Flying Singapore Airlines while booked on a Scoot flight!

For those that frequent Australia, this might not be new for you – you may receive a notification from Scoot a couple of weeks before your flight to be notified that your flight has been changed to a chartered flight by Singapore Airlines due to tighter aircraft utilization across Scoot’s network.

On a recent trip to Sydney, my return flight to Singapore was changed to a Singapore Airlines flight and here are some of the unique things about flying on this flight.

Check-in counter

The check-in counter was switched from the Scoot check-in counter to the Singapore Airlines check-in counter at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport Terminal 1. Staff at the check-in counter were Singapore Airlines staff and were not in the bright yellow/black shirt we usually see Scoot staff in.

Meals and snacks

Having not purchased any meal during the booking for this flight, the note in the notification email on the vegetarian/ halal options did not concern me. The note on how water will be served and readily available on the flight did appeal to me though. Also, they indicated that passengers on this flight were able to bring onboard our snacks and drinks on the plane.

The surprise for me, however, was that all passengers on-board the flight (whether you’ve purchased the meal or not) were each given a meal option. An elderly couple seated in front of me were really surprised when the air stewardess approached them for their food choice whilst they were serving the food. She was also kind enough advise the couple to keep their prepared meals for a later time as the 8 hour flight only had that single food-service option.  

Entertainment

On the way to Sydney, I was on ScootBiz, which provided a scaled-down entertainment service through the use of my personal device. That service, however, is usually not provided to passengers flying Scoot economy. To my delight, the entertainment system was turned on throughout the duration of the flight – say ‘yay’ to movies, games, and music! This was definitely a treat for me as I managed to catch-up on some of the latest movies. Two passengers seated behind me also commented as we left the plane that they were spoilt by Scoot and hoped that their return flight to Sydney was also going to be a chartered one.

Final thoughts

The chartered flight back to Singapore was definitely a pleasant one – but what about those add-on items which I’d purchase? Scoot advised that all purchased add-on items, including seats chosen, extra cabin baggage, and scoot priority, will be refunded within 4 weeks of departure of flight.

While I enjoyed my flight, part of me wished that I had purchased ScootBiz for my return flight – ScootBiz passengers were upgraded to the business class seats on the Singapore Airlines flight! Now, that would definitely have been a greater treat.

One is better when it comes to frequent flyer programme

Star Alliance

Few things get the adrenaline flowing more than flying — whether it’s for work or pleasure.

Airlines have mastered the art of customer service by treating travellers differently depending on the class of ticket.

How often people feel like second or even third class during check in or boarding time. The queue is long and the wait time longer at the economy check in counter and the boarding gate.

That’s unless you have the budget to buy a higher class ticket which comes with better service, lounge access and of course, wider seats and choice of meals.

The other alternative for mortals is to join a frequent flyer programme and clock up enough miles to enjoy the same perks as those travelling on more expensive tickets.

One mistake I’ve made is to join too many frequent flyer programmes. I’m a member of Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, and Eva Air and have my miles spread across all these.

The catch is that I need to clock up lots of miles on each of these to enjoy Gold status and the privileges that come with it.

It was only when a friend suggested that I consolidate my miles to one programme that I realised my folly. Why didn’t I think of that?

If I add the miles on those from the same alliance, such as Star Alliance, into one programme, I would have hit Gold status long ago. I should not have spread them in both Singapore Airlines and Eva Air. A word for the wise — it’s easier to earn miles from Eva Air which is more generous compared to Singapore Airlines.

So, if like me, you’re enrolled in several frequent flyer programmes, it would be good to just concentrate on one to clock up the miles. That way, you can get a faster upgrade and enjoy the perks.

 

SIA U-turns on charging credit card fees

Singapore Airlines website.JPGJust 24 hours after announcing that it will be charging credit card fees for bookings made for certain classes of tickets in Singapore, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has made a U turn and informed its staff that it will not be doing so.

The reversal comes on the back of criticisms received for the its original decision. A number pointed out that as a full-service carrier, SIA was following in the footsteps of budget carriers.

Some have said that the 1.3 per cent fee, capped at S$50 per passenger, could have been included in the overall ticket price, instead of a separate cost. This way, customers are less likely to kick up a fuss.

It’s not just this move but a number of other announcements that are irking customers. One concerns an additional fee to pre-select seats under the lowest priced Economy tickets.

While it is understandable that SIA is a commercial entity and needs to make money to account to its shareholders, the recent spate of announcements are making flying on the carrier increasingly costly, especially for Economy class customers.

If not handled carefully, the airline may just push them to take other airlines instead. There are plenty of other similar class options available.