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$18+: Bamboo Airways Has Officially Launched Service

Image: Bamboo Airways

A new airline is taking off in Vietnam. Bamboo Airways is a new startup airline that’s finally up and running after months of anticipation. Bamboo was originally scheduled to begin offering flights in October. However, the discount carrier has faced a series of setbacks on the road to its launch.

Most of the setbacks revolved around obtaining relevant licenses. Bamboo was able to finally receive its business license form the Vietnamese Aviation Authority in November. It took a few extra weeks for the airline to then receive its operating certificate.

What can travelers expect now that Bamboo Airways is ready to go? Don’t expect frills when you fly with this ultra-budget carrier. Bamboo is launching with 37 domestic routes to start. Customers in the region are especially excited about a route that will bring travelers between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for as low as $18. Bamboo is using a leased Airbus A320 plane for that route. One good sign for the airline so far is that many of the flights scheduled for Bamboo’s first day of service were sold out days in advance. Many of Bamboo’s routes are going for as low as $28 right now.

Bamboo Airways is offering fares in three separate classes. The airline’s tiers are Eco, Plus and Business. The Eco fare provides passengers with a randomly selected seat and small carry-on allowance. Bamboo Plus passengers get to bring along a checked bag that is slightly bigger than the one allowed for Eco passengers. Bamboo’s Business passengers are given a larger carry-on allowance. In addition, these passengers get to enjoy priority check-in access, priority boarding and lounge access. Business passengers flying with Bamboo Airways also get to enjoy seat selection at no extra charge.

Bamboo’s initial fleet is very small and comprised mostly of leased aircraft. However, that will change once it takes possession of some of the aircraft it has on order. The Bamboo fleet currently consists of one Airbus A319-100 plane, two Airbus A320-200 planes and one Airbus A321neo. A total of three Airbus A320-200 planes and 23 Airbus A321neo planes are currently on order. In addition, an order has been placed for 20 Boeing 787-9 planes. While Bamboo has officially launched, its fleet is far from complete. The airline is basically planning to work with leased planes for its entire first year of operation. The airline’s full fleet won’t be in place until some point in 2020.

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