Review: Vietnam Airlines A321 Business Class (SIN-SGN)

Jyaga likes (4/5)

Vietnam Airlines flight details

Airline : Vietnam Airlines
Flight No : VN 650
Departure City : Singapore – Changi (SIN)
Arrival City : Ho Chi Minh City – Tan Son Nhat (SGN)
Equipment : A321-200 (VN-A327)
Blocked Time : 2h30m
Seat No: 2G

Airline Background

Vietnam Airlines is the national carrier of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Founded in 1956, the airline chiefly operates from its twin hubs at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) and Hanoi Noi Bai Airport (HAN). In 2010, the airline became the first South East Asian carrier to join the SkyTeam Alliance. After an aggressive renewal strategy in starting in 2015, Vietnam Airlines today flies a modern fleet consisting of Airbus A321s, A350s, and Boeing 787s.

Booking Vietnam Airlines

I booked this flight as part of a one-way itinerary from Singapore to Tokyo Narita. For IDR12,000,000 (SGD1066, £650), I was booked in Business Class to fly VN650 from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh and VN300 from Ho Chi Minh to Tokyo Narita. Note that this itinerary included the stopover fee, allowing me to spend three days in Saigon. 

As standard at most airlines, I was able to assign seats in advance for free on their website. As far as I was aware, there weren’t any extra services to further customise the experience (like a book-a-meal feature, for instance). Regardless, I was very stoked to try Vietnam Airlines for the first time!


Vietnam Airlines operates from Terminal 4 at Singapore Changi Airport. Interestingly, all Vietnamese airlines operating from Singapore are based in this terminal. That meant lots of Vietjet and Bamboo Airways announcements!

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4

I arrived at Terminal 4 at 10.30 for this 13.10 flight. Having been dropped kerbside, I headed straight in to find an incredibly crowded check-in area for the airline. It turned out that the airline as flights to both Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi departing near each other.

Vietnam Airlines Check-in Counters

For this, I was relieved to see that the Business Class and SkyPriority lines were virtually empty. As such, I managed to get checked in within less than 5 minutes. Great!

SkyPriority Sign
Vietnam Airlines Check-in Counters

Following check-in, I headed straight past Singapore’s nifty automated immigration clearance. Nicely enough, they also have the latest security machines in this terminal – meaning no need to take out laptops or liquids. Sadly the machine did have issues though since it took 5 minutes for the x-ray scanners to work their magic.

Terminal 4 Departures


I went to the lounge once I navigated past Terminal 4’s annoying winding duty free labyrinth. Vietnam Airlines uses the Blossom Lounge in Singapore, which I’ve covered in a separate review.

Duty Free at Terminal 4
Terminal 4 Departure Lounge
Blossom Lounge Terminal 4


Whilst the boarding pass stated that boarding will commence at 12:20, it was obvious that was not gonna happen. For one, 50 minutes of boarding time for a narrowbody flight is overkill, and by that time, the plane hasn’t even arrived. Thankfully, the terminal had seating that was as good if not better than a lounge. You definitely outdid yourself again here, Changi Airport!

Gates at Terminal 4
Gate seating in Terminal 4

A quiet preboarding sequence was done at 12:46, which saw passengers requiring special assistance boarded first. General boarding finally started at 12:51, less than 20 minutes before departure. Yet this was no issue as I sound found out that Vietnam Airlines pads its schedule significantly.

Our Vietnam Airlines A321-200 (VN-A327)

The flight today was operated by VN-A327, an Airbus A321-200 delivered new to Vietnam Airlines in 2011. At the door, I was welcomed by the two Business Class flight attendants, who pointed me to my seat. 

Vietnam Airlines A321 Cabin

The Business Class cabin on the Airbus A321 comprises 16 recliner seats in a 2-2 configuration. Whilst something made the cabin look very outdated in pictures, it actually is quite nice! Interestingly, however, neither blankets nor pillows were provided at the seat.

Business Class Cabin on Vietnam Airlines
Business Class seats on Vietnam Airlines
Bulkhead seating

Despite that, I found the seat to be very comfortable, with enough padding to handle a significant delay 😉 (if you pardon the pun!) Each seat features a footrest and an adjustable headrest. The recline and footrests are manually operated with the levers on the armrest. Whilst power outlets are sadly not available, there interestingly is an old-looking radio function. 

Row 2 legroom
Seat in recline
Radio feature

In addition to the generously-sized centre consoles, the seat also has a collapsible cup holder. In addition, the tray table comes out of the armrest. Whilst the table is quite well-proportioned, it is wobbly.

Tray Table

The seat also had significant legroom, especially in the bulkhead row. For reference, the distance between my knee and the seat back is 29 cm (11.5 inches). The width is similarly generous, at 50 cm (20 inches).

Legroom in Business Class
Business Class seatback

As expected, there is no entertainment on this flight, whether through a personal IFE system or wifi connectivity. Instead, there were televisions that drooped out of the overhead consoles. Note that there are individual air vents at each seat. 

Departure from Singapore 

As we waited for boarding to be completed, Business Class passengers were offered a cold towel and a choice of pre-departure beverages. These include infused water, Champagne, or orange juice. 

