I was recently invited to give Scoot Airlines' ScootPlus a test run on my latest visit to Singapore.
Scoot is the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group. Scoot took to the skies in June 2012 and merged with Tigerair Singapore in July 2017, retaining the Scoot brand and positioning it well for a new phase of progression.
Now, I have to be upfront here and tell you that I was fairly apprehensive about entering into this challenge as my previous experiences with low-cost airlines have not often ended well at all. I honestly have been happy to pay a little extra to fly with what I would call the more tried and trusted carriers.
I have a system I rely on consistently, in a three-strikes-and-you-are-out format.
First mess up, well OK I can give you the benefit of the doubt.
Second failure to provide the expected and, well, I am starting to think "Houston we have a problem".
Third strike and unfortunately you are on the poop list and it will be a long time, if ever, that I will return to give you another shot. I believe that's fair; you may disagree?
So, with that on the table I arrived at Sydney airport nice and early just in case of any first-up issues. Scoot's check-in counters are open a minimum of two and a half hours before departure and the process was indeed trouble free.
My Sydney-Singapore seat was at the pointy end of the plane as I was road-testing ScootPlus, which is their business class offering. This, I believed, would be very handy as it was a night flight leaving at 8.45pm and arriving at Changi at the slightly fearful time of 3.15am! My strategy was to get some early sleep at Sydney time, reckoning my headspace time in Singapore would be 6.15am - which was totally cool by me.
Here is the rundown on Scootplus bare essentials:
The seats are a luxury leather number with a 15-centimetre recline, 56cm width and a minimum 96cm of legroom allowance. Fortunately for a man of my stature that's like giving me a king-size bed as I am fairly light on when it comes to vertical excesses!
Leg rests and four-way adjustable headrests, free on board WIFI, with 30MB which is very cool, and in-seat chargers as well. You also get to choose your meal upfront from a wide selection including a free welcome-on-board adult beverage.
Finally, you have 30kg of checked luggage available as well as two carry-on pieces, as long as you don't exceed 15kg in total.
I must compliment the company's choice of aircraft, with the acquisition of Boeing 787 Dreamliners - nice wide-bodied babies which give the cabin space a much less claustrophobic feel; much quieter engine noise which is a bonus for those without noise-cancelling headphones; and, get this, mood lighting that changes throughout the flight depending on the time of day.
An added bonus: there are no more annoying window shades to muck about with as the windows are a dreamy 48cm tall and 65 per cent larger than the standard aeroplane windows, so you'll get to see a lot more of your surroundings. And did I mention they dim? Yep, you are in control of how much outside light you allow to enter your airspace. Just brilliant!
The journey itself was without incident and the staff could not have been more attentive. The meal was certainly not a 5-star business class affair, but was never sold as if it was. This is business on a budget. Still, it was certainly satisfying.
I downed the accompanying complimentary beverage and settled back into full recline, while not affecting the passenger behind me and started to watch a little Netflix I had downloaded. Before I knew it, I was receiving a gentle nudge from the cabin supervisor to let me know we were on descent.
Happy days indeed. I had slept most of the journey!
In summary, for the price of ScootPlus versus standard economy fare on a full-service airline I would definitely have myself a second helping.
The saving was about $330 and the extra space in my business-class size seat alone for me was probably a clincher.
Scoot, so far, no strikes ... you're safe!
Scoot flies daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Singapore, and in peak season up to 10 times weekly.
Visit FlyScoot.com for all the information.
Where to stay
During my last Singapore visit I hung my hat at the Swisstel The Stanford, which was a real treat. This time around, home was at The Fairmont Singapore, which is literally a one-minute walk from Swisstel.
If you are keen enough, why not have a couple of days in both during your Singapore stay. Each unquestionably has its own style and ambience, with The Fairmont's rooms giving me the feeling I was George Clooney for some reason? They just had that sense of suave sophistication and a little cheekiness!
Between the two hotels there are 13 individual restaurants and bars that deliver everything from buffet breakfasts that will blow your calorie budget, to chic and celestial tastings ranging across nations and gastronomic pleasures.
Give Mikuni a shot with its three live stations and master chefs providing the perfect combination of old school Japanese culinary methods, with an added touch of humour and theatrics!
- Scott McRae was a guest of Scoot.
- Scott McRae is The Travelling Guy, www.thetravellingguy.com. Follow @scottythetravellingguy on Instagram and Facebook.