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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.
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.
I 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.