Finally there is a budget carrier that has got the low cost recipe right.
Singapore Airlines low cost carrier Scoot only commenced services in June 2012 making it one of the newest carriers in the Australasian market. The success of this airline starts with the aircraft, reconfigured ex Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200s. To put it simply they fly only wide body or twin aisle aircraft rather than the narrow body or single aisle aircraft that most other low cost carrier use and passengers dislike.
You won’t find 180 passengers queuing down the aisle of the aircraft for just three toilets on Scoot – oh no here you have 9 toilets for around 360 Economy passengers and there’s even space around the toilets to stand up and stretch your legs. In addition to this there are multiple choices for seating and meals so you can choose how you want to fly and how much you want to spend.
In Economy Class, passengers have the choice of a standard economy seat, Super Seat or Stretch Seat. In addition to this the airline also has a small child free cabin referred to as “ScootinSilence” which is something I am a huge fan of and personally think all airlines should offer.
The standard Economy seats (clad in blue fabric) offer a comfortable 31 inch seat pitch (the distance between the back of one seat to the back of the next) and generous 6 inch recline. This is the same as most full service airlines these days. The cost to select your seat is $10 return.
For those that want extra legroom the Super Seats (clad in yellow fabric) have a 33-35 inch seat pitch. Generally the Super Seats at the back of the aircraft have the smaller seat pitch but here there are less seats per row as the fuselage narrows giving you more personal space. The cost of this on a return ticket is $66.
The next seat type is the Stretch (S-t-r-e-t-c-h-) seats (yellow) which also have a 35 inch seat pitch but are in the first row of each section of the cabin as well as in the emergency exit rows meaning no one can recline into your space. These seats cost an extra $152 return.
As mentioned above Scoot also have the “ScootinSilence” cabin which has Super and Stretch seating only. This cabin is small and private with a real feeling of space and comfort. All economy seats regardless of type are covered in soft fabric, generous 6 inch seat recline and are adequately padded for comfort.
I was lucky enough to fly in a stretch seat in the “ScootinSilence” cabin and it was worth the extra cost. I spoke to a few passengers on the aircraft and all agreed that paying extra for the super or stretch seating was good value especially since the final price is still significantly cheaper than the alternative full service carrier. During the flight I also sat in the super and standard economy seats and they are the most comfortable seats I have encountered on a budget carrier. The airline has comfort kits referred to as “SnoozeKit” which are available on board or you can pre purchase online for SGD25. The SnoozeKit includes an eye mask, ear plugs, blanket, socks and neck pillow.
As with any low cost carrier it pays to pre order and pay for your meal at the time of booking. This ensures you get your choice, are served first and you save a couple of dollars. I ordered a standard combo hot meal $14 which comes with a packet of Pringles and a choice of cold drink being a can of coke or green tea. This needs to be changed as passengers should be able to have the choice of water over soft drink. The meals are small (size of a ladies hand – order two if you get hungry) and the meal satisfaction with regards to taste really depends on what you order and your personal preference; I had one great meal and one that I really didn’t enjoy. If you are someone who values your food I highly recommend paying $19 for a premium meal or upgrade to one for as little as $4.50 on FlyBagEat fares. The premium meals are as the name suggests – premium- and you get a larger meal but remember this is a “no frills” carrier and in flight meals are never going to be a strong point.
In flight Entertainment
Again it is best to pre book your in flight entertainment whether in the form of hiring an Ipad loaded with movies or pre purchasing WiFi so you can stream movies to your own device from the onboard library. For those that choose the streaming option and have pre paid, the cabin crew come around early in the flight with your WiFi password. Make sure you have downloaded the Gogo video player App before boarding and have your boarding pass ready to confirm who you are! Instructions are in one of the booklets in your seat back pocket and it really is easy to use. The choices are limited (5 movies, a few TV series plus two shows for kids) but it’s enough provided you aren’t picky with your movie choices. I expected there to be quite a bit of variety within the five movies but three of the five were science fiction. The cost to stream the movies is $13 if you pre purchase or SGD16 on board. If you pre book a rented tablet the cost will be $17 or if you hire on board SGD20.
Staff, service and cleanliness
Call me old fashioned but I think cabin crew presentation is important – I don’t think the jeans and polo shirts that some airlines allow their cabin crew to wear are appropriate nor do they give off a good image. I was glad to see the crew nicely presented on both legs of the flight. The cabin crew were friendly, efficient and took safety seriously – there were no bags left on the floor for take-off or landing or seatbelts undone during mid flight turbulence. The toilets were clean enough and the cabin rubbish cleared at appropriate intervals throughout the flight. After the meal service the lights were dimmed in the child free cabin and again in the rest of the cabin once all the passengers had been served. At one stage I did press my call bell for the cabin crew but after waiting 20 minutes still no one came. I turned it off and pressed it again but nothing. This was frustrating but perhaps it was the logistics of being at the front of the cabin and staff coming from the back and seeing other call bells first or perhaps my call button was not registering.
Another important thing to mention is the company’s call centre. My travelling companion had to use this and was amazed that the call was answered within 5 minutes, she got to speak to a real person and the problem was immediately solved. This is important and one of the things that so many airlines not just budget airlines do badly.
Check in staff at both Perth and Singapore was extremely friendly and helpful.
Overall I was extremely impressed with the in flight product, incredible value for money and twin aisle aircraft. A fellow passenger stated it was as good as Singapore Airlines but I had to disagree as its nothing like Singapore Airlines, it is however arguably the best budget carrier in Australasia and it is without a doubt amongst the top 10 best budget carriers in the world. Scoot are competing on routes that many other low cost carriers serve but none offer the value for money and comfort that Scoot does.
Tips For Travellers
- Keep your boarding pass on you as you need it to receive anything you have pre-booked such as meals and in flight entertainment
- Stick to the baggage allowance – a standard “FlyBag” ticket only includes 15kgs of checked baggage – if you need more then upgrade to 20+ kilos at the time of booking
- The Super and Stretch seats are popular and very good value for money – don’t wait till a week before your flight to get one of these seats buy it at the time of booking otherwise you might miss out
- Take an empty water bottle and fill it up at the airport boarding lounges on board
- Changes to meals must be done 72 hours before the flight and ancillary items such as in flight entertainment, baggage and snooze kits 42 hours prior
- This airline has so many sales so “like” their facebook page Facebook.com/FlyScoot or join their mailing list to be among the first to know