Layla Roberts is the founder and owner of Concierge Connections – a virtual concierge and personal assistance business helping clients in Australia (and those from abroad) organise their social and travel plans.
Layla gives us an insight into her recent trip to Singapore with new low-cost carrier, Scoot…
I usually believe that you get what you pay for in life. I recently flew with Scoot Airlines from Sydney to Singapore return and definitely got more value than I paid.
Having said that, I only paid AUD$250 including taxes and 15kg of checked-in luggage on both sectors (there is an option to pay a little more if you want: 15kg is AU$28 per sector, 20kg is AUD$32, 25kg AUD$36, 30kg AUD$44, 35kg AUD$52, 40kg AUD$60). I wasn’t even planning a trip to Singapore, or anywhere else for that matter, but it was such a good deal it would have been rude to say no.
Scoot is the budget airline of Singapore Airlines, like Jetstar is to Qantas. If you want food, entertainment and luggage automatically included fly with Singapore Airlines – but expect to pay around three times as much.
Yes, Scoot had a few small teething issues – but what brand new airline doesn’t? When I flew with them to Singapore they had only been flying a week! Having said that, the airline itself was set up a year ago, and they have been working hard on the marketing and implementation since then.
I will start with the negative points about Scoot, and to be honest, I am being quite picky here:
- There is not a huge amount of leg or elbow room in economy class (though they do have a ‘business class’ – not comparable to Singapore Airlines business class of course, but you do get more space). I was lucky enough to have a spare seat next to me on the way back to Sydney, so this made a big difference.
- The pocket on the back of the seat in front of you is pretty small, meaning I could not even put my water bottle in there.
- The Scoot brand is yellow and black. All of the staff looked rather smart in the yellow and black uniforms (not like a bee, which is what I had expected). However, the seats on the plane are yellow and blue. This may seem extremely fussy, but as a businesswoman myself, I believe consistent branding is extremely important. Perhaps there is a reason they chose blue seats and not black, but it seemed strange to me.
- The cabin announcements were not always loud enough and I often couldn’t hear what they were saying.
- I asked a steward to borrow a pen to fill in the customs form and disappointingly none arrived. In my opinion, these small things can be a sign of general customer service.
- I had seat 41K on the way back from Singapore. I had selected a window seat specifically as I like to admire the views from a plane. However, this seat was in the worst spot as all I could see was the wing. This was my fault for choosing that seat, but a bit frustrating, as you have to pay AUD$4 if you want the option to choose a specific seat. As the airline is so new, they are not yet on www.seatguru.com, which allows passengers to see the best and worst seats on each aircraft.
Having said all of this, it is only a 7.5 hour flight, I slept half of it, put my water bottle on the ground, borrowed a pen from the person sitting next to me and, most importantly, arrived safely and on schedule. Other good points, included:
- The seats seemed to recline more than a normal economy seat.
- I was offered to upgrade to premium economy on my outward flight – it would have meant a row of 4 seats all to myself for just AUD$64, but I declined as it was daytime and didn’t need to lie down. I would’ve killed for this option when I flew on the return journey as the flight is a night flight, but sadly the flight was packed.
- The hand luggage allowance is a usual 7kg. They weighed this on both sectors of my trip. However, on the way there my hand luggage weighed 13kg and they did not bat an eyelid.
In some respects, you do get what you pay for as food and entertainment cost extra on Scoot. An iPad loaded with music, movies and TV costs SGD$22. I downloaded movies onto my own iPad in advance though, so did not need theirs.
On the way to Singapore, I ordered a hot meal for SGD$10 which was really yummy (chicken soy with rice). You have the option to pay in SGD or AUD. I paid with AUD which was easy and received my change in SGD, which was handy as I was flying there. It would have been frustrating to receive the change in SGD if you’re flying home to Australia though, but you can always pay with credit card to avoid this.
There are also snacks available to purchase, such as Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream for SGD$5 and sandwiches for SGD$8. There is also the option when you purchase your ticket to get the ‘Fly Bag Seat’ option which includes a specific seat chosen by you, 15kg and a hot meal; all for less than buying them separately.
In summary, it depends on what you look for in an airline, but for me safety, on time performance, price and comfort are the main four criteria, and Scoot scores 3.5 for these.
Singapore is obviously their main hub and Sydney was their first destination, but they now also fly to the Gold Coast in Australia, Bangkok in Thailand, Tokyo in Japan, Taipei in Taiwan and Tianjin in China (it is only a 30 minute ride on the bullet train to downtown Beijing).
Would I recommend them? Definitely! Spending less on the flight gives you more money for shopping, fine dining and cocktails whilst you’re in Singapore – and let’s be honest none of these are cheap!
Still not convinced or simply want to check it out for yourself?
Scoot has sale fares (expiring shortly) where you can fly from Australia to Singapore from just AUD$111 one way and Australia to Bangkok from just AUD$169! These amazing deals are only valid until 11.59pm Friday June 29th and are subject to availability, so book one now!
For more information, see: http://www.flyscoot.com/index.php/en and
Concierge Connections can assist you in planning the rest of your trip too, such as accommodation, airport transfers, restaurant, rooftop bars and shopping. I did a lot of research whilst I was there! You can email me at email@example.com or you can view our website at http://conciergeconnections.com.au/