A big hello to friends from all around the world! Welcome to my first report on Flight-Report!
Earlier this year (2014), I came across this website while Google-ing for flight reviews. Reading flight reports, like the thousands of reports available in this website, has always been an activity I enjoy. Being someone who first flown on a commercial aircraft when I was 6 months old (not that I remember anything about it, though), flying has really been THE thing that I look forward to annually.
An introduction about myself - I come from Singapore, and I am currently pursuing an undergraduate bachelor degree in a Singaporean university. I fly often, since childhood, between Singapore and Taipei because more than half of my relatives are Taiwanese. In 2013, I began my flying journeys into the Southern hemisphere as my girlfriend enrolled as a university student in Melbourne. Because of this, I enrolled as a Qantas Frequent Flyer and has been holding its Silver status from mid-2013.
Before I move on to the first report altogether, I would like to mention that even though there may not be much varieties in my reports for now, I will try and make every single report a different reading experience for all of you (mostly highly experienced frequent flyers - I presume!), so that even if the same route(s) are repeated over and over again, they will never be the same. I apologise in advance for the lack in variety (you may see lots of SIN-MEL, MEL-SIN, SIN-TPE etc…).
My first FR features a flight that took place quite a while ago, in March 2013 - way before I knew about Flight-Report.com. And, this will probably be my excuse for having insufficient details and photographs. No professional cameras were used as well (I can't afford one yet, and do not possess the necessary skills as well).
My 5th Flight with Scoot - Reminiscence: A Flight in 2013 with Scoot
This report was completed on 28 April 2014. Note: All the time stated in this report are UTC+08:00.
1100h Something about Taiwan that I always miss when I leave the place, is the Taiwanese breakfast. These breakfast sets come in ALL sorts of varieties that you can think of. I just cannot explain in words to you that they are totally worth the price (in fact, I may even be willing to pay a little higher than the stated price). Thus, remember to try one of these if you ever visit Taiwan - the breakfast shops are everywhere, just ask for Zao Can Dian (???).
^A simple, cheap and extremely delicious breakfast before setting off to the airport
Many FRs have been written with Taiwan Taoyuan Airport has the origin or destination, so for this report, I will not go into details about it since I do not have the necessary photographs (do look forward to my upcoming reports which will contain much more comprehensive coverage of various airports, including TPE).
Taoyuan Airport is about 40km from Taipei's railway station, which is also where many of the airport buses depart. The public transport connections are relatively good, and it is going to get better when the airport train (metro) opens. Fortunately for me, my grandparents' place is about 11km nearer to the airport, so I will just have to book a taxi for about TWD500, and it will get me there in no time.
In case you are not aware, Scoot is a fully-owned subsidiary of my country's flag carrier, Singapore Airlines, and it is positioned as a long-haul LCC even though currently it serves more medium-haul routes. The most prominent characteristic about flying with an LCC would be - you pay for every single other thing - on top of your air ticket plus taxes. For me, I pre-purchased 40kg of checked-in luggage as I was doubling up as a postman for my parents. It turned out that my 2 bags totalled about 41kg when I weighed them at home. So I decided to get to Taoyuan Airport early to check-in as soon as possible, hoping that they will close an eye to the extra load if I am early enough. At times, LCCs can be extremely strict with their luggage allowance (it will be more appropriate to say - whatever that you have forked out cash for), and any extra kilogram is chargeable with a hefty cost.
It was great that eventually, the weighing scale at the counters proved to be more accurate than the one at home. I was able to Scoot back home with about 39++kg of luggage.
Taoyuan Airport is a relatively busy one with two terminals. If I am not mistaken, the following photo should be taken in Terminal 2. This isn't a photo for this particular flight, I dug out a few old (but definitely relevant) photos to improve this report.
^Taoyuan's check-in counters (Photograph was taken upon arrival into TPE in December 2012)
^This is TZ201's check-in counter (The same flight, but three months ago)
After a surprisingly smooth check-in, I said my goodbyes to my mom and proceeded air side.
