I’ve flown Scoot on the Sydney – Singapore route before and wasn’t particularly impressed. This time was no different.
Scoot is a typical low cost carrier who charges extra for everything such as checked in baggage and food. We fly low cost carriers a lot and some do it really well and some don’t. A great example of a good low cost carrier is Norwegian. A bad example is Scoot.
It all starts with checked in baggage which costs $42 (for the purposes of this article all prices are in Singapore/Australian dollars which are essentially the same). If you decide you need more baggage than you originally booked, of course you have to go onto their website and buy more. This is pretty normal. What isn’t normal is that if you don’t make that purchase at least 48 hours before flying, you can’t make it online at all. You have to buy it at the airport and for that they charge $100.
My departure was pushed back 45 minutes from the time stated on my travel itinerary, but I wasn’t informed of that. Again, another issue which was no big deal.
Seating on the plane has to be paid for if you want to sit in a specific spot. Of course almost no one pays for this because you generally always get to sit together with you travel companions anyway. What you can’t predict is who else is going to be seated next you. And on this flight I encountered a nightmare situation. My seat was surround by kids and one group in particular were just atrocious. When you fly full service you often get groups of kids near the bulkhead, but on this scoot flight they seemed to be scattered around everywhere. It was truly awful.
Food on the flight was expensive. Main meals run at between $12 & $15 and are small. A slim can of coke (250ml??) costs $4, a tiny water (330ml) costs $4 and a beer $8. Which brings me to my next point.
You can’t do this 7h 30m without some form of sustenance. It’s just too long. But Scoot have a policy of forbidding you to eat or drink anything on board that you haven’t bought from them. It’s outrageous and means that you’re guaranteed to spend at least $8 on 2 bottles of small water and perhaps $5 for a cup of noodles and $12 for a tray of brownness.
In my experience, you can sneak food on board and eat it, although I didn’t see anyone else doing this. I did, however, see lots of people bring water from outside. It’s $3.50 (660ml) at McDonald’s before you board the plane.
The TZ1 flight was on a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. These are nice planes, but as I’ve said before, airlines love to fit them out in a 3-3-3 configuration and 2 men sitting side by side will generally be touching shoulders for the whole flight. And forget about using the armrest because it is so narrow.
The seats on this Scoot flight were OK. Again, they were those cheap slimline seats which are fine over the course of 3 hours, but after 7 hours really get a bit old. There are no TVs in the backs of seats although I did see an advertisement for renting portable sets. Wifi is available on board at predictably exorbitant prices.
A really frustrating point about the seats, though, are the call and light buttons. They are exactly where you put your arm on the armrest. And you will forever by ringing the service bell, turning the light on, turning it off… And the whole cabin is doing it too throughout the whole flight. Constantly. It means the hosties are running up and down the aisle constantly attending to calls which are false alarms. Such a simple thing which causes all sorts of hassles for both staff and passengers.
One thing which really shits me? They charge you $5 to use the power sockets beneath your chair. What a cynical grab for extra cash. I reckon they’d probably earn $100 per flight from this revenue source at the expense of inconveniencing 200 other people. Massive thumbs down on that.
All up, if you opt for some of the extras like checked in baggage and a bit of food, your flight quickly balloons from $199 one way to something in the order of $275 which is not that cheap. It’s cheaper than any full service carrier, but it’s nowhere near as cheap as what the headline price appears to be.
Of course, this is the business model of low cost carriers, but Scoot manage to extract just that little bit more out of you. For me, they’re in the worst category of low cost carrier and in the same realms as Ryan Air. A Complete bag of shite.
All in all, an OK option if you’re flying from Sydney to Singapore. But if I have a choice again, I’ll be willing to pay an extra $100-$150 on another airline rather than put up with Scoot. Not sure how realistic that is, but seriously. Scoot is at the bottom of the pile now.