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If Hamad Worldwide Airport Doha is the perfect on the earth, how does Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat Airport stack up?

Not too long ago I learnt that Hamad Worldwide Airport in Doha, Qatar was once more topped the World’s Greatest Airport by Skytrax. 

It’s the second 12 months in a row that the airport has been given the very best gong by the UK-based consultancy that runs the overview and rating web site for the airport and airline industries.

I’ve by no means been to Doha so I can’t judge the choice. Let me know when you’ve got by sharing your expertise within the remark part beneath. 

Flying continues to be an event for many individuals, so count on to see some get-ups that can blow your thoughts

Judging by its web site, Skytrax takes these awards – all 25 of them that vary from Covid-19 Airport Excellence to World’s Cleanest Airport to even Greatest Low-Price Terminal (is there one?) –  fairly severely. 

They define their methodology, which regularly tends to swirl about in thick gray murkiness when rankings like this are introduced throughout industries, particularly when cash and sponsorships are concerned.

However to Skytrax’s credit score, they are saying no cash adjustments arms within the course of – third get together sponsors aren’t even concerned, so neglect the chilly calls. 

Allegedly over 500 airports world wide are featured within the survey outcomes with all entries screened in order that duplicated or ineligible votes are deleted.

About to land at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC. PHOTO: Tri D Okay through Unsplash

Their data web page additionally contains among the survey subjects, that are fairly intensive. I gained’t embody all of them right here, however there are issues like the usual of airport web site data, public transport choices, availability of bags trolleys, immigration workers angle, and even phone and fax areas. 

Fax? Oh, that’s proper, Japan is included on this.

Within the overview of Hamad Worldwide Airport that I learn, and which impressed this piece, the writer formulated his personal (a lot shorter) standards: The Arrival, The Look, Test-In, Safety, Meals & Drink, Retail Remedy, and Passing Time.

Then on the finish, he provides The Verdict and charges it out of 5.

So it received me considering. 

How would Saigon (Tan Son Nhat) Airport stack up beneath this scrutiny? 

I haven’t flown internationally but, however I’ve taken just a few home flights since Vietnam has eased journey restrictions. Let me know within the feedback beneath how your expertise has been flying internationally into or out of Ho Chi Minh Metropolis this 12 months.

Up to now, I’ve flown from Hue and Hanoi for work, so with some trepidation tinged with nervous pleasure, I’ve determined to overview Tan Son Nhat Home Airport.

How for much longer, Mummy? PHOTO: Lengthy Itiga Nguyen through Unsplash

The Arrival  

In the event you’re a Low cost Charlie like me, then as a rule you’re flying finances, except another person is paying for it. Based on a report again in 2020, Vietjet Air, Vietnam’s first privately-owned low-cost airline carried 42.6% of passengers. In the meantime, Vietnam’s nationwide flag provider, Vietnam Airways, fully-owned by the federal government, carried simply 36.7% in 2019. However don’t count on any particular therapy if you happen to’ve flown low-cost into Saigon. Arrival normally means getting parked out by the previous war-era hangars, then herded onto a bus earlier than being given a circuitous tour of the sweltering sizzling tarmac and workshops with plane in items – not the best sight. It additionally comes with views of languid safety guards tucking into their lunch. And if that anxiety-riddled expertise isn’t sufficient, get pleasure from sharing the luggage carousel with the three different flights that simply got here in behind you.

The Look

Tan Son Nhat Airport was constructed a long time in the past and fairly frankly, it appears prefer it. Because the Vietnamese have embraced taking to the skies with extra inexpensive tickets and airways to select from, the airport is packed most days, particularly when these early morning red-eye flights are scheduled. In July, it was reported that airways had already flown nearly 21 million home passengers, a rise of 12% over the identical interval in 2019, and it’s seemingly most of them handed by way of Tan Son Nhat. This provides you an thought of how home journey goes in the meanwhile, a reminder to not fly throughout summer time holidays – like I did. On the drop-zone out entrance, it’s mayhem as regular as taxis double, generally triple park, and as soon as inside, your guess is nearly as good as mine as to the place to check-in. Carry on 2025 and the brand new airport.


In sporting parlance, you’re solely nearly as good as your final sport, they are saying. If I have been to make use of that criterion to overview the check-in course of at Tan Son Nhat, then I’d must say it’s superb. The rationale why is as a result of I used the Vietnam Airways computerized check-in machines final time I flew. There was a younger girl in attendance to assist out, she was wonderful and in addition took care of my check-in baggage. Other than some machines being out of order, the method was easy and earlier than lengthy I had my boarding cross in-hand and was on my method upstairs to safety carrying a snide grin from ear-to-ear as I handed the throngs lining as much as check-in the ye olde method. Why are folks so reluctant to make use of the automated check-in machines? Let me know within the feedback part beneath.


Sadly the safety queue on the home airport is the place that snide little smirk is wiped utterly off my face. Though the “line-up” has been configured for the higher lately, the sheer quantity of individuals coming by way of to get scanned is such that wait occasions are lengthy and private house is at a premium. Having mentioned that, they handle to pump folks out the opposite facet with little fuss and even fewer pleasantries, however hey, we’re searching for effectivity right here. If solely they might give us more room to gather our issues on the opposite facet and someplace snug with a little bit extra privateness so my bum crack isn’t revealed to all once I put my footwear again on.

Meals & Drink  

Vietnam is a rustic whose coronary heart and soul is constructed on meals and drinks. Whereas exterior the gates in the actual world, Ho Chi Minh Metropolis is a foodie’s paradise, contained in the gates, you’re trapped with overpriced espresso and bánh mì that tastes like sawdust. The upside is there’s a Burger King within the low-cost “lounge” with an automatic ordering system and supply individual carrying a backpack who seeks you out and involves you along with your order. Aside from that, there aren’t many different choices, so gas up earlier than you get anyplace close to the airport. In the meantime, sit again, get pleasure from your “meal” and depend what number of occasions your flight has been delayed. Thanks for flying with us.

A blight on Vietnam’s culinary repute – the airport bánh mì. PHOTO: Matt Cowan

Retail Remedy  

None that I seen final time spherical, however there are some outlets within the home terminal, I consider, simply ready to alleviate you of your hard-earned when you end up in a type of determined conditions.

See Additionally

Passing Time

As a lot as we pan social media and the web, they’re a godsend at this airport, which provides free wifi and is definitely fairly good, though it’s good to log again in each half-hour or so. There are additionally charging areas the place you may plug in and cost your units when you wait. If for no matter cause your battery dies and also you’re unable to recharge it, you may at all times cross the time marveling on the fashions getting spherical. To a sure extent, flying continues to be an event for many individuals and their households, so count on to see some get-ups that can blow your thoughts, from the Aussie yobbo in singlet, shorts and thongs (flip-flops) from the 80s to grandma in her pyjamas to uncle along with his helmet nonetheless on his head to quick leopard print after-five put on paired with excessive heels and one thing fluffy on them leaving a path of…nicely…fluff, behind. It’s an eye-opener, particularly at 6am within the morning. 

The Verdict     

As you may see, Tan Son Nhat Home Airport isn’t fairly Hamad Worldwide, voted the perfect airport on the earth by Skytrax this 12 months. There are many issues to dread right here from the second you alight the taxi to the second you step up off the tarmac and start your ascent of the aluminium staircase to the airplane door. However, if I have been to take the glass half-full method, I’d argue there are many long-lasting genuine experiences available right here in your vacation. In spite of everything, genuine experiences is without doubt one of the hottest journey developments for this 12 months.

Score out of 5 


Let me know within the feedback part beneath your score of Tan Son Nhat Airport.


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