Background This report covers my recent trip to Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second biggest city, a trip that gave me an opportunity to fly for the first time with Scoot. Scoot has made a bit of a name for itself in the Asia-Pacific market of late, not just because of its distinct status as Singapore's venture into the long-haul LCC market, but because its network offers nonstop flights from Singapore to several destinations not usually targeted by full-service airlines. One of those destinations is, of course, Kaohsiung.
At the time of writing, Scoot has 11 aircraft in its fleet: 4 Boeing 787-8s, 6 Boeing 787-9s, and one very-inactive-but-not-quite-retired Boeing 777-200ER. The aircraft used on its SIN-KHH-KIX routing is a Boeing 787-8.
I was particularly hyped for this flight because it would mark my first time ever flying on a Boeing 787. This was a much-welcomed change of scenery because my past flying experience has been dominated largely by the 777. It's a good plane, but one can only fly it so many times before getting bored of the type.
Of course, who can forget the beauty of Changi's T2, especially when you're trying to keep yourself awake at 5 in the morning?
Today's flight on the FIDS. Oddly enough, the interface didn't shuttle between Kaohsiung and Osaka, even though the flight loads passengers who terminate at both destinations.
After a quick check-in with a friendly and efficient agent, I was airside after passing through a quick and efficient security check. The sights in Changi never fail to impress.
I went for a quick and rather unhealthy breakfast at McDonalds', since I wasn't planning to buy anything to eat on this flight. After that, I headed to the gate. Today's flight would be leaving from gate E20.
7 January 2016 Scoot TZ288 Singapore Changi (SIN) - Kaohsiung International (KHH) Boeing 787-8 9V-OFB (Lickity-Split) Economy
Today's B788 was delivered to Scoot on 29 August 2015. An interesting tidbit about this airframe is that it is line number 335, which matches the number of seats it contains. The delivery of this aircraft also helped complete the withdrawal of Scoot's 777s from regular scheduled passenger services (though not all of them have been grounded yet, as mentioned earlier).
FIDS at the gate.
Legroom space. It was a bit cramped even for a short person like me (blame it on those Asian genes), but I'm not sure what else one would expect from a 787 that holds 335 seats and has a 3-3-3 configuration in Y.
Cabin shot taken just as boarding ended. It doesn't seem like it in this photo, but this flight was chock full, with a load factor in excess of 95%.
We left the gate at 7.02am, slightly behind schedule. Let the planespotting begin!
Air India VT-ANS and Tigerair 9V-TRI.
Presenting the pièce de résistance of this trip's planespotting: JA801A! The very first Boeing 787 to enter passenger service! Good way to mark my first 787 flight!
Singapore Airlines 9V-SRL
Scoot 9V-OJC. I've always preferred the look of the B789 over the B788; the latter is a little too stubby for my liking.
Sri Lankan A320
SilkAir B738 beginning its takeoff run against the backdrop of the rising dawn.
China Airlines Boeing 744F taking off on Runway 02C, right before us. We would follow a short while later at 7.23am.
Tigerair A320, which would follow us on its takeoff run behind another Silkair B738.
Now that we were airborne, it was time to look at the seatback literature. Having studied English Literature in school for the best part of seven years, I couldn't help but find it a bit odd to associate product catalogues with literature, but oh well.
I found it interesting how the iconic 747 hump still subliminally influences many aircraft-shaped products, including Scoot's, even though this airline is unlikely to be acquiring 747s anytime soon.
Meal catalogue. I did not end up ordering any of this, but whatever it was, it looked better than what United Airlines gave me when I flew with it to Narita a while back. Then again, one might chalk it up to the miracles of Photoshop.
Lavatory visit. The adjustable heat taps were a welcome change from the 777's two-button taps.
Being a LCC, Scoot, of course, does not have any IFE system installed. So it was time for the flight's natural IFE. Of course, this ridiculously pretty view made it even better. And no, I'm not talking about the sky.
Passing the southern tip of Hengchun Township, itself the southernmost township in Taiwan.
Making landfall over Taiwan amid a low cloud cover on final approach into KHH.
And touchdown! This was by far the loudest and fastest deceleration I've ever experienced. Whether it was a result of the B788's handling, or the pilot's control, or the very high load for a 787, the brakes on this bird really meant business. In any case, our touchdown time of 11.01am meant that Scoot managed to make up for its late departure.
Tigerair Taiwan B-50008.
Dragonair B-HYJ. This bird was departing KHH for HKG as KA433.
Bye, Lickity-Split. Thanks for being my first 787 ride!
Singapore - SIN
Kaohsiung - KHH
A pleasant flight with a solid performance by Scoot. The crew were friendly, effcient, and professional throughout. I observed throughout the flight that many of the FAs were enthusiastically and diligently attending to passenger calls, and those who were not needed were cheerfully bantering in the galley behind me. High crew morale certainly does bode well for the overall atmosphere of a flight!
Since Scoot does not have any IFE system installed, and I didn't rent the iPad, my rating for entertainment is derived from the seatback magazine. There are airlines that write good seatback literature (Singapore Airlines, for instance) and airlines that write poor seatback literature (I'm looking at you, Air France). Scoot's literature in this case proved to be an engaging read, especially for travellers looking for ideas of where to go once they land.
KHH loses many, many marks on immigration efficiency because when we arrived, not only were most of the counters for foreigners not open, it also took a good 25 minutes before the immigration officers arrived to carry out their duties. Then again, I suppose TZ may represent the most activity KHH sees from a single plane given that it's a rather quiet airport, one that processes fewer than 6 million people a year. One redeeming feature of the airport, though, is that it is clean, well-kept, and conveniently linked to the Kaohsiung metro. Yet, there's no hiding the fact that the terminal buildings are quite old and haven't been revamped in quite some time.
Nonetheless, a good first flight with Scoot, especially when one factors in the highlight the crew morale adds to the flight.
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