Travelers complain services at airports in Vietnam too expensive

The prices of food, drinks, fruit at the airports all have been found as much more expensive than that at the markets. A 350 ml water bottle, which is VND4,000 at supermarket, is sold at VND15,000-25,000 at the airport. A kilo of apple, which can be bought from a vendor at VND20,000. Meanwhile, a pack of 1.5 kilo is sold at VND85,000 at Noi Bai. Especially, a tiny pack of snacks, which has the sale price of VND5,000, is available at the airport at VND20,000.

In general, the prices posted at private owned kiosks here are 20-40 percent higher than the prices at state owned enterprises’ kiosks. The price gap could be up to VND45,000 for a glass of orange juice, VND10,000 for a glass of ice tea.

While the service fees are sky high, the service quality is not high at all. Joe, a Thai traveler, complained that only after he repeatedly asked to clean a table at an airport café, his demand was satisfied, but the waiter just did this perfunctorily with some tissues.

After having a bowl of instant noodle which cost him VND40,000, Joe noted that the services at Noi Bai is far worse than at the Bangkok airport.

“There are many shops and wide range of goods for choice. The prices, of course, are more expensive at the airport, but the quality is quite good,” he said.

Meanwhile, the service providers at the airport said that they have to charge high fees on food and services because the retail premises rents at the airport are as high as the A-class office rents.

Dang Xuan Cu, General Director of Nasco, said the company has to pay $40 per a month for every square meter of the premises at the airport. Meanwhile, the premises at more advantageous positions would be 20-30 percent more expensive.

Besides, like other companies which do business at the airport, Nasco has to pay one percent of total revenue every year to the airport authorities. “As we have to bear a lot of kinds of fees, while we have to pay higher for workers, we have to raise the sale prices to cover expenses,” Cu explained.

Nguyen Thi Hien from Nasco said that she has to seek the permission every time when she plans to raise the sale prices of goods or services, because Nasco is the enterprise where the state holds 51 percent of stakes. Meanwhile, private run kiosks can set up prices themselves.

Meanwhile, a businessman noted that he feels as if he goes to a market when setting foot in Noi Bai, while Noi Bai should be the place for passengers to stay for relax while waiting for their flights. This could be a reason which explains why Vietnam finds it hard to attract foreign travelers to the country.