Scoot Flight Review: Flying ScootBiz TR106 Singapore to Guangzhou

February 14, 2018

I was frankly very excited about this Scoot flight - even though it has a not so favourable arrival time of 2.05am(!) in Guangzhou, this flight will certainly spice up my travel journey with its two firsts for me:

  • first flight on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

  • first flight in ScootBiz

Flight Details

Operator: Scoot

Flight: TR106

Route: Singapore (SIN) to Guangzhou (CAN)

Departure from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2: 9.55pm / 10.11pm^

Arrival in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Terminal 1: 02:05am / 1.44am^

Flight Time: 4 hours and 10 minutes / 3 hours and 33 minutes^

Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Registration: 9V-OJC ("Inspiring Spirit")

(^ denotes actual timings)

 

I made my flight booking directly on Scoot's website (me be loving how goodlooking Scoot thinks I am - hey gorgeous!) and I like its uncluttered layout and easily readable text so you could easily pick your desired add-ins (like extra baggage, comfort kit, or even Wi-Fi!). At the same time, I could select my complimentary meal (Braised Beef Cheek with Penne for me). It seems so straightforward and a breeze to book... at first....

 

After choosing my seat (complimentary selection for ScootBiz passengers) and skipping other extra add-ons, coming to the payment page, I thought it was odd that travel insurance (SGD15) was included in the total amount due:

I don't recall adding travel insurance to my flight booking, and I tried hard to deselect this add-on option on the payment page (note that this bill item is shown in a less obvious grey font colour) but to no avail.

 

Not wanting to buy insurance (of any sort), I retraced my booking steps and by pressing the "previous" button to two pages back, I found that I could uncheck the travel insurance option:

But hey! This is odd... Knowing fully how cautious I am with my flight ticket purchases, I am certain that I would have uncheck this travel insurance option when I was selecting my add-ons earlier. I did a fresh dummy booking and I realized my self-awareness was still tip-top after all - this was the initial travel insurance option shown after choosing my desired flight:

 ...versus this one after coming to the payment page then pressing the "previous" button:

See the difference?

Don't hey gorgeous me if you are going to coerce me into buy your SGD15 insurance!

Fast-forward to my flight day, I had arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 2 to check-in for my flight (strangely, I had been unable to check-in for my flight online - might have been Scoot's payback for skipping the insurance). 

My worries about my flight were eased when I tried the self check-in kiosk, which was a breeze to churn out my boarding pass. The queues for baggage drop were horribly long though - please do factor extra time for baggage drop when you are flying with Scoot!

Even for ScootBiz passengers, Scoot charges extra for lounge access (utilizing SATS Premier Lounge at Terminal 2, packaged in a bundle with priority check-in and boarding for SGD39), so I decided to spend my time exploring the airside of Terminal 2 instead.

 

Unsurprisingly, in this award-winning airport, there are some pretty good quick bites food options, including some famous Singapore brands serving up a variety of Singapore and international cuisine. I settled for a piping hot bowl of rich noodle soup from popular ramen brand, Ippudo. Just the perfect comforting fix I needed before a night flight!

With my tummy satisfied, I headed for the boarding gate, F35. The gate opened promptly and a snaking long line of (majority Chinese) passengers formed - though there were a few half-baked attempts to cut queues, it was far more orderly than I had in mind.

A glimpse of the aircraft at the boarding gate could be seen from the gate. Scoot gives names to its aircraft and this particular one (9V-OJC) is christened "Inspiring Spirit".

Boarding commenced more or less on schedule and travelling in ScootBiz, I enjoyed priority in boarding. Stepping into "Inspiring Spirit", I was welcomed onboard cheerfully by a Scootie (as Scoot's cabin crew are better known as).

The ScootBiz recliner seat is quite similar to the regional Business Class seat of full service airlines (particularly, those found on the narrowbody Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 aircraft), making it a spacious and comfortable rest for the duration of the flight.

For the breakdown in figures, the seat offers a width of 22 inches (56 cm), a seat pitch of 38 inches (96 cm), and a recline of 6 inches (15 cm).

Though the seat controls and attendant call buttons look rather primitive, I took an immediate liking to them in being idiot-proof to operate. 

There are individual AC power ports, which come in handy on longhaul flights, especially when ScooTV entertainment is available complimentary for ScootBiz passengers.

While the AC power ports are great for enjoying ScooTV entertainment, the tray table is not! It is rather flimsy and I wonder if it will bear the weight of a laptop when watching ScooTV content. The tray table at my seat also sinks down at an awkward angle (creating a pyramid-like shape). Later during the meal service, I was quite nervous about my bottle of red wine perching precariously on it. 

Having settled in, the crew-in-charge came to offer me my welcome drink: drinking water

(I guess one can't go wrong with H2O - all 135 ml of it).

The crew-in-charge was really nice, actively chatting with passengers during the boarding process - even conversing with them fluently in Cantonese, the lingua franca of Guangzhou. That certainly left a positive first impression.

 

Once everyone boarded, safety demonstration was performed by the Scooties before the cabin lights were dimmed and the whirring Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines lifted "Inspiring Spirit" into the night sky.

Immigration forms were distributed promptly after the take off. An announcement was made regarding the availability of ScootBiz seats for purchase (I believed it was SGD120 when upgraded inflight).