^Queues for passport checks into the air side and immigration are long during mid-afternoons
You can see that the queue for passport check is growing, this should probably be the result of the numerous number of flights bound for China. The usually quiet Taoyuan Airport isn't really quiet during those times.
^In about 2 hours, 8 flights to 7 different Chinese destinations; and 1 each for Hawaii, Japan and Singapore
1430h As mentioned in the flight details - boarding begins at 1445h. However, I must say that for a LCC, the boarding time is probably just for reference. Furthermore, security checks in Taoyuan Airport are conducted right before or after (it used to differ between Terminals 1 and 2, I am unsure if it has been standardised but I'll check it out soon in May!) immigration. Therefore, scheduling the boarding time as ETD -1:00 is rather conservative in my opinion.
As soon as I passed immigration checks, I immediately made my way to Gate D9 - one of the last few gates along the corridor of T1. As you can see, there are a few different huge directories provided for passengers in the airport's air side. I found these guides very useful! These are actually very common in many airports I suppose. However, they don't seem to be as catchy as how Taoyuan has done it. Good effort on their part!
^Most importantly - how far is my boarding gate? 12 minutes from the immigration counters
^A comprehensive guide for both terminals
^All the facilities available in air side
Similar guide maps and directories are very common in Taiwan - you find them almost everywhere, especially in their metro system. In my opinion, they are indeed highly useful, not just for tourists, but for the locals as well. (Not that I know where Changi Airport's free cinema is located at, up till today… Maybe I will go hunt it down the next time.)
^It took me quite a while before reaching D9, signs in Taoyuan Airport are good - very clearly presented in English and Mandarin
^Still quite a distance away…
^Aha! Here I am at the boarding gate D9…
^…preparing to Scoot (back) to Singapore (These are the exact words cabin crews on Scoot use)
There is an aspect about Taoyuan Airport which I like a lot - almost every boarding gates are designed with different themes, I shall see if I can collect photographs of all of them in May 2014 when I fly from TPE. Here is just one example:
^A last check at Taiwan Railway Administration's website revealed that parts of the A-Li Shan Forest Railway are still being repaired after it has been severely damaged by Typhoon Morakot in 2009
The previous time (which was also my first time) I visited A-Li Shan (????????), a popular mountain resort in Chia-Yi, I travelled by coach and it was - uneventful. Trust me, the train ride will be much more interesting. Do try it if you visit Taiwan!
^I don't see my flight here on the departure information screens; all these flights are bound for Asian destinations - only Hong Kong and Macau are on my list of visited cities so far
1445h Finally, the boarding lounge. Yes, there's definitely insufficient space here. It will be okay when we are on the aircraft - it's a 777 flown by an LCC (not a common combination, yeah?). Also, as I have guessed earlier, boarding did not start at 1445h. It started much later, at 1517h.
^The boarding lounge seems too small for a 777 packed with Singapore-bound passengers
^Our main character for this report!
^Just a shot from another angle - aircraft's name Maju-Lah
Allow me to quote from one of Scoot's press release, so as to give you the most complete introduction for this aircraft:
6 August 2012, Singapore – Scoot, Singapore’s newest low cost airline, today unveiled the name of its third aircraft, which will enter service in the coming week: “Maju lah”.
“Being a proudly Singaporean airline, and with this new aircraft entering service near Singapore’s birthday on 9 August, we simply couldn’t pass up this opportunity to celebrate with our home nation,” said Campbell Wilson, Scoot’s CEO. “Of course, neither could we pass up the opportunity to add both Scootitude and some local Singaporean flavour. Hence ‘Maju lah’.”
For the uninitiated, Majulah, Malay for “onward”, is part of the title of Singapore’s national anthem, Majulah Singapura (Onward Singapore), while “lah”, on its own, is the signature suffix of Singlish, Singapore’s very own unofficial language.
1517h Moving on, boarding has commenced. There isn't really a design on Scoot's boarding pass - but it's still better than just a receipt, right? For the next picture, it is actually not for this Scoot flight, but for another one that I took from Sydney to Singapore in February 2013. (My apologies again for digging out pictures from other flights, I wasn't that prepared to write a review for this flight, hence, the lack of photographs.)
