TZ1 is Scoot’s flagship flight from Sydney to Singapore. Scoot operates a growing fleet of mostly Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and is a low cost carrier subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.
We are scheduled to depart Sydney at 12.30pm, though at check in I’m told that we are delayed until 1.20pm. The check in process is smooth, and perhaps because I arrive at the last minute, there is no queue.
When we board, there is a problem with the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, and we don’t end up pushing back until around 3pm. During the delay the captain keeps us informed of what is going on, and gives estimates on the duration of the delay, which is appreciated.
The cabin crew are young and friendly enough, though they lack the service focus that their parent airline, Singapore Airlines, is renowned for. That said, the low cost carrier model is to get you from Point A to Point B, so the lack of service doesn’t damage the experience.
What you’ll love:
1 – The price
It’s cheap! My flight from Sydney to Singapore cost AUD170, and I paid an extra AUD40 to sit in the “quiet zone”, a child free zone up the front of the plane.
2 – Business class for the price of a full service economy
Well, almost business class… Scoot doesn’t operate the flat bed, full service business class with lounge access that have become the norm for the full service airlines, though for the price of a regular economy ticket you can sit in what would be the premium economy equivalent on a full service carrier.
3 – Fleet of new Dreamliners
The Dreamliner is a great plane. It is quiet, handles turbulence better than its predecessor and has better cabin humidity, so you don’t leave the plane feeling like you’ve been sitting in the desert for eight hours. The cabin has a more spacious feel than older planes like the Airbus A330, and the seats are mostly comfortable.
Image credit: Simon Clancy
4 – The Wi-Fi
Onboard Wi-Fi changes the flying experience. With connection to the outside world, some people love it and others yearn for the days when it was impossible to check the work emails. I’m happy to have a reasonable Wi-Fi connection during the flight, and Scoot has plans ranging from USD5 for 20 MB of data, to USD 21.95 for unlimited data for 24 hours. If you are making connecting flights with Scoot, the latter option is a good deal. The speed is adequate for a low quality YouTube video (with some time out for buffering) and fine for emails.
Image credit: Pixies
1 – It’s cramped
Scoot is a low cost carrier, and the more seats in the plane, the lower the cost can be. Unless you pay extra to sit in a more spacious seat, the standard seats are cramped and are less comfortable than a full service airline like Qantas. Roomier seats range from AUD 39 to around AUD60.
2 – The add-ons
If you haven’t flown low cost before, be prepared for a rude shock if you are expecting free check in baggage and a delicious hot meal. It’s all available on Scoot, but for a fee. Anything more than the seat, you are best to pay for at the time of booking, as buying at the last minute will always cost you more.
3 – The food
Meals are available to purchase on board, though having had the food on a previous flight I elected to bring my own food. While some of the meals are reasonably ok (by airline standards), they are not great. I don’t see any option on the menu that would be considered “healthy”, and I’m “going healthy”. The dry laksa, at AUD22 looks good, though must be purchased in advance.
4 – There’s no entertainment
Load up an iPad with films. The 7 hour 30 minute flight to Singapore can be a long way without the latest blockbusters that I’m accustomed to Qantas screening. The Wi-Fi keeps me occupied, and I use the flight to catch up on some overdue work, though if I didn’t have a spare laptop battery I’d be paying around USD5 for use of the in-seat power.
Image credit: Yagan Kiely
5 – It’s a hectic flight!
It’s a long flight for everyone, especially for children. There are a lot of families on the flight, and that makes for some pretty loud kids – even in the kid-free zone!
Image credit: Kevin Tao
Scoot is surprisingly pleasant to fly. While it lacks the creature comforts of full service carriers, they fly a more modern aircraft than Qantas or British Airways on the Sydney-Singapore route (though Singapore Airlines flies the Airbus A380), and for the price I can’t complain. Although the onboard Wi-Fi is slow, it means the time on the plane can be used catching up on some overdue projects.
Keep an eye out for the sale fares.
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