It is nice to be back at Flight-Report after a hiatus of 3 years plus! I have still been "flight-reporting" albeit in a different language at a different platform. But it's Chinese New Year now, and we cannot go anywhere because of the pandemic. So I reckon, why not come back to this awesome platform and catch up on all the flight reports I have been accumulating over the past many years.
Let's go back to 2015.
This is a series of two back-to-back flights on Scoot, a low-cost carrier owned by Singapore Airlines Group. It was an exciting and crazy day. I clocked a total of three "1st" on this trip:
(1) My 1st time flying SIN-KHH and KHH-SIN
(2) My 1st time onboard Scoot's B787 Dreamliner
(3) My 1st time doing a turnaround trip to Taiwan within one day! (Crazy yeah?)
I'd love to do (1) and (2) over and over again, trying many different new routes and flying all the new airplanes out there. But as for (3)… Not so much; it was way too tiring.
You may ask - Why so crazy? What's the value of doing a 1-day turnaround from Singapore to Taiwan? Let me explain. Read on.
TZ288 was scheduled early in the morning at 6.15am; which meant we need to be at Changi Airport by 4am-4.30am. This translated to waking up at ungodly hours in the morning and setting off for the airport 15 minutes before 4am. I guess one good thing was that traffic was extremely smooth on the way. We arrived at the airport much faster than all other times.
Now for the reason of my crazy 1-day trip, refer to the photo below. My mom was shifting back to Taiwan that month, and she had lots and lots of things. The bags below were not all. There were other packages that were shipped back to Taiwan prior to this as well.
I couldn't possibly leave her in shifting all of these alone by herself.
You may ask… But why the rush to get back within the same day? That was because I already had scheduled appointments on the next morning, and there was also no way I could cancel / postpone them. Well, couple this with the coincidence that Scoot launched this route on that very month itself… As an avgeek, I couldn't find any better reason not to do this and try out the fresh new route? (Hahaha, whatever I said in the earlier paragraph just sounds like excuses now)
We arrived at the airport at 4.30am and I parked my car at the lesser-known South Car Park, located just beside Terminal 2. Changi Airport has many carparks, but this is the only one with a daily maximum charge of $35. Since I was going to park the car here for a full whole day, I figured this was a more economical option. Well… The only downside was that I had to spend a little bit more on carwash the next day, as my vehicle became a "public toilet" for birds residing on the trees at this carpark. Just imagine how it looked when I got back later in the day…
It was a bit of a walk from the unsheltered carpark to the terminal building.
In the terminal, we first checked the FIDS. TZ288 was no. 5 to depart from Changi Terminal 2 that morning.
The terminal was also decorated with the SG50 theme, which was in line with Singapore's 50th birthday in the year of 2015. It's alarming to think that we are now nearer to Singapore's 60th birthday (which will happen in the year 2025) than whatever you see in the photo below. Just another reminder to us on how time flies by when we are busy with life.
Time to check in! There were many counters opened so queues were very manageable.
TZ288 was a flight bound for Osaka, via Kaohsiung. Passengers en-route to Osaka needed to disembark for transit security screening at Kaohsiung.
The check-in counter staff also weighed and tagged our cabin bags.
Before heading to immigration, I figured it was important to capture some photos of Terminal 2 and its iconic departure board. Currently in 2021, Terminal 2 is closed for renovation and the departure board you see below has already been decommissioned since Apr or May 2020. These were definitely good old memories.
At the Tigerair check-in counter next to Scoot's, queues were starting to form up as their passengers gradually turned up for the early morning flights. And… You know what? This is history too. Tigerair has since merged with Scoot in July 2017. There is no more Tigerair branding in Singapore. The same goes for Tigerair Australia too, which has since ceased operations in March 2020.
But actually, the brand is still alive somewhere else in Asia. Anyone knows where? Give it a guess.
Back to Changi Airport, we were ready to pass through immigration at around 5am. The airport was getting busier.
Immigration was a breeze and we headed to Gate E27 for boarding after a quick breakfast.
We arrived at the gate around 5.45am, thirty minutes to departure. It was already quite empty with most passengers onboard.
Stepping into the new B787 Dreamliner's cabin was a refreshing experience. It felt vastly different from Scoot's previous fleet of B772s (you can read my review of a Scoot B772 flight here). On this new B787, there was even a "new-plane" smell… You know, something like a "new-car" smell?
I picked a 2-seater at the rear of the aircraft specifically for this flight, since I was flying with my mom. On Scoot's B787 Dreamliner, majority of the Economy Class cabin has seats configured in 3-3-3, and only the last 1 or 2 rows are configured in 2-3-2. This also means that it will generally cost a little bit more to pre-select the 2-seaters at the back of the cabin.
