Cathay Pacific Vietnam Fares – Vietnam May Prevent Direct Turns

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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 from HK Travel Blog and I have been chatting today, planning a reader Hong Kong meetup (tentatively January 14, 2019). Update: Dominicus has now posted on his experience, read here.

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.)

Vietnam e-visa

Readers, please submit your reports from flying these tickets.

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[…] News and notes from around the interweb: If you’re flying on one of the Cathay Pacific business or first class mistake fares and plan to go to Vietnam to start the journey don’t try to do a straight turn, departing on the plane on which you arrive in the country. […]

Fishnumber1
Guest
Fishnumber1

Could you please share us more information if HAN (Hanoi) airport allow direct turn? I am thinking about booking a single way ticket of Cathay Dragon and fly back by the same plane. The runaround time in HAN will be 1 hour which just meets the requirement.
Since all sectors are operated by Cathay group, hopefully I can check in all 3 sectors in HKG and get 3 boarding passes (HKG-HAN-HKG-JFK). Many thanks for your great information.

Debit
Guest
Debit

What about direct turns at jfk? Do I need to go landside?

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[…] first travelers have departed on these tickets and at least one couple has faced serious issues that resulted in their ticket from Da Nang being cancelled. If you booked this Cathay Pacific New […]

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[…] Cathay Pacific Vietnam Fares – Vietnam May Prevent Direct Turns – Rapid Travel Chai […]

robbo
Guest
robbo

How funny…..

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[…] relating to positioning to Vietnam and about these fares. If you are interested you can read the Rapid Travel Chai article here and the South China Morning Post Article […]

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

@DavidB – I’m in the same situation. I wonder if you could get 2 e-visas within 30 days. The visa application website will let you specify the number of days you want to stay. I’m worried Cathay would not let you board in YVR. Alternately you could do an e-visa for the first visit, then a VOA through a travel company for the 2nd visit.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

@Jeff note that the VOA documents issued to you by the Vietnamese Consulate contain your full name, date of birth and passport details plus the full details of everyone else who also applied at the same time! May be easier all round to just get a multiple entry hard visa which is a sticker on a page in your passport.

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[…] and are planning to get back on a plane back via HKG, you will be denied at immigration in Vietnam. Read this post from Stefan at Rapid Travel Chai for more details and to avoid a huge potential […]

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

Are you going to Vietnam? what to do and see in Vietnam? Can I just fly US to HK only and drop the last segment?

DavidB
Guest
DavidB

Suppose one can always no-show for the HKG-DAD flight as long as there’s no checked bag involved. My connection at HKG is 50-minutes (off the JFK-YVR flight though I’m F they’d collect you at the gate and drive you to the DAD flight so might be hard to dodge the greeter.

I’m concerned about the single entry within 30 days visa provision as my return to DAD is just 15 days.

Nate
Guest
Nate

Same here. I’m gonna be applying for a multiple entry Visa!

Debit
Guest
Debit

This makes no sense:
“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.”

Are they on a power trip? Why later flight then?

HChris
Guest
HChris

After Hong Kong Airlines honored it I guess they couldn’t face the bad publicity! Congrats to everyone who was able to book it!!! https://twitter.com/cathaypacific/status/1080373505806426114?s=21

Nate
Guest
Nate

The plot thickens!

How would contacting the Vietnam Cathay office provide boarding passes in advance for transit? Wouldn’t you still have to collect them there? Or would this be akin to going to a transfer desk, but they just have the passes ready?

Peter
Guest
Peter

I’d suggest asking for the boarding pass for the return flight already prior to departing from hkG to Vietnam. Cathay can usually check you in for that return flight with boarding pass printed – I have done turnarounds in Taipei and Colombo. Not sure if they can do it if it is considered illegal though – but in that case they might have mercy with you and let you forfeit those sectors (especially since a lot of Danang flights are sold out/overbooked at least in business class).