ScootBiz passengers enjoy a complimentary meal (pre-selected during the flight booking) with a choice of beverage (inclusive of alcoholic beverages). All extra food and beverages are chargeable, as with the Economy passengers.

 

Here's a look at Scoot Café menu:

Non-alcoholic beverages (hot and cold) cost SGD4.

Alcoholic beverages start from SGD8 (mixers for the spirits are sold separately, as informed by a Scootie).

Hot meals cost SGD12, and when bundled with a coke or jasmine green tea, cost SGD15, or SGD19 when paired with a red or white wine.

A Scootie came to take the drink orders from each passenger before the meal service commenced. I chose a red wine.

 

Passengers' pre-selected meal were then individually served together with their chosen drink.

 

I had selected a Premium Selection meal, which included two deluxe sides and a drink. Looking less premium than its name suggests, the meal was served with the wrappers still on, and disposable cutlery. Heck, the entire tray contents looked disposable. But then again, what should I be expecting when the same meal could be pre-ordered by Economy passengers as well.

The two deluxe sides were a chicken breast and coleslaw appetizer, and a Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream. Okay, deluxe seems legit!

I appreciate that the Häagen-Dazs ice cream was ice-cold and rock-hard so that it was still unmelted after I have finished the other courses.

 

Well, and the drink turned out to be drinking water.

Again, one can never go wrong with H2O.

The disposable cutlery:

The Braised Beef and Penne main course choice I picked was quite decent - with melt-in-the-mouth chunks of beef, accompanied by slightly oily penne pasta cooked al dente. While it was a simple meal, it certainly hit the spot - especially when paired with the red wine. Thumbs up!

As nice as the beef course was, my dining experience was marred by the Scootie's persistent patrols up and down the entire five rows of ScootBiz cabin, impatiently trying to clear the meal trays, in an attempt, perhaps, to finish off the meal service quickly.

While I understand the Scooties probably wanted to complete the meal service as soon as possible to rest, it was quite ironic that, while the Business Class Scootie had worked quite leisurely in serving out the meals; after serving the meals, she patrolled incessantly round the tiny cabin, watching passengers like a hawk and harassing them by constantly asking if she could clear their meal tray. Her obsession to clear the meal trays placed undue pressure on passengers to quickly finish their meal. It was not at all a pleasant dining experience.

On the same Business Class Scootie - she was not rude but one could easily six-sense her lack of patience when interacting with her. For example, when I enquired about the access code for ScooTV - even before I could complete my question, she cut me off tersely "yes" then abruptly walked off. While she was very prompt in answering call buttons in the cabin, she was ice-cold (more or less the same temperature as the ice cream served) and truly lacked soft customer service skills, let alone, a smile. Sitting in that big old ScootBiz seat, I was thinking to myself what she was probably thinking, "yep, you get what you've paid for".

 

After the rushed dining experience, duty-free sales were conducted before the cabin lights were dimmed.

Though Scoot offers complimentary access to ScooTV for ScootBiz passengers, I was surprised the access codes to enjoy the entertainment were not proactively given to passengers but had to be requested from the Scooties.

The ScootBiz lavatory - all one of them - was located just behind the cockpit door. I was quite surprised that for 35 ScootBiz seats in the cabin, there was just ONE lavatory! What would happen if the lavatory is inoperative! However, perhaps to make up for the lack of numbers, this lavatory actually has instrumental music playing - quite lovely, but for the sake of every one of the ScootBiz passengers (and the pilots! - and thus, every soul on board the flight), please don't break down! 

I thought one redeeming point (on top of what I paid for) was that the Scooties were friendly and proactive in greeting passengers who passed them in the galley enroute to that sacred lavatory a cheerful "hello!" - even the nasty one from earlier seemed more pleasant behind the scenes.

 

Soon, the cabin lights were turned on and the cabin crew prepared the cabin for arrival.

After a very nice aerial night tour (no, not at all being sarcastic on this one - the city lights were truly dazzling!) of Guangzhou's metropolitan city-scape, we landed very smoothly into Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, well ahead of schedule.

With Door 2 being used for disembarkation, ironically, ScootBiz passengers had to disembark after the Economy passengers seated in the Scoot-in-Silence zone.

Yeap, you get what you've paid for.

So this sums up my first experience in ScootBiz on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The ScootBiz seat is very comfortable - being comparable with the regional Business Class recliner seat of major airlines. I really felt snug in it. Aside from the seat itself, you get priority in boarding and drinking water as welcome drink (like I said, you can't go wrong with H2O).

 

Of course, I didn't enjoy the Scootitude I got on my flight but hey, I shouldn't and wouldn't be placing a blanket judgment on Scoot crew based on my bad experience with one cootie-Scootie. However, sitting in the small ScootBiz cabin with much of my interaction being limited to one surly Business Class Scootie, I can't help but lament my less-than-positive inflight experience.

Yep, you've got what you've paid for.

 

One lavatory for the whole ScootBiz cabin?

Yep, you've got what you've paid for.

 

Disembarking after Economy passengers?

Yep, you've got what you've paid for.

 

A spacious comfortable seat to your destination.

Yep, that's pretty much what you've paid for.

 

Well, thank you, for reading this ScootBiz experience on FlightTravels!

 

For the full video experience of this Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ScootBiz experience, have a look below:

 

 

 

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