Fees. It can sometimes be all about fees and ancillary charges with low cost carriers, but only if you decide to pay them or if you’ve done something wrong, wrong as in not followed the conditions of the ticket you have purchased. I’ve flown low cost carriers and budget airlines, with their ‘user pays’ systems on flights of just a few hours and hadn’t really considered flying one long haul. That was until Scoot Airlines, the low cost offshoot of Singapore Airlines, had its first birthday sale and I managed to book a return economy class ticket from Sydney to Singapore for AUD$302. Ok, so I added on baggage – I knew I’d be doing some shopping – for AUD$50 and about a week before the flight I chose an Economy S-t-r-e-t-c-h – extra leg room. bulkhead – Seat for AUD$29 and ordered a Roast Beef Focaccia for AUD$11. As I checked in at Sydney Airport, signage on each counter was advertising upgrades to ScootBiz, the airlines premium product, for AUD$99. Even though this ‘cheap ticket’ was now starting to add up, I couldn’t pass up the chance to sit up the front (and feel important) 😉
I paid the AUD$99, well AUD$146.50 actually, as when upgrading at the counter, there was a AUD$40 fee and an AUD$7.50 credit card fee. It also meant my choosing the S-t-r-e-t-c-h seat in economy was lost money as the fee isn’t refunded or taken into consideration….oh well I chose to pay it. The upgrade meant I would have a larger seat, inflight entertainment, in-seat power, a meal and drink all in the exclusive ScootBiz cabin. Lounge access isn’t available for ScootBiz passengers at Sydney Airport, so I purchased a wine near the departure gate to contain my excitement before the priority boarding began.
Scoot Airlines, based in Singapore, operates a fleet of five ex Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200’s and ‘Barry’ the aircraft I was flying on to today was one of the original two aircraft when the airline begun its operations just over a year ago.
The 32 seat ScootBiz cabin is in a 2-4-2 configuration of slimline leather seats with a seatpitch of 38″ (96cms), seat width of 22″ (56cms) and a recline of 8″ (20cms). Each seat has winged headrests, a fold out tray table from the arm rest and in-seat power. I was was in seat 14A, the third row, strangely the seating starts from row 11, where rows 1-10 are, I don’t know 😉
My Singaporean seat-neighbour, Ron, pointed out the in-seat power, located under the armrest between our seats which is an excellent convenience to keep laptops, tablets and igadgets charged for work or entertainment during the flight. I wondered how Ron and I were going to share the one outlet, however as soon as the doors were closed, he moved over to a spare seat in the middle section so we could both stretch out.
Economy class section is broken up into two zones with three seating types. Standard Blue seats feature 31″ (79cms) seat pitch. The Yellow Super Seats and the S-t-r-e-t-c-h Seats, located at the bulkheads and in front of the doors, feature 35″ (89cms) of pitch and are available for a fee of between AUD$29-79.
Prior to take off one of the cabin crew came around and handed out password card for the inflight entertainment to that could be streamed to our own devices. there was a choice of about 18 recently released, international and kids movies and around 25 tv shows. If you didn’t have your own device a tablet with the same content could be rented for SGD$22. A few moments later another crew member came through the ScootBiz cabin and asked a few people what they would like for their meal. I flicked through the menu, but strangely she didn’t come and ask me. A few moments after the safety demonstration – done manually – we took off from the south and headed out across western Sydney.
Pretty much 15 minutes after take off the crew set about serving meals to the ScootBiz passengers and guess what I got? The Beef Focaccia I had ordered online for my original economy ticket! I didn’t mind, because it was what I had ordered, although it was one of the cheaper and lighter meals and not from the airlines premium meal selection. The meal included the focaccia, a small tube of Pringles and a drink – which I chose a 187ml J.P. Chenet Colombard Chardonnay. The beef was cooked rare, still succulent and tasty but, the focaccia itself tasted a little dry, nonetheless I did put that down to the loss of taste food gets at 30,000 feet. The Pringles came in handy later in the flight when it was time to settle in and watch a movie, with a purchase of another piccolo of wine for SGD$8. As I was paying by credit card, one of the lovely crew members who served me the drink, asked if I would like to leave the card in the galley, like leaving the card behind a bar and running a tab…wise idea? I’m not sure 😉 .
Along with my interest of the goings on in the aircraft, like everyone, I still love looking out the window as it never ceases to amaze me. Trying to make out the cities and towns below, to me, is like looking at a map. Today I was marveling at the ever changing scenery of the Australian continent, vein like rivers and creeks sprouting lush green vegetation beside them in the inhospitable desert.
Towards the end of the flight, the cabin crew came through with the Scoot catalogue for duty free purchases so, with my ‘tab’ still running, I picked a few novelty items 🙂
The flight arrived right on time into a wet and rainy tropical Singapore. Overall my experience was a positive one, while the food was slightly lacking in quality, the service was friendly and fun and for a day flight of 7hrs 40mins, comfortable enough. From a starting price of AUD$302,with fees and all the extras I purchased I paid a total of AUD$475, those fee were extras I decided to purchase, nothing was ever forced on me, so it really was a cost effective way to ‘Scoot -outta here!’ – even with those fees!
I booked my flights through Expedia.com.au