By Sohail Sawlani

An Honest Flight Review: Flying Scoot to Phuket

September 7, 2023

Recently, I flew on Singapore Airlines' sister budget-carrier, Scoot, round-trip between Singapore (SIN) and Phuket (HKT), and here is a detailed and honest review of my experience with the popular low-cost airline:

On 31 August, my journey began in the wee hours of the morning at the World's Best Airport- Singapore's Changi Airport. The check in and immigration processes went smoothly, with minimal waiting time. Following that, I walked a mere 5 minutes to Gate D35 to board TR658 to Phuket- followed for a final baggage and security check at the gate itself. This is something very unique about Changi Airport as they are one of the few airports that conduct their security checks at the gate itself, instead of at a centralised area, to minimise congestion. Boarding began promptly, and took off shortly after at scheduled time (7.50am).

The aircraft I flew on was 9V-TRX, a 10-year-old Airbus A320-200, which previously flew with Tigerair. This was evident as the aircraft was quite old and not well-maintained. There was a rather unpleasant smell in the cabin, and there were many issues with the seats. My seat in particular, had issues with the backrest as it was easily moved/reclined without intention, and the handrest could not be lifted up. The legroom on this rather old A320 was insufficent, and felt quite cramped. Nonetheless, the experience seemed quite typical for a budget carrier. The remainder of the flight was uneventful, with no meal service unless you pay for ScootCafe meals on the spot or via pre-order. This was manageable as the flight duration was just 1 hour 45 mins.

The flight touched down 20 minutes late in Phuket, with a smooth landing. The aircraft was parked at a stand, so a shuttle service was provided to head back to the terminal building. At the terminal, there was an insanely long queue at passport control, which took around 1 hour to get through. By the time I reached the front of the line, the Scoot aircraft already had departed on the inbound leg to Singapore. Baggage reclaim went smoothly, but it was a hassle to find taxi services.

A couple of days later, on September 3rd, I returned back to Phuket Airport for my flight back to Singapore (TR653). Check in was quite fast, as if you had done early-check-in within 48 hours of the flight, there is a shorter queue compared to the usual one. All handcarry baggages were allowed to be checked in free of charged as the flight was packed. Phuket Airport's security checks were unusually quick, and following that, there were many food and retail options available on the way to the gate. However, at the gate I was notified of a 1 hour delay as the inbound flight had departed late from Singapore. According to the Changi App, the outbound flight had a gate change close to departure time, which as a result, delayed boarding. Finally, at 8.50pm, 50 minutes after scheduled departure, boarding began. As I reached closer to the stand for departure, the rain got worse, which made it more difficult to board the aircraft.

To my surprise, my aircraft was one of Scoot's new Airbus A321neo aircraft. The particular one I flew on was 9V-NCJ, which was only 1.8 years old at the time of flight. The aircraft looked stunningly new, and still had that fresh new aircraft smell since it only started flying regularly recently due to COVID-19. The seats were way more spacious than the older A320s, and very comfortable. While there was no seat pocket or IFE screen, everything about the seat was above and beyond for a budget carrier. During the flight, ScootHub was also open, which allowed passengers to track flights, or access complimentary entertainment (games etc). Duty-free sales were also opened, including the sale of Scoot's latest Pokemon Jet aircraft model (which was quite pricey for a plastic aircraft model at $79 SGD). There was a lot of turbulence during the flight due to bad weather so the fasten seatbelt sign was switched on for most of the flight. Throughout the flight the bright moon and cities below were very visible- especially Kuala Lumpur with the Petronas Towers.

Soon enough, at 11.45pm local time, I landed in Singapore. The landing was very rough as the weather was windy. The approach was very steep at times, and upon touchdown, some items in the galley collapsed which caused a ruckus at the back of the plane. The final leg of the journey at Changi Airport went smooth as usual, with no damage to my belongings at the baggage belt and quick automated security lines.

Overall, Scoot is a decent low-cost option to fly around Asia and beyond, just make sure that the aircraft you are flying on is one of Scoot's newer ones in their fleet (A320neo, A321neo or 787s). It is certainly better than other options in the area.

© 2023 Planeopedia LLP
Written by: Sohail Sawlani
All Rights Reserved
UEN: T23LL0860H



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