Assessment: Bamboo Airways Enterprise Class 787 (HAN-FRA)
To kick off the return portion of my whirlwind Aeroplan journey, I flew Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787-9 enterprise class from Hanoi to Frankfurt. I’m a bizarre individual — I get an indescribable thrill out of flying new lengthy haul airways for the primary time, and I undoubtedly had that feeling as I boarded my Bamboo Airways flight.
So, how was Bamboo Airways’ 787 enterprise class? Whereas there’s undoubtedly some simple room for enchancment, it impressed me for probably the most half. The seats had been comfy, the meals was fairly good, and the crew was properly intentioned and pleasant. Nevertheless, there’s important room for enchancment with Wi-Fi, bedding, drinks, and the crew’s communication. Let’s get into the overview…
How I booked my Bamboo Airways enterprise class ticket
I booked my Bamboo Airways enterprise class ticket utilizing factors (you’ve gotta love what number of distinctive airline companions Aeroplan has!). Particularly, for the return portion of my ticket I redeemed 87,500 Air Canada Aeroplan factors to fly from Hanoi to Frankfurt to Toronto to Miami, all in enterprise class.
For extra particulars on how I booked that, see my publish about find out how to redeem Aeroplan factors like a professional. Aeroplan factors are simple to return by, as this system is switch companions with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Chase Final Rewards. On prime of that, there’s the Aeroplan® Credit score Card (overview) in the US, which is phenomenal.
Particular to the Bamboo Airways portion of my journey, right here’s the flight I took:
1/09 QH73 Hanoi to Frankfurt departing 9:40AM arriving 5:15PM
The day prior I had flown Bamboo Airways’ A321neo enterprise class from Ho Chi Minh Metropolis to Hanoi as a part of my outbound journey.
Bamboo Airways enterprise class check-in & boarding
I arrived at Bamboo Airways’ Hanoi Airport Terminal 2 check-in counter at round 6:30AM. There was fairly a line at check-in, with a wholesome mixture of German vacationers and Vietnamese vacationers. As is fairly regular on flights from Vietnam, individuals had been checking a whole lot of baggage and packing containers.
I used to be checked in inside about quarter-hour, and I then used the Tune Hong Enterprise Lounge, which I reviewed in a earlier installment. Boarding was scheduled for 9:10AM, simply half-hour earlier than departure. The flight was departing from gate 20, the final gate within the terminal.
My flight can be operated by VN-A818, a roughly three yr previous Boeing 787-9. My goodness, the outside of the airplane was filthy. I’m sort of on the fence about Bamboo Airways’ livery. Is it simply me? There are parts I like, although I’m undecided I like the inexperienced on fuselage and tail mixed with the infant blue on the engines.
Fairly bizarrely, there was nobody on the gate previous to 9AM, and the gate confirmed a Vietnam Airways departure to Bangkok for later within the day.
Simply moments earlier than boarding was scheduled to begin, gate brokers confirmed up, and displays had been up to date.
Boarding began at 9:20AM, although was poorly coordinated. Whereas boarding passes had been scanned, on the backside of the jet bridge we had been instructed the crew wasn’t prepared but, and we needed to look ahead to quarter-hour earlier than we may board.
Bamboo Airways 787-9 enterprise class cabin & seats
I boarded via the ahead door, the place I used to be greeted by the crew, and turned proper into enterprise class. The enterprise class cabin consisted of 26 reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, and this took up your complete area between the primary and second set of doorways.
Whereas brown isn’t my favourite colour, I a minimum of discovered some elements of the seat finishes and textures to be attention-grabbing, so I appreciated the thought that went into the design.
What instantly stood out to me concerning the cabin had been the orchids on the ahead and rear bulkheads, and the framed footage (together with the service’s “Extra Than Simply A Flight” slogan, which is used all over the place, together with within the bulletins).
Bamboo Airways has Collins Aerospace Tremendous Diamond seats in enterprise class, that are the most typical reverse herringbone seats on the market. Once you’ve flown one, you’ve flown all of them, apart from some minor variations (for instance, I discovered that Bamboo Airways had nice seat padding). I assigned myself seat 19A, the window seat within the final row of the cabin on the left aspect.
