We purchased our tickets online, and after reading several accounts of people having boarding issues because there was no space for a middle name, we made sure to have our middle name on the ticket. We added it as a second name in the first namespace.

We checked in online 24 hours before our flight. With digital boarding passes in hand, we headed to the airport. As we approached the immigration checkpoint, we were asked for our boarding pass and passport. My boarding pass was rejected multiple times, and we were instructed to go to the ticket counter for a printed copy.

Airport Check In

Arriving at the designated ticket counter for Vietnam Airlines, we discovered it did not open until 3 hours before the flight, so we explored the airport. The Singapore airport is vast and full of many beautiful things: shops, displays, waterfalls, and a butterfly garden. Grabbing a cup of coffee, we waited until the ticket counter opened.

Once the ticket agents arrived, we waited for our turn, preset our documents, and told the agent about rejecting the online boarding pass. He said there was no problem; he just needed to check our passports and Vietnam visas to ensure everything was in order. After a few minutes, he printed boarding passes, and we were back on our way to immigration.

Checkpoint Success

This time, there were no issues getting through the checkpoint. The next step in all the other international airports we have been to was to go through security. However, no security was found. We looked at several shops, had lunch, checked out the butterfly garden, and headed to our gate.

Singapore Airport butterfly garden.
Singapore airport butterfly garden.
Singapore Airport butterfly garden.

Boarding Gates

In Singapore, the security checkpoint is associated with the boarding gates, which was a new concept to us. The security guards did not show up until one hour before the flight departed, so we sat outside the secured area and waited. Once the guards arrived, we proceeded through security. I breezed through without a problem; Jim, however, was pulled aside for a bag check.

We carry a small first aid kit that we purchased on Amazon. We’ve only used it once for a bandaid, so all other items are still packed tightly in the small case. Unknownst to us, a small pair of scissors was in the kit. We have been traveling with this kit for a couple of years, and this is the first time the scissors have been noticed. The guard found them and took measurements. They were within allowable limits, so everything was packed away, and we once again found a seat and waited to board.

Please Approach the Counter

While waiting, our names were called by the public address system. We approached the counter in the waiting area, and the agent once again asked for our passports and visas. She said her colleague missed something. After several minutes, she returned our documents and returned to our seats.

Boarding began, and it went smoothly. We found ourselves on an older A321 that was clean and somewhat spacious compared to some US carriers. The announcements were all made in Vietnamese and then in English, kind of; we could make out some words, but it was hard to understand. The plane took off on time, and we were on our way.


Shortly after takeoff, we were served a complete lunch. We were surprised at this as the flight took off at 1:30 PM, and it was only a three-hour flight. We would have been lucky to get a snack on a US flight. Not only was the food good, but they also offered complimentary wine, beer, soft drinks, and a meal.

Lunch on Vietnam Airlines


Vietnam airlines entertainment

The entertainment system was another matter. The seats did not have seatback entertainment systems, but some movies and music were available on the airline’s app. The selection was tiny, and we were all in Vietnamese, so we settled in with our phones and Kindles and entertained ourselves for the duration of the flight.

We Have Arrived!

The flight was pretty smooth and well run. When we arrived in Hanoi, we had to walk downstairs, which had been moved to the plane, and we were bussed to the terminal. Once there, we waited in line to pass through immigration. I had read many stories of people having issues with the immigration process in Vietnam, but we were blessed with an uneventful check and moved along.

We have a few more flights with Vietnam Airlines on this trip, but so far, we have enjoyed them and would recommend them to anyone needing flights here.