The Airline Punching Above Its Weight


With four airlines now flying between Australia and Vietnam, Traveltalk’s JENNY ROWLAND decided it was a good time to do a sky test. She was delighted with what she found.

I’LL CONFESS, I had not long heard of Bamboo Airways prior to flying with them on my first jaunt to Vietnam.

As I discovered, they are a relatively new Vietnamese carrier whose first flight was in 2019. What a time to start an airline!

Bamboo Airways is Vietnam’s first private airline to provide international services and is aiming to be the airline of choice for unique journeys that embrace the intricacies of Vietnamese culture.

Check in at Sydney Airport is smooth, swift and friendly and I don’t have long to wait before I’m enjoying the comforts of the Plaza Premium Lounge, which is open to Bamboo’s business class flyers.

It’s here I devour some tasty pre-flight scrambled eggs and fruit, washed down with a very good Aussie flat white.

On boarding Bamboo’s 787 Dreamliner, I notice it’s a very new plane which is spotlessly clean and even has real orchids in the bathroom.

The seat configuration is 1-2-1 so if you are flying as a couple, the middle section is perfect.

There’s plenty of storage, dimmer reading lights, a USB port and a universal AC power plug. There’s a large flat screen TV, noise cancelling headphones and a glass of lemon detox water served almost immediately by the most exquisitely dressed flight attendant, who introduces himself as Leo and asks politely if he can call me Miss Jennifer.

Well, I do declare!!

Bamboo refers to their cabin crew as ‘Sky Ambassadors’ each of whom radiate a sense of hospitality and dedication.

My seat converts to a flatbed and after take-off, which is around half an hour late, I acquaint myself with all the buttons that are going to make this flight as comfy as possible, particularly the recline button.

However, before I catch up on last night’s minimal sleep, Leo arrives once again with his iPad and today’s menu.

I’m not super hungry but when the food is this tempting, that’s irrelevant.

My entree is a delicious creamy pea soup with a prawn and duck salad, followed by barramundi cooked to perfection with a chilli lemongrass sauce. A very acceptable French Sauvignon Blanc accompanies the food.

Incredibly, my appetite has returned and I even manage some fruit and cheese from the delectable dessert trolley.

I am very partial to Vietnamese food and if the plane food is anything to go by, I can’t wait to let my taste buds roam in Vietnam.

While the entertainment choices aren’t as impressive as the food, I settle down to rewatch Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. I’m having Yellowstone withdrawals so it’s the perfect choice!

After making up some of our lost schedule in the air and making up some of the aforementioned lost sleep, we land in Ho Chi Minh City only 20 minutes late. Then, it’s on to the domestic terminal for the onward flight to Phu Quoc – the fish sauce island!

Overall, the Bamboo experience was very impressive. Efficient, friendly, professional and very tasty. This relatively new airline is punching way above its weight.

Speaking of weight, as a terrible packer who always struggles with excess, Bamboo’s baggage allowance is epic.

In business class, you get a massive 65kgs checked luggage and two pieces of cabin baggage totalling 14kgs. That’s 79 kilograms each – probably the best incentive you’ll get to give the credit card a real workout and shop until you drop in Vietnam.

In economy class, it’s still a highly generous 45kgs in the baggage hold. I was so impressed I have already booked my next adventure on Bamboo later this year.


Flight Details

Date: 29 March 29, 2023

Seat Number: 12K (Business Class)

Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Baggage Allowance: 65kg