You don’t need a pair of binoculars to spot a budget airline in the crowded skies: just look for brightly coloured fuselage.
Singapore Airlines’ new long-haul budget airline, Scoot, which is going for the banana yellow (taxi cab) look, took its first passengers to the skies on June 4 with a new daily service between Singapore and Sydney.
Scoot is aimed at travellers who are prepared to put cost over comfort: even if that means squeezing into a tight space for the long-haul, jetting off at an unsociable hour, and without checked bags.
Passengers on Scoot’s Singapore to Sydney leg have to sacrifice some sleep for an early start, with the daily flight leaving at 2:10am.
Simple fare structure
The airline has introduced a simple tiered pricing structure, with four ticket options: fly, bag, eat and biz.
The cheapest option, ‘Fly’ is for those who just want a seat and some space for a carry-on bag.
FlyBag is the next fare up, and allows travellers to check in a bag weighing up to 15kgs.
Travellers can however pay extra to choose where they sit, for a baggage allowance, or a meal.
FlyBagEat, as the name suggests, includes a checked bag and a meal in the fare.
Scootbiz is the airline’s version of business class and includes leather seating with in-seat power, 38 inches of legroom (compared to 31 inches in economy), up to two meals, all drinks, 20kgs of checked luggage, priority boarding and an amenity kit.
Scoot has started off with a fleet of two Boeing 777-200s (former Singapore Airlines planes) that have been given a lick of bright yellow paint.
The airline expects to have four planes in service by the year-end.
Bare bones service
While parent company Singapore Airlines markets itself as a ‘premium airline’, Scoot’s lower cost operating model means threadbare cabins.
Space is tight, there are no seat headrests and the seatback entertainment has been stripped out to lighten the planes and improve fuel efficiency.
Instead, passengers can rent iPad 2s pre-loaded with TV, films, music and games from the airline for SGD$22 (£14).
It’s a further money-making opportunity for Scoot – well aware that passengers will probably be looking for some entertainment on the eight hour flight between Singapore and Sydney.
Business class passengers are being handed iPads at no extra cost.
New destinations in Asia
The Singapore-Sydney service is the first of six routes on Scoot’s radar.
New flights from Singapore to Australia’s Gold Coast will begin on June 12, followed by flights to Bangkok (Thailand), Tianjin (China), Tokyo (Japan) and Taipei (Taiwan).
Scoot’s boss, Campbell Wilson said he has no plans to expand long-haul flights as far as Europe any time soon.
Kuala-Lumpur based AirAsia X, famous for offering passengers a cheap, basic shuttle service between London (Stansted) and Australia was forced to cancel its flights to Europe and India earlier this year, citing factors including fuel costs, weak demand for seats from European travellers and rising taxes in Europe.
Scoot will tap into Asia’s growing appetite for affordable flights and compete for custom with no-frills airlines Jetstar and AirAsia X.