Singapore Airline's fully owned medium/long-haul low-cost subsidiary, Scoot, had launched its flights for slightly more than a month since. Apart from the initial destinations of Sydney and Gold Coast, it had also started flights to Bangkok in July, with Tianjin, Taipei and Tokyo coming up soon. With the 1x daily BKK flights launched to capture the lucrative Oz-Thailand market, it offered me a chance to try out this new kid on the block on a short-haul sector for a weekend jaunt. Prices were offered from $78 all-in one-way in economy, which was rather attractive, considering the tickets were booked barely 2 weeks before the flight. However the return was booked on Jetstar as it offered the lowest fares on my return date.
Scoot only offered a single daily flight, departing at 1725hrs to Bangkok. This allowed me to work for half a day prior to my flight. Scoot utilizes Terminal 2, which offers a far more pleasant airport experience than Budget Terminal. However from late Sept, all the airlines in Budget terminal are also going to move to T2, which I foresee T2 becoming really busy!
Checking in for the flight. No online check-in is available. 4 counters were opened and the queue moved fast. I only had a hand-carry baggage and it was weighed and tagged as a cabin bag. Scoot is really serious about weight and size of carry-ons!
Proceeded through the efficient immigration and went up to the Sunflower to catch a glimpse of the Scoot aircraft. Most planes on the tarmac were SQs and MIs, with the lone yellow Scoot parked all the way at the end at Gate F42.
Scoot with its big brothers. 9V-OTA (ex 9V-SQA) would be operating the flight today! I flew on this exact plane on its 5th day into service with SQ on SIN-PEN in 1997!
Scoot issues proper boarding passes, but it was all in black and white.
More plane spotting from the terminal. Other than SQ A333s, the next common plane was SQ B772s.
Finally an interesting arrival! Lufthansa A380 arriving from Frankfurt!
Departures from T2. All seemed to be regional flights.
After having a light bite at a cafe, I proceeded to the far end of the pier to the gate at F42.
12 July 2012
Singapore (SIN) - Bangkok (BKK)
Proceeded into the very big gatehold room, which was apparently A380-ready. With Scoot's B772s seating up to 400 pax, the gatehold room filled up rather quickly. It would prove to be a rather full flight with mainly Singaporeans on short weekend trips!
9V-OTA hidden behind the boarding bridges.
Boarding was soon announced, starting from ScootBiz, followed by rows from the rear of the plane. Even though no staff was seen enforcing the boarding by rows, passengers apparently cooperated with the announcements and boarded only when rows were called. Was welcomed aboard and directed down the aisle to me seat at 60A. The refurbished cabin looked fresh and clean, with no signs that this is actually a 15-yr old plane! However the aisles are really tiny! Guess the width of the aisles have to be sacrificed in order to fit in 10-abreast. Normal seats were in blue while "Super" or "Stretch" seats with more legroom were in yellow.
Friendly crew were welcoming us passengers onboard but they were not too proactive in assisting with hand-carry luggage. However no problems here as most pax were on the start of the trip and thus not much luggage too. Settled into my seat at 60A. First impression, seat pitch seemed not bad for a supposedly 31" pitch. Width was tight, but felt slightly wider than KLM's seats on their B773ERs (see my previous report). There was a cupholder on the tray table and a really tiny seat pocket. No headrest, footrest and of course no PTVs.
Items in the seat pocket. Inflight mag "Scoot", safety card, BOB menu "EAT", duty free "Scootalogue" and iPad IFE guide "ScooTV".
All passengers boarded. It ended up to be a nearly full flight! Amazed that Scoot was actually able to fill up the entire B772 for this short hop. Guess low fares do play a part. Another thing to add about the seats, the seat recline is actually rather good!
Waiting at the gate for pushback. According to the captain, there would be a short delay due to, whats new, congestion in Changi...
Pushback with safety demonstration. This was done manually by the crew.
We taxied to Rwy20C for takeoff.
LH A380 resting after the long-haul from Frankfurt.
Classic Changi scene...
Took off at around 1740hrs bound for Bangkok!
Did a 270 degrees left turn and flew pass Changi again. Nice scenery!
Above Changi, with 4 planes awaiting takeoff.
Climbing to cruise.
After seatbelt signs were turned off, a long post takeoff announcement was made by the crew-in-charge.
First the crew came around with immigration cards. I also took out my iPod, which was to be my only form of inflight entertainment, apart from filling up the immigration card and gazing out of the window.
Shortly after, buy-on-board service started. Quite a number of passengers actually bought snacks, instant noodles or drinks. No hot meals were offered for sale other than pre-booked meals. For a view of Scoot's onboard food menu and entertainment guide, you can vie coot's website. I counted 9 crew in economy class. Not sure about the numbers in ScootBiz though. Quite a fair bit of crew on this budget flight!
Sun is setting...
Now for the Scootitude moment. A pax among a group was celebrating her birthday and her friends had brought a cake onboard to be stored my the crew. Midflight after the BOB service, the Scoot crew came out with the cake with lighted candle and surprised the pax with a "Happy Birthday" song!!
Visit to the lavatory. No changes to them, still the same as on SQ. However, no amenities except the necessary of course. Amenities such as toothbrushes etc will be sold on the longer-haul flights. There is also a drinking water dispenser outside the lavatory, but no paper cups were available. Not sure if Scoot will supply paper cups at the dispenser on the longer-haul flights.
View of the mid-economy cabin. Most of the "blue" seats were taken, but much of the "yellow" ones were empty.
Rest of the flight was spent gazing out of the window at the sunset. At about 40(!!) minutes before arrival, the pilot's arrival announcement came on and the cabin crew immediately prepared the aircraft for arrival! Window shades up, seatback upright, iPod off.... We had not even started our descent! Doesn't this remind you of Scoot's big brother? Just felt that the arrival preparations are done a tad too early, considering that there were not many serviceware to clear too.
Descending through the clouds with speedbrakes up.
Flying pass the airport
Making a 180 degrees turn back towards the airport.
Flaps and gears down.
Landing into Rwy19R.
Parked beside Jet Airways B738.
Lets have another look at the seats. Blue seats by the window.
Another view of the blue seats. Note the reading and call lights control at the side of the arm rest? It resulted in a lot of unwanted "dings" during the flight, which the crew learned to ignore.
Yellow seats with more legroom.
Final verdict, Scoot offers a value-for-money experience for this short flight. Seat pitch is definitely better than the other carriers operating the A320s, while service is similar. Overall a satisfactory low cost flight. Scoot's foray into the BKK market could result in much capacity increase (400 pax on the B772 > 2x 180 pax A320s), resulting in lower prices and yields for all airlines on this sector. We shall see if the other LCCs would adjust their BKK services in the future with Scoot's entrant.