In May 2011 Singapore Airlines decided to launch an ultra low cost long haul carrier to compete against Malaysia’s super discounter AirAsiaX and other budget newcomers which had been nibbling away at their market share. Their answer was Scoot! Beginning in the 1990s Singapore's reputation as Asia’s favourite tourist destination and airport hub began to be undermined by Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. Europe bound holidaymakers from Australia, for example, began to delete Singapore from their itineraries in such large numbers so Singapore Airlines and the Singapore government had to take action to win back transit travellers. Singapore Airlines developed four carriers; top ranking full service Singapore Airlines to serve long distances, Scoot to serve long distances with minimal services, mid rating Silk Air for shorter distance flights, and budget carrier Tigerair for short distance Asian destinations. Scoots first flight touched down in Sydney on 4 June 2012 and the airline added the Gold Coast two weeks later. Scoot has expanded rapidly and now connects Singapore to budget destinations in Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Saudi Arabia and Greece. The much delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order to Singapore Airlines will now be assigned to Scoot, while the premium parent has decided to place its future with superior Airbus A350s. In most regards, Scoot’s business model is a carbon copy of Malaysia’s highly successful AirAsiaX; even many of the routes are the same. In October 2012 Scoot partnered with its financially troubled ugly sister, Tigerair and in 2017 will completely absorb them into Scoot.
Passengers accustomed to the excellent service on Singapore Airlines will be hugely disappointed by the flying experience of Scoot. The airline’s very low paid crew are noticeably indifferent and provide a slow and unfriendly service. Aircraft interiors are dull and all ‘extras’, such as a head rests are missing.
The airline’s network is expanding as their 20 Boeing 787’s are delivered to the airline and their parent, Singapore Airlines withdraw from unprofitable routes. The airline connects Singapore with Australia, China, India, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Hong Kong and Greece (from June 2017). The airline partners with other low cost carriers in the Value Alliance.
Scoot is so cheap passengers can be heard speculating about how it is possible to make money with new aircraft over such long distances. The airline’s cheap ticket prices is the ONLY reason to fly with this otherwise dull airline. If you’re after a bargain, it pays to check the website regularly as ultra cheap fares pop up all the time.
Scoot is a candidate for ‘Worst Catered Airline’. Because of the airline's ultra cheap fares, catering is considered an extra so passengers who wish to dine can pre-book or pay on board. The airline has a so-called ScootBiz class as well as economy and awful food is served in both classes. Meals are small, bland, poorly presented and served very indifferently. Some passengers are served close to landing time. Amazingly economy passengers are served what appears to be a cheap TV supermarket dinner without a tray. Drinks are served in cans or plastic glasses in ‘Business’. Scoot is one airline where passengers really should bring their own food if they want to eat. Oh, and meals at 16 Singapore Dollars are not cheap. The airline's coffee is disgusting.
Entertainment costs money for airlines to install so Scoot does’t have any video or audio options. Passengers can Rent-a-Tablet on board the plane and will be provided with an iPad to watch movies which they rent. Don’t even bother! Either bring your own, bring an iPod or a read a book.
Singapore Airport is one of the world’s most pleasant terminals, except for its budget airlines facilities, which Scoot uses. Seasoned travellers used to a bit of pampering will hate their Scoot check-in procedure. The terminal resembles a Wal-Mart and is packed full of unwashed backpackers. Occasionally there is insufficient seating and people are sitting on the floor or passengers who’ve missed a connecting flight are sleeping on the ground. Check-in staff are bored and unfriendly and instantly turn hostile if luggage is over the baggage allowance, which is deliberately low. The airline must stay in the sky by charging excess baggage fees which are exorbitant. Economy passengers get a mere 15kg allowance and ScootBiz only 20kg. Passengers planning to buy souvenirs, beware. Outside Singapore, the airline uses a variety of check-in facilities which range from pleasant to terrible. Travel Insurance is a must, as staff won’t care if your bags go missing.
ScootBiz is one of the worst premium products offered by any airline flying today. Even North Korea’s Air Koryo provides a superior Business Class. Essentially Scoot passengers are paying for extra leg space and nothing more. While Scoot doesn’t actually describe ScootBiz as a Business Class, its name is obviously meant to mislead passengers into thinking it is. The airline has no lounge. Meals are included in the price, but are the same terrible TV style dinners served in Economy. The baggage allowance is staggeringly low for a premium class.
For budget travellers who don’t intend carrying much baggage, the airline is fine, however for everyone else, better airline’s provide superior service. Scoot genuinely is an inferior version of AirAsiaX, which itself isn’t that great. Passengers who expect service will find an economy flight torturous and shouldn’t put themselves through a Scoot flight. A Scoot flight genuinely can ruin an entire holiday and stick in the mind for all the wrong reasons. Passengers familiar with the service of Jetstar will know what they're in for on Scoot.
Scoot has no loyalty scheme and does not expect its passengers to show any.
Singapore Airline’s is not very skilled at running low cost carriers. Their first attempt; Tigerair has proven to be a financial black hole, but they are trying again, with Scoot. In every way possible short distance AirAsia and long distance AirAsiaX is superior and deserves to beat Scoot. The only real difference between the airlines is that one flies to Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur and Scoot hubs at Singapore. Scoot’s managers are the same sort of bullies, bean counters and hypocrites who got Tigerair off to a bad start. The airline’s managers are unimaginative cost cutters who are doing long term damage to the name of Singapore Airlines and airline travel.
The airline operates brand new aircraft and will be receiving many more straight from the Boeing factory. This is an essential ingredient of running a discount airline as new aircraft don’t require major engineering checks. Scoot push their crew and aircraft to their maximum legal limits, but have not experienced any issues so far. In 2011 Australian safety regulators temporarily grounded Tigerair because of repeated dangerous flying by pilots. Scoot sources its pilots from the same talent pool as Tigerair; employing pilots who have typically failed to secure employment with reputable airlines like Emirates or Etihad.
A truly terrible airline but ridiculously cheap.
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