Book Vietnam Air Tickets Without Losing Hundreds of Dollars

I had a business trip last week in Vietnam and squeezed out a spare day to fly to Hue for the day.

Southeast Asia is a budget traveler’s playground so I expected rock-bottom fares and instead the usual travel search engines and OTAs came up with only Vietnam Airlines and fares starting at USD 437.30.

Expedia SGN-HUE

Vietnam shares much influence from the Russia and China in how things work, so my first thought was a system similar to China’s, where government sets full-fares and airlines discount from those in approved ranges. Pull up China domestic flights on most international websites and you’ll get eye-popping numbers. Use ctrip, eLong, travelzen or other domestic OTAs, or the airlines, and you’ll get substantially cheaper fares.

I popped over to the Vietnam Airlines website and the fare was USD 76.

Vietnam Airlines SGN-HUE

The other major airlines in Vietnam, budget carriers VietJet and Jetstar Pacific don’t list on most websites, so go to them direct as well.

VietJet Air SGN-HUEI did not hunt around to find a local OTA since the fares were so cheap. That is often a recourse when airlines’ own websites make it difficult to ticket overseas, such as problems accepting foreign credit cards. Both Vietnam Airlines and VietJet ticket from my US credit card with no issue.

I booked my outbound on Vietnam Airlines and my return on VietJet for the sake of variety and a schedule that worked best. Neither operated anywhere near schedule or had much to offer beyond the eye candy approach of VietJet.

VietJet AdSo, book your Vietnam domestic tickets with the airline and don’t forget to check all three.

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  • I was just using Vietnam domestic itineraries yesterday as an example of fares varying based on point of sale, where issuing tickets in-country is cheaper than abroad.

    One does need to be careful with this, there are some locations where local fares are restricted to locals (mostly in South America).

    But for many destinations it’s always worth comparing local point of sale.

  • Joey

    Do these low fares show up on ITA matrix or only from the airline website?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Gary Leff – good point on those elsewhere with residency restrictions. For these their US/global sites listed the same fares and no residency requirements.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Joey – ITA only has Vietnam Airlines and only the huge price like the Expedia example.

  • walter j

    In 2013, I was unable to book via the internet so I went to the travel agency in the lobby of my 5-star hotel. They booked it, but instead of charging 5 million Vietnamese Dong (about $200), I was charged $5000. As my custom, I wanted the charge in local currency – that was a mistake! I didn’t notice until too late, it took 2 months to clear it up.
    Next time, if I book something in Vietnam, I’ll just leave the currency in USD.

  • Lee

    I also bought a tkt on Vietjet and was much cheaper than VN. From BKK-sgn.

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  • richard

    for thailand where is it best to go?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @richard – I don’t know a local OTA, I have only used the websites of the local carriers to get anything other than Thai and Bangkok Airways. For awards, JAL has good long – running promo rates for awards on Bangkok.