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Saigon-Bound Jetstar Plane Lands in Can Tho Due to Airport Overload

Last week, passengers on one Saigon-bound Jetstar flight received a Christmas surprise, as their plane was forced to temporarily land in Can Tho due to overloading at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

The budget carrier's flight BL266 departed from Phu Quoc at 1:10pm on December 25, according to Thanh Nien, but didn't arrive in the southern hub until 4:10pm. Though the plane actually made it to Saigon on time, its pilot circled Tan Son Nhat for about a half-hour before deciding to touch down in Can Tho and refuel.

Upon landing in the Mekong Delta city, a Jetstar flight attendant welcomed passengers to Saigon, prompting confusion from those who looked out the window. The flight attendant later amended her statement while the passengers waited for their second take-off.

Generally speaking, Tan Son Nhat is a hot mess these days. Named among the world's worst airports for the second year in a row, the Saigon facility already faces serious overcrowding issues. According to VietnamNet, Tan Son Nhat has not only exceeded its 20 million passenger design capacity but managed to hit 25 million arrivals this year, a figure the airport wasn't expected to reach until 2020.

Though Tan Son Nhat officials are now working to address customs delays and expand the airport's runways and parking bays, things are only going to get more stressful in the new year. During Tet holiday, Tan Son Nhat director Dang Tuan Tu expects the airport to receive 10% more traffic than last year. According to Thanh Nien, the airport will serve up to 670 flights a day in early February, though VietnamNet puts the number as high as 689.

If this makes holiday travel sound decidedly less pleasant, be prepared for further disappointment. VietJet, the country's premier airline for bikini-clad flight attendants, plans to operate 250 flights a day during Tet. In an effort to prepare its customers for the coming mayhem, one VietJet spokesperson told VietnamNet: “Roads to Tan Son Nhat Airport can get congested at any time, and aviation procedures might take longer due to crowds, so customers should be at the airport three to four hours before their flights.”

At this rate, Long Thanh Airport can't come soon enough.

[Photo via VnExpress]

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