Air tickets sell fast after domestic routes reopen

By Minh Long   October 9, 2021 | 06:42 pm PT
Air tickets sell fast after domestic routes reopen
Aircraft at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, September 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has sold more than 80 percent of seats on domestic flights after ticket sales opened Oct. 10.

Flights between Hanoi and HCMC, and HCMC and the central localities of Thanh Hoa and Hue, Hanoi and Da Nang, have been the most booked.

Flights on these routes are almost full on Oct 10-12, according to a Vietnam Airlines representative. One way tickets on the Hanoi - HCMC and HCMC - Thanh Hoa routes cost VND3.5 million ($154) each; HCMC- Hue and Hanoi - Da Nang, VND2.4 million each.

"I have tried to book a flight back to Hanoi, but the Vietnam Airlines website informed me seats have already been fully booked till Oct. 13," Bui Ngoc Quang, a quality assurance officer at the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities, told VnExpress International Saturday afternoon.

Quang said he wants to fly back to his hometown, a village in Hanoi’s outskirts, as soon as possible, because his wife had recently given birth to a girl baby, their first child, but he has been unable to meet them for weeks. In late August, aviation authorities had instructed airlines to stop selling tickets until further notice as the Covid-19 outbreak raged.

"Tickets for later flights, from Oct. 14-20, are still available, but a one-way fare more than doubled to over VND7.6 million ($334.48), too costly for me," he said.

The government has approved a pilot reopening of several domestic air routes from Oct. 10-20 with further adjustments being made later. National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, assigned to resume Hanoi-HCMC flights, runs only one return flight a day, with most tickets sold out due to high demand.

A little bit luckier than Quang, Nguyen Thi Hang, a public servant in the northern city of Hai Phong stuck in HCMC due to strict social distancing in August and September, managed to book a single ticket with budget carrier Vietjet Air at a total of VND3.1 million.

"I have accessed Vietjet Air numerous times, but tickets for flights I want, either several days after Oct. 10 or before Oct. 20, were sold out. Eventually, I succeeded in booking a flight on Oct. 17," she said.

Aviation authorities have decided to restart flights on 19 routes on Sunday after the government approved a 11-day pilot resumption plan.

Until Oct. 20, there will be one return flight daily on all the routes, including the Hanoi-HCMC.

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