I haven't said much about my latest upcoming trip. So here's the news: This time, we're headed to Vietnam. It will be our first time in Southeast Asia.
Sarah and I had some intense conversations about our possible destinations – Vietnam and the southern part of Australia. The good flight deals to Vietnam swayed us (tickets came to about $1,200 US each from Phoenix to Ho Chi Minh City, and then from Hanoi back to Phoenix).
So, how did I score such good flight deals to Vietnam?
I logged into all my existing frequent flier accounts to see whether they offered flights to the cities I wanted. Being based in the United States, my air mile accounts are with U.S.-based airlines â€¦ none of which thrills me for intercontinental travel. But some share airline alliances with my favorite carriers like Asiana Airlines.
The options from Asiana Airlines were challenging. The layover was tight for the flight to Incheon, South Korea, that would connect to a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. It was also on an Airbus A330, which I don’t much like (see my review of Scandinavian Airlines).
The price I got while logged into my account with a fellow Star Alliance airline didn’t impress me.
Working My Flight Options
I usually avoid airline aggregators like Orbitz. I booked on one once, and didn't have a great experience. But they're great for finding other airline options you might not normally consider.
Here's where I struck gold: I plugged my preferred dates into a Google search. I got a bunch of good flight deals to Vietnam cheaper than I could find logged into my frequent flier accounts.
Here’s what I came up with: Phoenix to San Jose – from there, we take a All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 to Tokyo Narita, where we connect to via an Air Japan 767 to Ho Chi Minh City. I'm very interested in the first outbound flights since ANA is a SKYTRAX 5-Star airline: The last 5-star airline I flew was Asiana, which is still the airline to beat in my book. On the way back, we have a Vietnam Airlines flight to Shanghai, where we have a United Airlines 787 back to Los Angeles and then on to Phoenix.
Good Flight Deals to Vietnam – and Easy Booking
The booking link for my flights took me straight to the United Airlines website, where having my account made short, easy work of the process. That means no sweating over frequent flier points – and the booking info goes straight to my smartphone. There, I can access it through the United Airlines app.
Should anything cause us to miss a flight, booking from an airline's website has – in my experience – also made getting back on-course run quite a bit smoother.
Expect some honest reviews from the economy class after this is all over. We'll have a lot of flying to do (including two trans-Pacific Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights), and I consider it a big part of the fun.
And yes, watch for some first-hand accounts of caving, hiking and exotic food-eating in Vietnam, too!
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