My 3rd (& 4th) 787 ScootBiz Bangkok -Singapore – Sydney



DMK Don Muang (Bangkok), Thailand  to SIN, Singapore  TZ291
Scheduled Departure: 08:40 Arrival: 14:55
SIN Singapore to SYD Sydney, Australia SC002
Scheduled Departure: 01:40 Arrival: 11:35
Total distance: 5,689 km -4,801 miles

The choices of airlines and flights between Bangkok, Thailand and Sydney, Australia is immense. Thai, Qantas and Emirates fly directly. Cathay Pacific, Jetstar, Malayasia, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Vietnam Airlines all offer quick one-stop connections.  I have flown pretty much every option now!

I took advantage of a great  Scoot deal paying just a few dollars more . for their “Business Class” for Singapore to Sydney than their regular fare.  It was less than half what Qantas were charging for an Economy Qantas fare. This option offered me not one but two Dreamliner rides -so I snapped up the seats. These two 787 flights follow my first Dreamliner voyage with LATAM in June and my second with Thai Airways in September.

It did necessitate a stop in Singapore which was a great chance to have a delicious local meal, do a spot of shopping and explore SIN airport!

Bookings: 10/10

I really like Scoot’s booking system. Clean, simple and very multi-lingual (Cantonese,  English, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin) and very straight forward.  It is also fun!

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The system offers choices without making you feel locked in.

30kg of luggage comes standard with ScootBiz and 20kg with  most Economy fares. Hand luggage is 7kg in Economy and a very generous 15kg in ScootBiz. More luggage can be purchased.

Scoot does not automatically include points in its fares -even in Business – unless you purchase a PlusPerks  package for about $USD80. This gives Singapore Airlines Krisflyer points and also includes an extra leg room seat  and early boarding.

As this was a connecting flight, Scoot also sells a flight connection package for around $US20 allowing passengers to skip immigration at Singapore, have their checked bags to go through and an important benefit: If a passengers misses onward flight due to a flight delay, they will be re-booked on next available flight for no fee. Otherwise, you are on your own!

Check In: 8/10

On-line check in was not available for the first sector. Scoot Check in at Bangkok was initially a mess with a massive line of AirAsia blocking the entry to Scoot’s check in area. I found a second entrance with almost no line and was served within two minutes. With my seat already allocated and no baggage, it was literally a 60 second transaction.

At Singapore, whilst I had checked in on-line, the airline still needed to do a “document check” so I still had to physically front up to the Biz Check in counter. It took a couple of minutes to find and again I had very efficient service.

I felt the human interaction side of the check in was sorely lacking though. Scoot try to make their experience a “little different”, even a little “funky”. Here is one opportunity for enhancement. I would like to see their “fun” side echoed through the rest of the customer experience. 

Security and immigration were slow at Bangkok. It took me 26 minutes to get through both. At midnight in Singapore , their usual incredible efficiency was more than enhanced and I was through in what felt like seconds.

Lounge

Customers at Singapore airport can pay $SG39 for access to the SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 2 with food, beverages and shower facilities for up to four hours. I eschewed the access, heading for the MRT subway for a ride into the centre of Singapore. Upon my return to Changi aurpor, I grabbed a shower in the spotlessly clean Singapore transit hotel for $SG12 which was refreshing and much cheaper than the lounge. In my eyes, Singapore airport is one big lounge with the best atmosphere, terrific shopping and people watching. 

Boarding: 7/10

At Don Muang, boarding commenced at 15:10. At 15:14 the departure screens showed final call. I was on board by 15:21 and there were many people after me. Scoot used the second doorway aft.

At Singapore, the airport conducts security checks at the gate. By the time I boarded the plane, my passport had been checked by five people in theta airport including 1. check in agent, 2. officer at immigration hall entrance, 3. Immigration official  4. another official at entry to boarding gate and 5. Scoot staff at boarding area!

Two entry doors were used and I entered into the Business class. I recognised the cabin manager on the SIN-SYD flight from a previous Scoot trip!  She is an ex Singapore Airlines staff member and very good at her job.