These reverse herringbone seats have two compartments alongside the aspect of the seat. One is small and never very deep, and is an efficient place to place a pair or glasses or a cellphone. The opposite one is a bit deeper, and has an leisure controller, the headphone jack, and an AC and USB energy outlet.
The seat controls had been on a monitor beneath the storage compartments, and had been simple to make use of.
Beneath this space was a small uncovered storage space, the place you may place a bottle of water or some headphones.
The tray desk prolonged from beneath the leisure monitor, and you must fold over one aspect to completely lengthen it.
A part of what makes these seats so environment friendly by way of area utilization is that the footwell is to the aspect of the seat in entrance. These reverse herringbone seats have decently sized footwells — they’re not significantly spacious, however they’re additionally not as tight as in some staggered configurations.
Alongside the aisle-side of the seat was an armrest that may very well be raised or lowered, additionally with a storage compartment.
Sadly Bamboo Airways doesn’t have particular person air nozzles on its Boeing 787s, however moderately there are simply studying lights within the overhead console.
All-in-all, it is a stable enterprise class exhausting product. It’s not probably the most innovative seats these days, however it’s a aggressive one.
Bamboo Airways enterprise class facilities
What are facilities like in Bamboo Airways enterprise class? Not that nice, sadly. Ready at every seat upon boarding was a pillow and blanket, which had been subpar. The pillow was tiny (the identical dimension as an financial system pillow), whereas the blanket was scratchy and skinny.
There have been additionally headphones ready at every seat, which I discovered to be fairly uncomfortable.
About 20 minutes after boarding began, pre-departure drinks had been served, and the alternatives had been described as lemon juice, scorching tea, or water. I chosen the primary choice (although I’m undecided it was purely lemon juice?), and that got here with a heat towel.
Every enterprise class passenger was additionally provided an amenity equipment, which got here in a cool Bamboo Airways bag. The amenity equipment had fairly a number of merchandise, together with physique lotion, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, a shaving equipment, a dental equipment, earplugs, a comb, socks, eyeshades, and repair stickers. As you’ll be able to see, that’s fairly a number of gadgets, although they didn’t essentially appear that prime high quality.
Every enterprise class passenger was additionally provided slippers (there have been no pajamas).
Bamboo Airways 787-9 departure from Hanoi
I used to be stunned by how full the flight was, as all however 5 enterprise class seats had been occupied, and financial system was fairly full too. As somebody who loves boarding music, I couldn’t assist however snicker and sort of dig Bamboo Airways’ selection. The airline was simply enjoying ABBA’s “Completely happy New 12 months” on repeat.
I’ve been listening to this nonstop since then on repeat (whilst I write this overview), and it’s sort of addictive. It’s additionally an unintentionally hilarious selection, for the reason that first phrases of the tune are “no extra champagne,” and Bamboo Airways doesn’t serve champagne!
Boarding took a while, and at 10:05AM the Dutch captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 12hr35min, and our imminent departure. A second later the primary cabin door closed, and several other minutes after that we started our pushback.
At this level the protection video was screened. It was fairly good, I assumed, given on how few planes that is proven (Bamboo Airways’ slender physique jets don’t have screens, so have guide security demos).
We had a reasonably fast taxi, and by 10:25AM we had been cleared for takeoff on runway 11R.
We had a easy climb out, and the seatbelt signal was turned off about 5 minutes after takeoff.
Bamboo Airways 787-9 leisure & Wi-Fi
After takeoff I browsed Bamboo Airways’ leisure choice. I had pretty low expectations, as I assumed the airline wouldn’t make investments a lot on this system, given how few 787s it has. Nevertheless, I used to be pleasantly stunned. The system was simple to make use of, and the leisure choice was pretty good (not wonderful, however not dangerous both).
There have been dozens of flicks and TV reveals.
I’m not an enormous film fan, however “Cougar Queen 2” made me want I may converse Vietnamese, because the trailer seemed hilarious.
I ended up watching a number of episodes of “The World’s Most Extraordinary Houses.” At this level I’ve seen each episode, however completely on planes. It’s a kind of reveals.
I additionally loved the map characteristic, and specifically the extent to which views may very well be personalized.
