What scootitude? I’ll stick with Singapore Airlines

WHEN a friend told me he was flying Scoot from Singapore to Sydney (and on the return journey), I was keen to find out more of his experience. 

However, he was flying business class, so that may not be representative of the experience for the majority of budget travellers in the back of the aircraft. But for the extra of a complimentary glass of orange juice perhaps, it might on the whole provide some hint of the service culture that runs through the plane.

My friend was reasonably pleased with his flight, being given his personal iPad for in-flight entertainment (which he must return before landing) and blanket and pillow which he got to keep. He found the crew young like schoolgirls – very different from the Singapore girl image of parent Singapore Airlines – somewhat reminiscent of the flying days of Tradewinds, the predecessor of SilkAir. He was not complaining. 

But my friend was upset when, returning from Sydney, he was charged A$120 for excess baggage of 6 kg. He asked if he could remove some excess items since he still had room in his carry-on bag within the allowable limits, but the agent refused, saying he (the agent) had already checked the bag into the system. That was the sore point; he was not given the option to repack – a common airline practice. Unsuspected travellers are often surprised by the high cost of flying budget if they flout the restrictions.

My friend provided details of the incident in an online feedback form, followed up with a chaser and duly received an automated response acknowledging receipt and promising a response in five working days. For all that was said in the Scoot interim response about welcoming feedback (“We are always keen to know how we are doing and how we can improve our service, so your feedback and suggestions are welcome!”), it looks like the end of the road in my friend’s case. A month has since gone by and he has not heard from the carrier.

Not surprising. Even full-service airlines avoid the unpleasant task of responding to complaints, particularly those that may concern some form of compensation, so much more budget carriers that do not bank as much on customer loyalty in a market that is driven almost entirely by the cost of the airfare. Many of them subscribe to the healing power of time.

All that aside, I asked him what made the flying experience on Scoot different from other airlines. I wanted to pin down what exactly is this thing called ‘scootitude’ that the carrier made much of in selling its product. (It was easier understanding the “leisure” style of the defunct Tradewinds).  And I wanted to know if he would fly Scoot again.

His verdict: What scootitude? I’ll stick with Singapore Airlines.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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