Welcome aboard in both cases was efficient but not overly warm. Again, would be good to see “fun” reflected in the airline consistently.

We were given a water and a paper towel in ScootBiz. A little different to my hot towel service on my last two business class trips.

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On board: 7/10

Scoot deployed a 787-8 from DMK to SIN with 336 seats crammed on board :

  • three rows of 27 Scootbiz seats arranged 2-3-2 the recliner seat pitch is 38″ and width 22″ with one bathroom 
  • 33 Scooting silence seats arranged 3-3-3 -pitch is 34″ to 36″ and width 18.9-19.7″ with one lavatory 
  • 281  Standard economy seats arranged 3-3-3 with a squeezy 31″ and the same width. Two lavatories in the middle of the plane and two at the rear (70 people per loo).

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The cabin does not feel crowded because of the tall ceilings, large windows and clever overhead bin set up. These design features do make a major difference.

I was in the front row of the “Scoot in Silence” cabin (Seat: 4A) which had great leg room. It is well worth the additional seating fee gaining  36″ in which to stretch my long legs. This cabin does not allow children under 12 to travel here, hence the “Silence” name.

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A 787-9 took me from SIN to SYD. This model has 375 seats:

  • 35 recliner scootbiz seats arranged in five rows of 2-3-2-pitch is 38” and width 22”
  • 45 “Scoot in Silence” seats arranged 3-3-3 with a pitch of 34 and 19” width
  • 295 standard economy seats also arranged 3-3-3 again with that excruciating 31′ pitch.

By contrast,  my LATAM 787-9 had 313 seats and my Thai 787 had 264 seats. Scoot really cram their passengers in!

One lavatory at the front, two in the middle and three at the back. They were kept spotlessly clean.

I was impressed with their lighting displays:

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The seat: 6/10

 I would describe their “Business” seat as a Premium economy seat.  

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If you want a pillow or a blanket, it is available for an extra charge- even for Sscootbiz customers!

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Safety Briefing: 7/10

A fairly low key standard safety presentation in English started each flight. Customers during the flight wandered around during time of turbulence when the seat belt sign was on with no reaction from the crew. Upon touch down, some passengers got out of their seats to collect luggage from the overhead bins whilst we were still on taxi to gate. They were also not challenged by the crew.

Take off

Every aircraft has a distinctive takeoff sound and feel. I am very familiar with the roar of the four engines on the 747 after 96 747 flights. I know the whine of the A330. I have experienced the amazing leap of the A380 quite a few times  now. I am still getting used to the 787 distinctive. Its quietness is astounding, the flex of the wings and the gentle way it takes off are truly magical. These Dreamliner characteristics set a benchmark that other aircraft will have to work hard to match. I will be interested to  compare the A350 when I fly it in December. 

I am still getting used to the 787 distinctive. Its quietness is astounding, the flex of the wings and the gentle way it takes off are truly magical. These Dreamliner characteristics set a benchmark that other aircraft will have to work hard to match.

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I will be interested to  compare the A350 when I fly it in December. 

We took off into a very grey Bangkok afternoon . The Singapore takeoff was, of course, dark at one o’clock  in the morning but just as smooth. We had a bit of turbulence on both sectors.

Meals: 3/10

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A free meal is included in the ScootBiz fare. In the other classes, meals must be purchased. Meal quality has not changed from my last visit.  Singaporeans are very famous for their fastidiousness about food quality.   Scoot does not match this cultural expectation. The meals,

Meal quality has not changed from my last visit.  Singaporeans are very famous for their fastidiousness about food quality.   Scoot does not match this cultural expectation. The meals,  displayed here cost around $US9. They say that their menu is “drool worthy”. I wish.

My bought on board meal from BKK to SIN was braised Chicken with rice. It was edible -even though it does not look like it. I had a Jasmine tea with it.

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The SIN to SYD only has one meal service and that was three hours before landing so just over half way through the flight. Make sure you have eaten before you board. The crew checked my order shortly after take off and checked to see if it was okay for them to wake me up for the meal service. In fact, they woke the whole plane up for the meal service by putting the lights on even though some passengers presumably would not be choosing to buy a meal.

