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Cathay Pacific blew out 2018 with a screaming fare sale in first and business class on flights originating in Vietnam. Cathay Pacific management will meet January 2 to decide on how they will handle the tickets that were issued. Update: Cathay Pacific is honoring the tickets.
Some travelers may be planning quick ‘direct turns’ in Vietnam, flying in and back out on the same plane.
Da Nang Says No Direct Turns
Dominicus and his girlfriend tried a direct turn today, flying in to Da Nang on Cathay Pacific and planning to fly right back out on the same plane. They ran into a problem – Vietnamese immigration authorities would not let them do a direct turn, saying it is illegal under Vietnamese law. This applies even to a later flight to the same airport as your origin, unless you enter the country (visa required for most nationalities).
They were not able to board their departing Cathay flight. Their tickets are still valid and they are trying to change it for a later flight, possibly subject to fare change. The Cathay Pacific station manager is helping them and they have gotten permission from immigration authorities to depart on a later flight without immigration penalty, despite not having valid visas.
Dominicus asked me to share their experience as a warning to fellow travelers. We will soon have further reports, and also from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the other airports that Cathay Pacific serves in Vietnam. ‘Illegal’ in one place or to one immigration officer may not universally apply.
No Mobile Boarding Passes, Either
Da Nang Airport does not accept mobile boarding passes for transit.
To transit, you must have paper boarding passes in hand in advance. You can contact the Cathay Pacific stations in Vietnam in advance to make arrangements to provide a paper boarding pass for transit.
I do not have reports for Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
What is Ok?
With paper boarding passes you can do normal international to international connections as long as not flying back to the airport you came in on.
You can also arrive, go through immigration to enter Vietnam, check-in for your next flight, and exit the country. This is mandatory if flying back to the airport you flew in on.
Many nationalities require visas to enter Vietnam. Some nationalities can use the official Vietnam e-visa site. (There are many non-official Vietnam e-visa sites that get higher search results than the official site. Be careful.)
Readers, please submit your reports from flying these tickets.