Fairly oddly, Bamboo Airways has Wi-Fi put in on its Boeing 787s, however as of now doesn’t appear to make use of it. The airline has a devoted web page for Bamboo Sky Web, however I haven’t heard any experiences of it really being out there. Hopefully that adjustments ultimately, as it is a characteristic that many individuals would worth.
Bamboo Airways enterprise class lunch service
The meal service was fast to get began after takeoff. quarter-hour into the flight, I used to be offered with the menu and requested for my meal desire. To be clear, I wasn’t given a menu to maintain for the flight, however moderately the flight attendant confirmed me the menu and instantly requested which choice I needed. I requested to take an image of the menu and drink record, and yow will discover that beneath.
35 minutes after takeoff I used to be served my first drink, with a ramekin of almonds. Bamboo Airways’ wine choice may be very restricted — there’s a white wine, a crimson wine, and no champagne.
The crew simply brings out a glass and by no means brings the bottle into the cabin, even in the event you’re asking for a refill. I used to be curious as to what was being served, so I askd if I may see the bottle. The white wine was the M. Chapoutier 2020 Cotes du Rhone Belleruche. It was completely drinkable, although some extra selections would have been good.
The menu is a bit complicated in that it makes it seem to be you’ll be able to individually select your appetizer, salad, and fundamental course. Nevertheless, as a substitute you’re simply requested which fundamental course you need, after which they pair both the Asian or Western starters.
I selected the Asian choice, so I bought a starter consisting of lemongrass grilled rooster with salad rolls, and an Asian model inexperienced salad. The starter was fairly good, and a choice of bread was provided with it. Bamboo Airways needs to be one of the vital closely branded airways by way of its inflight product. There’s no query of which airline you’re flying whenever you take a look at your Bamboo Airways meal tray.
The primary course was introduced out round 10 minutes later. I chosen the snapper rikyu-yaki with ginger rice and Japanese braised greens. I’d say the dish was fairly good, however not wonderful. This was a reasonably advanced dish, and it’s exhausting to execute that completely on a airplane.
About 1hr40min after takeoff, a trolley was rolled down the aisle, with a choice of fruit, cheese, and desserts. I like this sort of presentation, and the flexibility to decide on what you’d like based mostly on the way it seems.
I requested for a choice of fruit and cheese, which was properly plated.
To complete off the meal, I ordered a Vietnamese iced espresso, which was tasty.
All-in-all, I assumed the meal was fairly good. It wasn’t ITA Airways or Turkish Airways or Qatar Airways, however it was a tasty, filling meal.
Bamboo Airways 787-9 enterprise class mattress
After the meal service, I used to be greater than prepared for a nap, on condition that I didn’t get a lot sleep the evening earlier than. The seat was fairly comfy in mattress mode due to the good padding.
Sadly the bedding left so much to be desired. Bamboo Airways simply has a skinny, small, scratchy blanket, and pillows which are similar to what yo’d get in financial system. How do I do know that? Nicely, I requested for an additional pillow, and was knowledgeable there weren’t any extras in enterprise class. Nevertheless, I used to be provided one from financial system. I’ll allow you to evaluate the 2. It appears that evidently enterprise class simply will get a branded pillowcase.
I ended up falling asleep slightly below 10hr20min from Frankfurt, as we had been close to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
I then awakened round 5hr35min from Frankfurt, close to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Can I simply level out how freaking fascinating I discover routes to be typically? I suppose we had been making an attempt to remain to the south of among the world’s tallest mountain ranges, whereas then additionally avoiding Afghanistan, therefore the very circuitous routing.
Whereas I attempted to sleep for almost 5 hours, it wasn’t nice sleep, and I used to be typically woken up. Why? A few causes.
Initially, I actually don’t just like the Boeing 787’s window dimmers. Boeing 787s don’t have window shades however moderately have dimmers, and I persistently discover them to not be nice. The beneath is an image of the window shade within the absolutely dimmed mode whereas I used to be making an attempt to sleep. Not nice, eh?
Second of all, there have been two households with small youngsters in enterprise class. I commend the mother and father for making an attempt to maintain their youngsters entertained, however that consisted of a toddler crawling up and down the aisle for a lot of the flight, after which a younger youngster working up and down the aisle for a lot of the flight.
