As a travel addict constantly on the lookout for cheap flights, I was brimming with anticipation when Asia’s newest long-haul budget airline, Scoot, was announced – and ecstatic when they promised direct flights from Singapore to Sydney and the Gold Coast.
So when Scoot first launched ticket sales in March, I snapped up a ticket to Sydney just so I could experience the “Scootitude” for myself – and see if the savings was worth giving up the comforts of a full-service airline.
Scoot offers three options for the base fare: Fly, FlyBag, and FlyBagEat. The price difference is simply the additional cost of 15kg check-in baggage (S$30) and an inflight meal (S$15).
I got a FlyBagEat ticket to Sydney and back at the delightful sale fare of S$151 each way, and the following were tacked on separately:
- Fees and taxes: $159.09
- Super seats: $30 each way (they cost less on shorter flights)
- “Convenience” fee for paying via credit card: S$9 each way
Total round-trip fare: S$539.09. That’s a sizeable savings over standard airlines! My only gripe is with the convenience fee – a particularly unpleasant surprise at the end of the booking process. Scoot’s fares are low enough that they should include this in the ticket price instead of raising ire.
Scoot flies back and forth daily between Singapore and Sydney, and the SIN-SYD red-eye flight (0210-1140) is actually perfect thanks to the 2-hour time difference. Right after takeoff, you get a nice 3 hours of quiet shut-eye before sunrise. The seats don’t come with a headrest however, so it’s vital that you bring your own neck pillow if you’re not planning on buying Scoot’s very reasonably priced neck pillow/eye mask/blanket set (S$18).
Thanks to the tight 3-4-3 configuration, navigating the narrow aisles was essentially a matter of making sure no one else was actually walking along it as well. Luckily, the Super seats are up near the front of the plane and close to the lavatory.
As Australian Business Traveller’s review has recommended, the Super seats are much better value for money than the Stretch seats. At 168cm (5’6″), I had a roomy 15cm (6″) of free space between my knees and the seat in front. And the economy-class seats on Scoot are actually quite cushy.
Unfortunately, the return flight felt like an eternity because of the late-afternoon timing. If you haven’t got entertainment ready, be prepared to spend some money because the boredom may give you an appetite for snacking or make you actually buy something from the in-flight shopping catalog.
Although there are only 9 crew members to each Scoot flight, service was brisk but not unfriendly. My meal was served promptly, and the flight attendants remained cheerful despite the fact that the poorly-positioned call button on the armrests led to numerous annoying false alarms.
On a side note, while this isn’t exactly part of the in-flight experience, Scoot has been doing a good job of customer service and engagement on their Facebook page.
Do not, under any circumstances, order the Beef Lasagna (left), because you will end up getting this: layers of charred tomato, salt-drenched pasta, and random bits of meat glued together by cheese with the smell and texture of burnt plastic. The Soya Sauce Chicken Rice (right) is probably your best bet: mine came with three quail eggs (which is a real treat compared to microwave dinners) and enough chicken to satisfy. If you manage to get the plastic seal off the package without upending everything on the tiny tray table, that is.
While you can choose between mineral water or Pepsi, the “dessert” is standard: a packet of freeze-dried “fruit crisps”. I had a conspiracy theory about these, because they taste like artificially flavored Styrofoam bits meant to dry out your mouth so you’ll buy more drinks. But then I found out that the Scoot planes come with drinking water on tap so passengers can fill up their water bottles for free. Hurray!
Other food options include Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Nissin instant noodles, and beer.
For an 8-hour flight, flying Scoot was actually very bearable – in my opinion the extras are all reasonably priced, and the hours will fly by if you have a tablet/laptop to entertain you. As the only low-cost airline with direct flights to Sydney and the Gold Coast, the savings over standard airlines is significant.
Unfortunately, Scoot’s flights along other competitive routes like Taipei and Tokyo do not offer as much of a price advantage. And as with any fledgling budget airline running frequent flights with just a few planes, Scoot has been plagued by a number of technical issues leading to flight delays. Nevertheless, I’d say Scoot is worth trying. So get outta here now!