Best For: Young Singaporeans who don’t know better.
Most Likely To Sit Next To: Nobody. With such shitty schedules to anywhere, even at such low fares, people would rather fly with other airlines.
Routes: The Boeing 777 is the airline’s sole aircraft type. With brand new Boeing 787s due in a few months, Scoot’s small fleet is divided into two – tightly-packed slimline seats from head to tail, and regular Singapore Airlines seats with the inflight entertainment turned off. The latter operates flights to Nanjing, Qingdao and Tianjin, while the more uncomfortable planes operate to Bangkok, Sydney, Gold Coast, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.
Frequent Flyer Programme: None. You can fly as frequent as you want, but you won’t earn miles or status. Even SkyTeam’s SkyPesos is worth more.
Best Bits: Don Mueang Airport.
Worst Bits: Tasteless food, militant Korean cabin crew.
What It’s Like To Fly the $149 Scoot ScootBiz Class
The world’s shittiest airline experience, from Bangkok to Singapore.
In 2011, Singapore Airlines Group introduced Scoot, and their 2-class aircraft, Economy and ScootBiz, the common man’s economy class.
Yes, I’m plagarizing the s**t out of Derek Low, because it’s hilarious.
ScootBiz are exclusive to their flagship Boeing 777s (which is pretty much the only aircraft type they operate), and they go beyond flat beds by offering exposed public reclining seats with no sliding doors or footrests that cocoon you in any form of comfort. The seats are an off-the-rack design by German airline seat design company Zim and comes along with a run-of-the-mill leather machine-made by the German company’s lowly paid employees. Perhaps most well-known of all, Scoot became the first and only commercial airline with call buttons that no cabin crew wants to answer.
However, the experience came with a hefty price tag, figuratively. With a network to nowhere interesting, it was completely unattainable for most people.
Formerly, the only way for any self-respecting human being to fly ScootBiz was to travel full-service Economy. And then I remembered that I was parodying a travel blogger’s post.
So in September 2014, after splurging half the cost of a dinner at Atelier de Joel Robuchon…
I was booked on ScootBiz back to SIN!
I arrived at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport and proceeded to the Nok Air counters for check-in.
As I joined the line for check-in, I was promptly greeted by a staff.
“Good evening sir, flying to Chiang Mai or Phuket?”
A sudden realization hit me and I went “OH NOPE SORRY” and briskly walked away, leaving the lady astonished.
I had almost forgotten that Don Mueang had its Scoot check-in lounges behind the ones for Nok Air passengers.
On the other side, it looks like everyone’s on their first day to work, and there’s somebody who measures your luggage with a measuring tape, and another whose sole purpose is to give out “cabin bag” tags, even though there are plenty at every counter.
Soon, I was in possession of The Very Long Receipt.
Flying ScootBiz also includes an invitation to the airside of the terminal, which the staff was proud to say that it was “where I needed to go to board my flight”.
I arrived at the airside and was approached by an attendant. “May I escort you to the rubbish bin”, he asked.
I followed him past what seemed to be 10-20 people at the security checks. He seemed rather anxious, seemingly afraid that the contents of my mineral water bottle would cause the next apocalypse. Here I was transferred to another attendant who accompanied me as I downed the contents like it was an Olympic sport.
Finally, after all the quick gulping and being escorted by 3000 people, I arrived at the airside.
Entering the confines of the airside, the aroma of food greeted me by name. It’s like they all already knew me before even meeting me.
I wasn’t hungry but I’ve heard rave reviews of the local cuisine. So I sat down and ordered a plate of Minced Chicken with Basil served with rice.
…and a cup of Iced Coffee.
…and also a Dairy Queen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard Treat. Oh, and a smoke too.
Completely hallucinating about food at this point, I realized it was not yet time for boarding, so I just sat at the boarding lounge until it was time to do so.
There isn’t a dedicated jet bridge solely for ScootBiz passengers. Standing at the end of the bridge however, were many flight attendants ready to greet me.
I realized that they wouldn’t address me by whatever title I chose in my Scoot booking website profile, but would stick to calling me “Sir” like I was knighted or something.
I was escorted to ScootBiz.
I picked the window seat, which cannot be merged with the adjacent suite to form a double bed, but it is my private space.
