prices are tiered from Super Saver — the cheapest — up to Business Flex. Super Saver fares aren’t often available so the best fare is usually the Saver. Note though that the fares, even within one tier, vary at different times of day and the year so flexibility, and the willingness to fly during the early hours of the morning, could you save you some Dong.

 Following it are the private airlines named JetStar Pacific, which focus more on low-cost air market. JetStar is an established budget operator in Vietnam now and is usually cheaper than Vietnam Airlines, but you get what you pay for in terms of service and timeliness. If you’re not in a rush and have a mobile — they will text with details of significant delays — its regularly delayed flights might not bother you so much, but a five-hour wait at the airport isn’t going to impress anyone.

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Some other small and new airlines such as Blue Sky Air, Vasco and the latest licensed Vietjet Air are growing slowly in the Vietnam airways market.  VietJet is very new and from Hanoi only flies to HCMC. VietJet was slightly cheaper than Jetstar, at just under 1 million VND including taxes and VAT, with neither including a checked baggage allowance: for Jetstar that’s 100,000 VND (US$5) but VietJet doesn’t tell you what it is until you’re into the booking process.

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Vasco and Air Mekong recently open new routes to Southern islands such as Con Dao and Phu Quoc.  You can find travel deals by visiting their websites frequently. Air Mekong is a newer addition. Air Mekong is worth a look if you’re flying to Phu Quoc, Qui Nhon, Pleiku, Con Dao or Dalat as neither Jetstar nor VietJet fly there. As with Vietnam Airlines, its flight prices are divided into five categories, with some rather complex fare conditions — be sure to check before booking.

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What’s the real difference in prices between the airlines? We can’t offer a conclusive answer as it depends when you’re travelling and when you book, but to give an indication, we looked at prices for a month’s time and three months’ time, avoiding weekends, one-way between Hanoi and HCMC, which is the only route they all operate.

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In conclusion, if you’re booking online there is a definite benefit to booking in advance as you will be more likely to bag a deal. If you need to keep your options open then booking on arrival through an agent or at Vietnam Airlines’ office could save you money — and online booking is there as a backup.

Here is some Vietnam popular domestic routes:

1 – Ho Chi Minh City- Hanoi: over 10 daily flights back and forth, operated by Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar

Pacific

and Air Mekong. One way ticket is around $100.

2 – Ho Chi Minh City- Da Nang: daily flights by Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific. One way ticket is around $70.

3 – Hanoi- Da Nang: daily flights by Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific. One way ticket is around $70.

4 – Hanoi- Phu Quoc: flights operated by Air Mekong. One way ticket is about $85.

5 – Ho Chi Minh City- Phu Quoc: flights operated by Vietnam Airlines and Air Mekong. One way ticket is about $50.

How to reserve and book your air ticket:

To book tickets for your flights, you can either book online on the airlines’ websites or contact any trustable travel agency as you arrive in Vietnam. Either online or by phone, you will be able to check the time and ticket price. Price for domestic flights do not have a wide range between the agencies; however, it matters how long in advance you get your tickets.

Most air tickets now take the electronic form, which will be sent to your email. Make sure that all the details on the ticket such as your name and flight date are correct to avoid any unwanted problems.

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