Pre-departure Champagne
Pre-departure Oshibori/Wet Towel

Boarding was completed at 13.05, and the doors were closed 5 minutes later. A welcome announcement was made in Vietnamese and English by the purser upon the door closing. Upon the welcome announcement at pushback, the crew did a also bow, which is a cute touch!

Hello Bamboo Airways!

Of the sixteen seats in Business Class, only seven ended up being occupied, with me scoring an empty seat next to me. Yay!!

The safety video was played on the overhead screens, with an ad playing before that. The video was really long, only to be followed by even more ads afterwards… Perhaps for the recuperation of funds after the pandemic?

Safety video screening

Our flight time is 1h40m for a flight scheduled for 2h30m. We pushed back at 13.14, four minutes past our scheduled time of departure. We then taxied all the way to runway 02L, from which we would take off.

Traffic at Singapore Changi Airport

Hilariously, we passed by PK-AZA, which was the AirAsia A320 that took me from Jakarta to Bali a few days earlier!

PK-AZA, the AirAsia A320 which took me to Bali a couple days earlier.

After a short takeoff queue, we finally went airborne at 13.31. 

Departure from Singapore Changi Airport

Lunch Service

The seatbelt signs were turned off 13.36, after which the crew were quick to start preparations for the meal service. The flight attendant, Thuy, came to each seat to ask if we’d be ‘joining us for lunch’ – how posh! 

View from the wing

There were three lunch options, all of which were interestingly Asian dishes. These were mentioned verbally since a menu wasn’t handed out. The choices were: Steamed Rice with Seafood in Tomato Sauce, Chicken on Egg Noodles, or Fried Rice with Beef. Impressively, all three options were catered for each passenger. 

I settled for the seafood option, which was served with a nice potato salad with smoked salmon. Very carb heavy, hey? For good measure, a bowl of cut fruits was provided for dessert. A breadbasket brought by the purser soon followed. 

The main dish was lukewarm and featured squid, white fish, and prawns. Overall, it wasn’t too bad but not great either. Yet, I was happy that drink refills were proactively offered by Thuy. How lovely!

Lunch – Seafood in Tomato Sauce on Steamed White Rice

Both Thuy and the purser (whose name I didn’t catch) went back and forth to the cabin to see if anyone needed anything. After the meal was finished, the tray was taken immediately, which is some seriously great attention!

Green Tea

After a fourth Champagne refill, I finally declined another glass and was offered some coffee or tea. I had green tea, which smelled very nice. Although a menu wasn’t available, I managed to catch that Vietnam Airlines serves Champagne Charles Mignon on this flight, which was honestly not bad.

Inflight Entertainment 

Entertainment was limited to the two inflight magazines(?!) and whatever they were playing on the overhead screen. For half the flight, they screened a juice and smoothie-making tutorial… okay?! This was later changed to a feature covering Vietnamese water puppets, however.

Seatback pocket contents

It was probably the champagne but the flight was quite fun despite the lack of personal entertainment.


The single Business Class lavatory is located in the front of the cabin, right by the flight deck. Throughout the flight, the lavatory was consistently kept clean and spotless. Very nice!



The cabin crew all wore traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai dresses which looked really nice and elegant! Whilst the crew seemed rather reserved at first, they were very friendly and professional. The purser was especially so and she even struck up a nice friendly conversation as we waited for the door to be opened after landing. 

They were also very eager to help. Thuy, for instance, was very quick to go and assist the passenger requiring special assistance seated across when he needed to use the washroom. How thoughtful!

As such, I had nothing but good things to say about the lovely crew we had!

Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City

About an hour and five minutes into the flight, the captain made the descent announcement and stated out expected time of arrival at 14.15 local time. Sure enough, we started descent two minutes later.

The seatbelt signs were switched on 25 minutes before landing, and the crew came through the cabin to prepare it for landing seven minutes later.

Pre-arrival Oshibori/Wet Towel

Impressively enough, during this time hot towels were offered to each passenger, and promptly collected afterwards. At around 10 minutes before landing, both the purser and Thuy bowed in front of the cabin and thanked us for flying Vietnam Airlines

Landing at Ho Chi Minh City
View of Ho Chi Minh City

After flying past the sprawling Ho Chi Minh City, we made our final approach and landed very smoothly at 14.13 local time. This was way in advance of our 14.40 scheduled arrival.

View from our parking stand
The plane at Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Business Class bus

We parked at a remote stand and had to disembark by bus, unfortunately. However, I was glad that they have a separate Business Class bus, which meant there was hardly a wait. I finally reached the terminal and immigration at 14.34, to be met with a very long immigration line. Oh well.

Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-10 at SGN
Vietjet A330-300 at SGN
Tan Son Nhat Airport Arrivals
Tan Son Nhat Airport immigration queue


Coming into this flight, I never had any high expectations for Vietnam Airlines. However, I was really quite impressed with the service offered by the airline. In addition to the lovely crew, the seats were very comfortable for this short flight and I had a very pleasant experience. In that sense, I’d fly Vietnam Airlines again in a heartbeat!

A Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321neo
Kerbside at Tan Son Nhat Airport

Read more from this trip here!

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