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The Lack of Air Tickets for Tet Flights

The traditional Tet holiday will come only in three months, but air tickets for Tet flights are nearly running out.

Thuy Linh, a teacher in Tan Binh district of Ho Chi Minh City, said that she has been hunting for air tickets for the last month. Linh said that she and her 4-member family plans to return to Hai Duong province to celebrate the 2012 Tet. She successfully booked a ticket for the Hanoi-HCM City flight in August 2011. Meanwhile, she still cannot book the tickets for the HCM City-Hanoi flight.

Linh complains that she contacted nearly 10 booking agents in HCM City, but the only answer she got from the agents was that the tickets ran out.

Air tickets running out too soon

Hung, an officer of a media company in district 1 of HCM City, said that he has been trying to book tickets online for the HCM City-Hue City flight since mid August, when the air carriers released notice about the air ticket sale for Tet flights.

Hung has not found any tickets so far, but he remains patient enough not to “give up the game”. He said that he accesses to the websites of the air carriers once every several days, hoping to see someone who gives back tickets or wants to change the departure time. However, he has found no one.

Hung also called a lot of booking agents in HCM City, but he was told that the booking agents were running out of tickets. “I have been told to book business class ticket, worth 4.4 million dong, but I cannot afford such a high price,” he complained.

The people, who have the demand for traveling from HCM City to the cities in the central region or the north, all complain that it is very difficult to buy tickets for Tet flights. In 2011, the national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar both began selling air tickets for Tet flights in August 2011.

On the official websites of air carriers, one would easily realize that tickets have run out for the flights from HCM City to Vinh, Da Nang, Hai Phong and Hanoi Cities on the days from 23rd to 29th of December of Lunar Year (January 16-22, 2012). The lack of tickets is also occurring with the flights from HCM City to Hanoi, the most popular air route.

In fact, air tickets still have been left unsold for some flights, but passengers would have to buy business class tickets worth 5 million dong, including tax.

To date, Air Mekong remains the only air carrier which has not announced the plan to sell air tickets for Tet flights. Truong Thanh Vu, Deputy General Director of Air Mekong, said that the airline is still drawing up the flight plan for Tet holiday which is expected to be released in November.

However, analysts say that one should not expect too much on the air tickets to be provided by Air Mekong. Due to the limited capability with the fleet of four aircrafts, the number of air tickets to be provided would not be high.

Information unclear

On October 10, Vietnam Airlines released a notice that from January 7 to February 12, 2012, the air carrier would provide 850 additional flights with 155,600 seats on 7 air routes.

The Hanoi-HCM City and HCM City-Hanoi flights, the HCM City-Da Nang and Da Nang-HCM City flights, for example, would have 142,000 more seats (110 percent of ordinary days). More flights on the routes from HCM City to Hai Phong, Buon Ma Thuot, Pleiku, Quy Nhon and Nha Trang will also be provided. However, it is still unclear when the air tickets for the additional flights would be available. Even booking agents also said they have no information about the time when airlines would begin selling tickets.

Meanwhile, doubts have been raised that airlines deliberately delay the announcement about the air ticket sale plan, because they are waiting for the proposal to raise the ceiling airfare to be approved. In mid September 2011, airlines proposed the Ministry of Finance to increase the airfare by 1.5 times, reasoning that the input costs have increased sharply.

If the proposal is approved, the highest airfare for the HCM City-Hanoi route would reach 8 million dong per ticket.

Vietnam Travel Company, Vietnam Travel Agency

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