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The pre-ordered Hainanese chicken rice choice from SIN to SYD was disappointing and would, not have been acceptable from any Hawkers market in Singapore.  It looked good but dried rice and flavorless chicken spoilt what should be a delicious repast.

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 I did not-touch the strange looking salad but the HäagenDazs ice cream was delicious.

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The meals and their presentation look very different to the illustrations on the Scoot website. This is what you see when you are booking and ordering your meals.

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You do not fly Scoot for their food- even in their “Business Class“. Air Asia does food only slightly better. 

Scoot makes a big deal of not being allowed to consume food brought onto the aircraft. One guy in my row was eating  McDonalds , one family boarded with a huge bag of food and a woman in my Scootbiz snacked the whole way. Some passengers clearly openly flaunt the external food ban and others are more discreet, quietly nibbling a sandwich when the cabin crews backs are turned! (as if they do not notice!!!)

Nothing is free on board. Nothing. Not even water.  Customers were lined up to fill their eater bottles from the water fountain adjacent the gate. The drinking water available on board are 330ml bottles sold for $SGD 4 ($USD3). Water is free for ScootBiz (although they do not tell you-ask for it).

Entertainment: 7/10

Scoot provides wifi at a starting price of US$ 11.95 for an hour to US$ 21.95 for 24 hours. A Wi-Fi session starts from first log in and continues even if the connection is lost or the customer logs off. The good news is that there is no limit on data usage and the wifi account can be transferred between connecting flights.  You can pre-purchase wifi.

Customers can use their own device to watch the on board ScooTV streaming entertainment service. Offerigs are a mix of Asian and European offerings. Access is SGD11 ($US9) for an entire flight and free for Scoot Biz. (You have to ask the cabin crew for an access pass). I used the time to sleep so I did not try the service.

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In-seat power is available for free in ScootBiz and for a charge in Economy (of course).

Landing

I have not landed in Singapore in daylight for  a long time. I  was astounded by the scale of the Changi east development. This extension will include one of the largest terminals in the world, Terminal Five, capable of handling fifty million passengers per annum– one million per week!  Changi Airport will have a total capacity to 135 million passengers per annum by the late 2020s.

The captain warned us of massive turbulence coming into Sydney but in the 787 it did not feel at all dramatic. The landing was, in fact, very smooth. More impressively, we were 40 minutes early – this meant waiting for a united 787 to clear our parking bay but I was out of the airport and on my way before our scheduled touchdown!

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The Verdict

My Flight Rating:  68% (3.4 out of 5). Despite being in ScootBiz on a brand new plane, I gave these flights lower ratings than my last Scoot experience (74%).

Scootbiz is not a Business Class by any stretch. Seats are more of an Economy Plus style. Meals are poor. In comparison with other airlines, it is barely a Premium Economy.
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About the Airline: Scoot, Singapore Airline’s low cost subsidiary started flying in June, 2012. They are the world’s first all 787 airline. Their 12 Dreamliners fly to 21 destinations,  mostly in China and Australia via Singapore. They are aiming to have 20 planes  in service.

My overall rating of  Scoot: 66% -a decline  on my previous ratings. This puts them at 41 on my ranking of airlines I have flown. (While I have flown 92 carriers, only 58 are still in service).

Skytrax: Scoot has a 3 star rating from Skytrax. Its customers give the carrier a rating of 6 out of 10. It was 7 out of 10 just two years ago.  It looks like other people have downgraded the carrier.

Safety Rating: Airline ratings gives Scoot 5 out of 7.

Frequent Flyer Program: for an additional fee, customers can add Singapore Airlines Krisflyer points.

Positives: Website, Scoot in Silence seats
Negatives: Meals, lack of free water in Economy, Economy seating
Would I fly them again? Yes – but I would choose many other airlines first – even for the extra dollar cost. On Scoot, I would go for “Scoot in Silence” over ScootBiz. I am not convinced the extra cost is at all worth it. I would avoid the regular Economy seats.

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