“Would you like some refreshments, sir?” And I replied the only acceptable response to a rhetorical question (since the question was posted after I was handed my drink): Thanks.
“Sir, would you like a copy of every newspaper we have onboard today?” Seriously, nobody was interested in reading yesterday’s edition of The Straits Times.
At this point, the crew members were gone, busy dealing with the cheapskates at the tail end section of the plane. Really, people actually found ways to get around the not having to pay for checked bags, and we were so short of bin space, the crew had to place bags in ScootBiz’s overhead bins.
There were only 32 passengers in the 32 ScootBiz seats, and nobody seated in the S-T-R-E-T-C-H seats just behind the ScootBiz cabin. A Dutch male couple joked that they should move behind, but were stormed back into their seats by the crew.
And so I remained in my seat.
With my camera at hand, it was time to take off.
I took this time to check out what the views were like, departing Don Mueang. A bird’s eye view of Bangkok.
Siam and Centralworld.
Everything else was just urbanity: roads, streetlamps, buildings and greenery.
As soon as the plane reached cruising altitude, the cabin service started.
Seeing that it was almost 11PM and I was just beginning to indulge in the whole ScootBiz experience, I decided that I’d stay up the entire flight.
I don’t know much about duty free, but I do know official airline airplane models cost a ton. A palm-sized Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 models sells for $60 at KrisShop.
So I ordered a Scoot Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and was complimented. “Thanks, but sorry leh, the 787 no stock, sir.”
She returns with a box, and tells me about their still available collection of Boeing 777s, and how the Boeing 777 model would “soon be limited edition”.
I unglamorously rewrote my duty free order at once, while pretending that I wasn’t really an aviation geek.
I asked her when they’d have the Boeing 787.
And then she knelt down next to me as I marveled at my first-ever duty free purchase. She told me about the Boeing 787. She told me about the better seats. She told me about the exciting new destinations. Somewhere in between, she might have mentioned that the airplane model would be in stock the next time I flew with Scoot, but I can’t be sure.
She leaves the ScootBiz cabin. Within 2 or 3 seconds, a younger, prettier and ruder Korean crew began parading the ScootBiz cabin.
Her “My Sassy Girl” Jun Ji-Hyun demeanor was tyrannical. Off her head, she demanded each passenger stop using their cameras, tablets and phones even though they were in flight mode.
“That’s unbelievable!”, a Filipino fellow passenger exclaimed. “We can’t do anything.”
Her stare of death flashed the cabin, before she returned to her modest, innocence.
Having overspent on edible souvenirs back at the airport, I was particularly hungry so I couldn’t wait for my midnight supper.
For supper I had the seasonal Thai Red Curry Vegetables served with Rice. ScootBiz passengers get any choice of drink and a Tolberone bar, so I ordered a Merlot.
The plastic packaging was so flimsy, that everyone who had a meal had to resort punching through the packaging with their forks. 32 ScootBiz passengers each contributing a few stabs was hilarious.
My main course was tasteless, as were my fellow ScootBiz passengers’ meals. Nobody took more than a second bite before everybody retired to their beverages and trusty Tolberone bar.
After supper, and a very potent wine, I asked the crew if they could give me just a sip of water. The Korean tyrant did not oblige.
Extremely tipsy, dehydrated and angry, I reclined my seat and tried to sleep.
In ScootBiz, you don’t just lie on a seat that has gone flat. Instead, you sit on a recliner chair that offers slightly more angle than a regular Economy seat. The lights, stay up, and is excebated as the front of the aircraft tapers towards the nose, making the cabin brighter than it really ought to be.
I was dying to get off the plane.
I don’t even know how to express this in words.
I probably need a poet to describe how painfully agonizing this flight was.
I whimpered in suffering like a little dog.
I spent the next minute lounging in all possible positions.
When I woke up, I saw the clock, heard the prepare for landing announcement and my heart sank. A little over 1 hour to Singapore, midway from Bangkok, the crew began switching on the lights to full blast, and demanded we sit straight and belted up.
As we finally landed in Singapore, a huge problem presented itself – I never wanted to fly Scoot, ScootBiz or S-T-R-E-T-C-H regardless.
I have to say, after being served a dose of Auschwitz at 35,000 feet, I’m not sure I’d ever fly Scoot.
But eventually I got off the plane, because as PITA the PAP government might be sometimes, Singapore’s not too bad.