As a dad or mum myself I’m not judging, and I noticed the mother and father had been making an attempt and doing their greatest. However clearly that may additionally get in the way in which of relaxation for others. Honest sufficient.
Bamboo Airways 787-9 enterprise class bathroom
Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787s have three bathrooms in enterprise class. There’s one within the entrance of the cabin, after which two within the galley behind the cabin. The bathrooms had been fairly no frills, apart from a big orchid within the ahead one.
Bamboo Airways enterprise class snack service
As soon as I awakened, I made a decision to order a snack. The one cause I knew there have been even any snack choices was as a result of I took an image of the menu, as in any other case there’s no actual method to know. There are not any snacks within the galley, however you’ll be able to order instantaneous noodles or sandwiches.
I ordered the vegan instantaneous noodles, which had been superb. The airline doesn’t precisely put a whole lot of effort into the presentation.
Bamboo Airways enterprise class dinner service
About three hours previous to touchdown, the subsequent meal service started. Or extra precisely, at that time the cabin lights had been turned on, and heat towels had been distributed.
Under yow will discover the pre-landing meal menu, which was marketed as lunch (although I’m going to name it dinner).
To drink, I ordered a Pepsi Max, which was the one food plan soda choice.
The meal ended up being served round 2hr20min earlier than touchdown, all on one tray. I as soon as once more selected the Asian choice, which consisted of a seafood soup, lotus root salad with prawn, stir fried egg noodles with greens and prawn in oyster sauce, and blueberry mousse.
The meal was moderately good. I loved the starter, salad, and dessert, whereas I discovered the noodle and prawn dish to be fairly bland.
Fairly oddly, I used to be introduced 4 heat towels with the second meal — two earlier than the meal and two after. I’m undecided if this was resulting from lack of crew coordination or what, however that was a primary for me.
Bamboo Airways enterprise class service
I discovered service on this lengthy haul Bamboo Airways flight to be properly intentioned, however not significantly polished:
- Whereas the one male flight attendant in enterprise class had a superb grasp of the English language, the remainder of the crew spoke nearly no English (not to mention German — there have been no German audio system); for instance, one of many flight attendants didn’t perceive what milk was (I requested for a espresso with milk), and it wasn’t till I confirmed her an image of the menu on my cellphone that she understood what I meant
- There have been elements to the service that had been charming, like crew members holding their palms over their hearts and bowing at a number of factors through the flight, however the good service nearly got here in robotic moments
- Between meals, the crew was nearly by no means within the cabin to see if anybody needed something, however they did reply to name buttons
- The service didn’t really feel polished or personalised at occasions; for instance, if a glass was empty, the crew wouldn’t supply one other drink until you particularly requested for it
So yeah, I’d put the service within the class of being properly intentioned, however not essentially nice.
Bamboo Airways 787-9 arrival in Frankfurt
Round 40 minutes earlier than touchdown, the captain was again on the PA to announce that we had been 300 kilometers from Frankfurt, at 40,000 toes, and can be descending shortly. Moments later the crew already began accumulating headsets, which appeared awfully early.
The solar was setting as we had been descending, and it was a gorgeous night above the clouds.
Whereas it was much less fairly at decrease altitudes, I used to be excited once I noticed we had been approaching runway 25R.
This needs to be one of the vital attention-grabbing runway setups on the market, because the runway’s two different parallel runways (25L and 25C) are method nearer to the terminal. So touchdown on 25R provides you a tremendous areal view of the airport, together with the runways and terminals.
We had a easy landing at 4:45PM. The draw back to touchdown on this runway is that it’s a very lengthy taxi to the gate. It took us about 20 minutes to get to our gate at Terminal 2, the place we pulled in subsequent to a Japan Airways 787.
From there I headed to the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, the place I’d be spending the evening.
It was enjoyable to be be capable to fly Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787 on an extended haul flight. The airline provides a nice expertise, with comfy seats, fairly good meals, properly intentioned service, and stable leisure.
There are undoubtedly areas for enchancment, although, starting from the bedding, to the dearth of Wi-Fi, to the restricted drink choice, to the service movement.
I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with Bamboo Airways once more if the schedule and worth labored for my wants.
What do you make of Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787 enterprise class?