Mood lightings on these aircrafts also feature a rainbow mode. So if you are on a Scoot flight operated by their Dreamliners, look out for these colourful mood lightings.
Some seats (usually those that are more expensive to pre-select) also feature adjustable headrests that are very comfortable based on my experience.
While we were seated on the last row for this flight, the recline was still very generous. No worries about disturbing anyone behind us when seated on last rows like this.
Seat backs on Scoot's aircrafts are empty with no screens (unlike on Jetstar's B787s). Not surprising, and not an issue on regional flights like this one. However, do note that these planes were flown to Europe (Athens, Berlin) and North America (Honolulu) pre-COVID. Just imagine 10 over hours facing this blank space. I think I might go crazy.
Seat pitch was acceptable on this aircraft too, clocking in at around 31" of space.
One huge perk of being seated here was the empty space I get to my right, where I could place my cabin bag. This gave me lots of space in front of me, which was definitely some added comfort I will not say no to.
In general, Scoot's seats are well designed and comfortable. However, the design of the cabin crew call button is the biggest flaw to this otherwise commendable LCC Economy Class seat product. Just take a look at the photo below, and give it a guess why Scoot's cabin crew generally ignores the cabin crew calls that sound throughout each flight, without fail.
This was the case on their older B772s, and I was a little surprised to see a similar design on their new aircrafts again.
Windows on B787s are similar across the board for all airlines: No shades and adjustable by the buttons below each window. Cabin crews are therefore able to centrally control the shades of all windows during the taxi, take off, approach and landing phases.
Moving on to the lavatories, which were kept clean and tidy throughout this flight. Nothing too special to point out, except that the toilet flush and basin tap featured automated sensors - Designs that are extremely relevant in the COVID-19 outbreak in current times.
Alright, that's about it for cabin introduction. The next time you book a flight on Scoot, just choose B787s over A320s and you probably won't go too wrong. Hopefully in the near future, I get a chance to fly Scoot's A320 and give everyone a comparison report here. As to when can all of us fly again? Oh well, fingers crossed that the vaccinations work well. I don't even know where is my passport now…
It was an on-time departure that day. Well done, Scoot!
Cabin lights were dimmed soon after safety features demonstration by the crew.
Here is a video of the take-off from SIN.
0619h Push Back
0625h Taxi to Runway
0631h Take Off
0637h Seatbelt Signs Off
In less than 10 minutes after take-off, cabin lights were switched on again, but most of us onboard were already sound asleep, catching up on lost sleep due to this extremely early morning flight.
Here's the window at fully "transparent" mode.
An example of various shades of the windows: (1) slightly dimmed, and (2) fully dimmed.
Soon after reaching cruising altitude, the crews centrally controlled all windows and dimmed all of them. Indeed a smart and high-tech design that may piss off some of us avgeeks… =P (I think all of you should get me)
I took a 2-hours nap after take-off and was awoken by the smell of food.
Scoot does not provide complimentary F&B service in Economy Class, but provides a wide variety of options in its buy-on-board menu. I was hungry, so I couldn't resist the temptation of this menu.
(These were 2015 prices, for the updated products and prices, please refer to Scoot's website)
Cup noodles were priced at SGD5 / ~TWD100, way too expensive. The prices for other snacks and biscuits were not cheap too.
The pricing on Scoot's buy-on-board menu was however a little questionable because a serving of the relatively expensive Haagen-Dazs ice cream was priced only SGD1 more expensive than the cup noodles (which retail at around SGD1-2) we saw previously. It doesn't make sense.
Non-alcoholic drinks were all priced at SGD4 / ~TWD80. Alcoholic beverages were at least twice the price.
In the menu, you can also find options that are available only for passengers who pre-ordered prior to the flight. Pictures of the food options looked pretty appealing, and must have potentially caught the attention of some passengers who initially did not order, but decided to do so for their return journey.
In the same menu, pricing was shown for other kinds of on-board services too, i.e. (1) in-seat power, (2) inflight wi-fi, and (3) seat upgrades. (2) and (3) are reasonable, but wow… They charge for in-seat power too? That was new to me.
These were our food choices for this early morning flight. Croissant + Wrap + Coffee - not too bad!
I tried returning to my nap after eating, but was consistently awoken by the strong and seemingly-never-ending turbulent weather that morning. It was a really bumpy ride.
At some point in time, service had to be paused due to bad weather. Listen to the announcement below.
Take a look at how cloudy it was while we were cruising. Don't think I have ever seen such thick clouds so high up in the skies before(?)
While there are no personal entertainment screens in Economy Class on Scoot, the seat pocket seemed quite interesting.
