Thanks to the availability of cheap flights from VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific Airline (JPA) in Việt Nam, travelling by air has become affordable to more people.
A survey shows that those who are flying for the first time account for around 40 percent of the total number of passengers of local airlines.
Incidents involving these clients before and during flights are often quite unique.
It seems that many passengers haven’t left their villages for decades, since they present identification papers that were granted in the 1970s, says one airline.
“I will only go if an airline leader comes with”
After delaying a flight from Hà Nội to Hồ Chí Minh City for an hour ‘for correcting a technical problem’, as announced by the carrier, JPA encountered another problem.
A group of passengers registered for the flight refused to board the plane since they believed ‘this carrier is not safe’.
The ground service staff explained and tried to persuade, to no avail.
The airline even agreed to refund the cost of their tickets, but the group refused.
“The passengers then demanded to have a leader of our airline accompany them [as a way to ensure safety].”
Recalled Mr. Lươngg Hoài Nam – JPA former general director.
“It was almost 18:00pm.
If you make things tense, it costs a lot of time, as your staff will have to select and unload their luggage.
It badly affects others passengers.
“I decided to call the manager of the ground service center at Nội Bài Airport.
He was about to go home after his shift.
I asked him to accompany the group of passengers to the check-in counter as the representative of Jetstar and tell them that he will board the plane with them.”
The manager was only able to return home at midnight because of the unprecedented event.
On the opening day of VietJet Air’s office and its first flight, a group of passengers came to the building at 39B Trường Sơn Street, Tân Bình District, Hồ Chí Minh City.
They quickly entered an elevator and went up to the eighth floor, where a VietJet Air ticket sales office is located.
They told Ms. Võ Hồ Anh Thy, head of the ground service group of VietJet, that they had come to check in for a flight to HàNội.
None of the passengers had ever flown, so they simply went to where they bought their tickets.
In the end, only one man in the group was actually flying; the remainder had come along to see him off, Thy recalled.
JPA air hostess Thùy Linh told a story about an elderly passenger on one flight.
She remained sitting in the plane even though all the others had left for a transit vehicle waiting outside.
She refused when the hostesses advised her to exit the plane, saying,
“My son told me that he will come and wait to pick me after I get off my plane.
Why do you want to drive me somewhere else?
I won’t go.”
An air hostess asked for her son’s number and called him to talk with his mother.
After that, she agreed to step down, Linh said.
Passengers who fly for the first time often bother airport staff by asking for directions.
After giving detailed directions, they walk forward a few meters and stop to ask another staff.
“In these cases, airport worker have to take them to the right place and escort them right to the door of the plane.
Otherwise, your flight may be delayed when we call them.”
Ms. Jacqueline Andrew Sigar, head of the hostesses’ team at VietJet Air, showed Tuổi Trẻ an image on her mobile phone of an elderly female passenger who impressed her.
She boarded a plane wearing a white rain coat for a flight from Hà Nội to Hồ Chí Minh City.
She refused to take it off, even though hostesses asked her to, Sigar recalled.
“I wear this coat in case the plane goes through rain and it gets wet.”
The passenger told Sigar as she left the plane.
Ms. Sigar also remembered two fashionable young girls who boarded a flight from Hồ Chí Minh City to Hà Nội, whose seats were right behind the cabin.
After sitting for a while, they began acting nervous as the hostesses and pilots prepared for the flight.
Soon after, one of the girls rushed into the unlocked cabin and slid a piece of paper into the pilot’s hand.
‘Call me …’
The message ended with smiley face, Sigar said.
As the flight was not taking off, the women were warned and moved to different seats.
In another story, a man tried bringing an 80 cm-tall potted tree to Buôn Ma Thuột Airport to check in for a flight to Vinh.
He was certainly refused.
After begging that the tree was precious, the man turned angry and blamed the check-in staff:
“Why didn’t you tell me at the ticket desk that this tree is not accepted?
I’d rather take a bus then.”
Problems with accented Vietnamese names
After going through a security check point, a passenger named Vũ Văn Cổn wandered around the terminal and was not aware of his departure time.
On the ticket, names are marked without accents.
So, airport staff trying to call him on the PA system began guessing his exact name and calling different names such as:
Vũ Văn Côn, Vũ Văn Còn, Vũ Vân Côn, Vũ Vân Cồn, Vũ Vân Còn.
None of which is his.
He said he was suspicious of hearing the names and started remembering his flight.