[Misc] Should you continue to fly Scoot?

Photograph by Benny Zheng

Last weekend, Singapore’s local budget carrier Scoot experienced not one but two long delays.

TZ 221, scheduled to depart Hong Kong to Singapore on 19 June 7.10am, was delayed until 7pm on 20 June.

TZ 8, scheduled to depart Singapore for Perth on 20 June 12.10pm, was delayed until 9.50am the next day.

It took the CEO two days before issuing an explanation.

Scoot deeply regrets disruption to guests affected by the flight delays over the weekend. We sincerely apologize for the…

Posted by FlyScoot on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The two incidents surface quite a few issues associated with budget airlines and consumers like us should be aware of them when we are deciding whether to fly with them.

FLIGHT OPERATIONS

Scoot has a total fleet size of 8 and its planes’ utilization are up to 15 hours each day. However, if a plane faces a mechanical issue, it is unlikely that there is a spare aircraft to replace the affected one immediately, even if it’s at Changi, Scoot’s home base. Subsequent flights on the same aircraft are likely to be affected as well and customers have to be prepared for changes in schedules whenever a mechanical issue strikes any of the Scoot’s planes.

MAINTENANCE

Having mechanical issues are part and parcel of running an airline but having two on consecutive days which resulted in delays for more than 20 hours certainly made me raise my eyebrows. While Scoot did the right thing to ground the planes for the passengers’ safety, I wondered if the heavy utilization of the planes has an impact on the maintenance schedule. I definitely do not want the maintenance to be compromised for the sake of getting the plane back into air quickly. Nevertheless, kudos to the maintenance teams which spotted the issues in time before anything serious happened in-flight.

IRROPS MANAGEMENT

There is a distinct lack of consistency in the treatment of affected passengers for the two flights. While some of them were given accommodation in Hong Kong, the ones in Singapore only received compensation of Scoot vouchers and nothing else. Naturally there were some very unhappy people at Changi Airport on Saturday evening.

Why the difference? It seemed that Scoot’s staff at Hong Kong were empowered to deal with the situation but those at Changi were contract staff who could only repeat the official line, making the frustrated passengers even angrier.

Furthermore, no full-time staff from Scoot stepped up at Changi to deal with the affected passengers. To me, this showed how much Scoot really cared for them. While Scoot is a low-cost carrier, it still has the duty of care for the passengers. It is only right that Scoot provides accurate updates and engages the passengers directly during operational delays.

Should you continue to fly Scoot?

Without a doubt, Scoot offers some really competitive prices. However, the way how they treated the customers during flight delays showed that they probably weren’t worth your money. So much for their so-called ‘Scootitude’.

If you still want to take the plunge, please make sure that you have travel insurance which covers costs incurred in case of flight delays. There is also no point getting angry at the contract staff who are powerless to help. The savings probably aren’t worth the pain that one has to go through in times like this.

Will you continue to fly Scoot? Share your thoughts with us!

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