First up, the easy-to-understand safety information card. It was mainly filled with pictures rather than words.
Random fact: This plane has eight life rafts, that will equate to about 48-50 pax per life rafts if the aircraft is full.
More information available in text on the last page of the safety information card.
Next up, the Scootalogue. Guess what this means, I'm not gonna tell you.
Yes, I became a victim of the Scootalogue and spent SGD5…
Ok, finally we have the Scoot in-flight magazine!
You got to agree that the magazine's cover page stood up a lot and did look very appealing to read.
I was not disappointed, the magazine was indeed quite captivating to read.
This was an advertisement of Sep 2015's Beijing International Triathlon. But why advertise on Scoot's magazine when Scoot did not (and still does not) fly to Beijing?
Scoot's CEO mentioned the new route that we were flying on in his welcome message. Spot it if you can.
It was immediately followed by an introductory article of Osaka, very appropriate.
In between the articles were evidence of Scoot's relationship with its parent company.
As well as some hints of where this airline is based in.
Not the zoo. I meant… Singapore.
Yeah. 50 shades of… Singapore? Because, SG50. Yay.
Interestingly, the editorial team chose Sydney to be the destination for an article in Mandarin.
And here's the star article that ties in with the flight I am reporting about now! "Scootin' off to Kaohsiung!" Have you been to Kaohsiung, by the way? I know many flight reporters and readers here must have been to Taipei in Northern Taiwan. But how about Kaohsiung?
Some other Scoot / Singapore Airlines information in the magazine.
Scoot's magazine is very heavily destination focused. It suits my taste! I love travelling and flying. Can't believe that I have not flown for more than a year till date…
And yes… They did not forget to publicise their "chargeable" in-seat power again in the magazine! No. No. I was not going to pay for this.
In the final section of the magazine, there were even more travel information about Scoot's destination. I personally think this layout is amazing. It gives passengers an insight as to where the airline flies to, and all of us can start to plan our NEXT trip even though we might not have even arrived at our destination for THIS trip. Good spirit!
Finally, we had the network maps for Scoot, Nok Air, Tigerair, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, and Virgin Australia. These maps are just for reference though. They are highly inaccurate now because Nok Air, Tigerair, SilkAir are all (going to be) history as of the year 2021. Sigh.
At around 40 minutes prior to scheduled arrival, cabin crew started to perform their before landing checks and preparation works (in true Singapore Airlines style). In comparison, I think Qantas does landing preparation only 15-20 minutes before landing?
As you can see in the photo below, everyone was up and about packing their belongings even though the seatbelt signs were turned on. This was because the lights were never turned off since the first turbulent we encountered during the early stage of this flight.
As we were approaching the Taiwan Strait, cabin crew started to give out arrival immigration forms too.
Our pilot came on the PA thereafter to provide us with some flight information.
Cabin crews adjusted all cabin windows to the fully transparent mode during approach again. It was a bright sunny day in Taiwan.
10.10am, Taiwan's coastline in sight!
Here is a video of my first ever touchdown in Kaohsiung.
While not my first time visiting Kaohsiung, this was the first time I took an airplane here and touched down at its international airport.
Once at the gates, everyone was super impatient, wanting to get off the plane. I observed a large group of onward passengers that will be continuing their journey to Osaka.
The rainbow light show came on again during disembarkation!
And it was time for some Instagram stories!
Here is another clue of who is Scoot's parent company.
One more look at my seat. Bye bye!
It was quite easy to planespot and take photos at KHH.
This was a special livery for SG50 celebration. Honestly, back then we Singaporeans did not think this was a nice livery.
Mandarin Airlines spotted. They are very common here at KHH, flying domestic routes to Taiwan's islands daily.
KHH is a small international airport. Immigration was just a few steps away after disembarking from the aircraft.
Immigration queues were long, primarily made up by Scoot's passengers from Singapore and (now-defunct) Cathay Dragon's passengers from Hong Kong.
Took me a while to get to the baggage carousel.
This airport does look a little dated and old.
Scoot's advertisement for their new SIN-KHH-KIX flights stood up a lot in the baggage reclaim area.
10.59am, collected all bags.
11.04am, passed customs and stepped into KHH's arrival area for the first time in my life.
This trip was a personal record-breaking 1-day return trip from Singapore to Taiwan and back. I will leave most of my conclusion to the next flight. See you in the next report!
Scoot is an above-average LCC carrier definitely. Certainly recommended!
SIN can't go wrong. I am rating "access" lower because it is indeed less accessible than many of the major airports in Asia. The MRT is a branch line that cannot bring you to CBD directly, there are no express public buses etc.
KHH is a dated and old airport, but clean and functional.