In today’s flight review, we travel on board budget airline Scoot’s Business Class (known as “ScootBiz”) red eye service from Singapore’s Changi Airport to Sydney, Australia.
The service, which delivers a premium class for economy prices may seem too good to be true – but with ScootBiz that’s an actual thing. It’s best described as a “Premium Economy” experience, but even then it’s at a great price compared to the rest of the market – with comfort and excellent service to boot. Just be prepared to pay for the odd extra. Here’s a bit more about the experience…
Route: Singapore to Sydney, TZ2
Seat: 2A – Window Seat (2-3-2 Layout)
Scheduled Flight Time: 7 hours of flight time after takeoff.
On Schedule? 20 minutes late departure but on time arrival.
Frequent Flyer Program:
As they’re owned by Singapore Airlines (think of them as Jetstar is to Qantas), they are part of the KrisFlyer loyalty program. You can earn points only if you purchase a PlusPerks fare, or ScootBiz. You can also use KrisFlyer points towards a flight. Unlike most redemption systems, you can use your points to get vouchers, which you use towards a flight. Could be a handy way of reducing the cost of a flight.
Just because you’re flying ScootBiz doesn’t mean you’re going to get yourself into one of Changi’s lounges. You need to pay an extra fee to get the access, but it’s only to the lounge that anyone can pay to get into anyway – you won’t be enjoying one of Singapore Airlines’ much loved spots. Still, the option is there should you desire it – but being at Changi you have more than enough to do without the access.
Check-in & Baggage:
You get 30kg baggage and 2 carry on items included in your ScootBiz fare. A separate check-in line ensures a quick and easy check in process. There was a delay with baggage arrivals on the other end, but otherwise it was all pretty smooth in this department.
About your departure airport, Singapore Changi:
One thing worth remembering with Singapore Changi is that you don’t go through a security check until you go to your gate. You clear customs, enjoy the shopping and dining, and then you head to security at the gate. So make sure to prepare enough time to do so. Being on a budget airline, you’re generally travelling with people who don’t travel as much – so security always seems to take a bit longer. There was no exception here.
Technically there was no separate queue for business by the time I got through security, but they were kind enough to let me jump to the front of the queue after it took a while getting through the security check. We then took a bus out to the aircraft after clearing security. Then the bus ride took 10 minutes, before you were all pushed in on one entry. In the end, my “early boarding” didn’t mean too much – I think I was the very last to board the plane. But it was all pretty painless all the same.
There’s a water fountain and toilets at the gate, so bring an empty bottle – because water is not free on the plane if you’re flying economy (which I learned the hard way on the flight over).
In ScootBiz, we were greeted with some water when we sat down. Due to the timing of the flight (which is pretty close to 2am) they didn’t automatically offer alcoholic drinks or the like as advertised after take off (your “welcome drink”), but I’m sure if you asked for it they would have provided it. When I learned that meals wouldn’t be served until closer to landing (though they did say if I did want it now I could have it – honestly I was relieved as I just wanted to sleep), I requested another water and they were happy to bring me a cup.
Food service started two hours before landing. As this was a red-eye flight, but I didn’t realise this would be served as breakfast, I had pre-chosen the braised chicken with rice, chocolate, water and any drink item from the menu. There seemed to have been some better options though, so make sure to spend a bit of time going through that side of things when you book. The food wasn’t the best you’ll experience, which is a pity given the quality of food Singapore is known for, but it does the trick – my only real complaint was that they offered no milk for English tea – only powdered creamer. Which wasn’t particularly appetizing.
Wi-fi is available at a cost and ScootTV comes included in the biz fare. I didn’t try to access the Wi-Fi, but I logged on to see that there were about 10 western movies in the ScootTV service. You just need to ask for an access card from a flight attendant if you want to use it. If you’re in economy you’ll be paying SG$9. But instead I chose to watch some content already on my laptop. And sleep. A universal plug in your seat will certainly help you do the former. And as for sleep, you’ve got the best seat on board for that…
The ScootBiz seat is a comfortable one. It has “double leg room” with 38 inch seat pitch (versus 31 of the standard seats), moveable head rests, 22 inch seat width (versus 18) and 8 inch recline. These are good by any standards when comparing to other Premium Economy offerings – even Singapore Airlines. The seat pitch is the same, but these seats are much wider. There’s a footrest that comes from underneath (which you can move via a switch) and your table comes out from your armrest, which isn’t movable – but you don’t have to share with the person next to you!
I couldn’t fit my backpack under the seat in front of me. Luckily it wasn’t too hard to find room above the seats and the woman I was sitting next to was very patient with me getting up and down. In general, I find the window seat frustrating if you’re the person who needs to get out a couple of times – there’s not quite enough leg room to easily squeeze past the person next to you. But it also means no one is needing to jump over you. So it’s a personal preference situation, especially for a red eye.
In Flight Amenities:
You don’t get a blanket or a pillow or anything like that inclusive – you need to pay extra for it. Thankfully you’re on a new 787 and it’s a fairly comfortable ride in terms of temperature and all else. They call it the Dreamliner for a reason! It’s a stiff headrest but this does the trick in supporting your head while you try and sleep. It’s a red eye flight so this is the priority. Don’t expect anything special in the Biz bathroom, either – there weren’t even paper towels on my flight – only tissues!
Though the boarding procedure was a bit of a shemozzle, the staff were incredibly helpful and treated you like a premium guest when on board. Anytime I asked for something they were quick to cater for it and they ran their service like clockwork. Though they were restricted in some ways by the things you had to pay extra for and the things you didn’t, they did their best to give you what you needed within the rules the airline provided (if that makes sense!). The best example of this being the meal service, which could be catered to your own schedule if you so desired.
Once you’re on board in Standard Economy, if there are any seats available in the ScootBiz cabin or one of the “Stretch Seats” or “Super Seats”, you’ll actually be able to upgrade on board. You won’t be eligible for extra KrisFlyer points, but it can be an affordable way to get one of the more premium seats, and depending on your seat situation (e.g. who you’re next to and where you end up), it could be very worth it.
The way you need to look at the ScootBiz service is that it’s a Premium Economy service at Economy prices. You can fly return from Sydney to Singapore in the class for under $1,000 which is pretty remarkable. Even with the things they don’t supply, and the minor points of complaint, this is a great way to travel. I got a good sleep (even without a blanket) and the Dreamliner is a very comfortable aircraft. If you want to save some coin but still have a comfortable premium experience, ScootBiz is definitely the way to go – and it’s miles ahead of its Economy offering, making it very much worth the extra dollars.
To book yourself a flight with Scoot, head to their official website.
The writer travelled as a guest of the airline.