^It may not be the same flight, but the situation is the same - a bad congestion on the aerobridge prior to boarding the aircraft
It took me extremely long to get on to the aircraft, and then finally to my seat at the back of it. From rows 61 onwards, configuration of seats becomes 2-4-2 and Seats A, B, H and K are those with a seat pitch of up to 35 - contrast this to the usual blue seats with a seat pitch of 31. This is quite a bit of difference! Most importantly, you don't have too pay a hefty amount - it was just about SGD10.00 more, why not?
It's really a pity that I didn't capture enough shots to record many aspects of this flight. Right now, I am left with just a few more pictures. However, this was my fifth flight on Scoot and thus I believe I have sufficient memories of it to describe some of the important aspects for this LCC based in Singapore.
Cabin Comfort Much better as compared to the other LCCs based in Singapore, seats are comfortable enough for the price we pay - in fact, I always find that Scoot has cheaper airfares. The temperature in the aircraft however differs quite substantially with their parent company's (Singapore Airlines), I tend to find Scoot's cabin a little too stuffy and warm, especially during day flights. On the other hand, Singapore Airline's flights are always exceptionally cold.
^Economy cabin on another flight from Singapore to Taipei
^Not a very good photo of the yellow seats with a better seat pitch
^On all 5 flights that I have ever experienced with Scoot, all were full - probably because of their really competitive and affordable pricing strategies
^This was taken when I sat on 61C from Sydney to Singapore
Crew Casual - is the word. But a bit too casual at times. For this flight (I am sorry if I got you confused, now I am talking about TZ201 - the flight being reviewed in this report), the crew didn't even bother looking at passengers when we boarded. They just glanced for our seat number on the boarding passes, gave us the directions - go straight, turn right and continued with their own conversation. From my personal opinion, I really prefer the service of Jetstar's cabin crew, whom I found to be more professional.
^On TZ201, if you have observed my boarding pass well enough, apart from 40kg of checked luggage, I did not use any other services; thus, for the entire flight I had zero interaction with the cabin crew (However, this will definitely not affect my rating for the crew, because this is an LCC)
Meal and Catering I once tried the hot meals on one of the night flights, but I apologise for having no photographs. (Quite a bit of apologies here in my first report, I will do better for the next one - a promise.) Nevertheless, I must still mention that Scoot has a highly acceptable standard for their in-flight catering. By the way, as of the time of this flight, a set meal costs SGD16.00.
^I bought a bread (?) because I was too hungry on the flight from Sydney to Singapore - I have no impression of it, though
Entertainment I have never paid for in-flight entertainment on any of the flights on LCCs - in my opinion, it is highly overpriced. My iPhone loaded with dramas will greatly suffice. However, iPads are available and I believe they can also stream their in-flight entertainment into your personal devices. (Still, it's too expensive.)
1854h I spent most of my journey on TZ201 completing my work using my MacBook. If it's not for the wider seat pitch, attempting to work on a laptop would be quite frustrating. I had my own form of entertainment - a MacBook with unlimited songs (to my liking, obviously) and an iPhone with the latest dramas that I am catching; these do not cost a single cent more on top of my air ticket.
^The reason why I love flying
^However, please do not be disappointed to know that if I fly alone, I don't usually take the window seats (because the aisle seats are just much more convenient) - I promise that this will not badly affect the quality of my reports in future
The flight went on smoothly and was rather uneventful. The captain came on to inform us of a slight delay due to congestion at the airport. When this happens, aircrafts usually will spend some time in the Malaysian territories before heading for an approach to Singapore Changi Airport (Correct me if I am wrong - at least this is what I have observed for a few times). At about 2020h, we arrived safely in Changi's Terminal 2.
2040h Arrival procedures at Changi are probably one of the fastest - at least for me as a Singapore citizen. I must say, the automated clearance for Singapore passport holders, permanent residents and access card holders is almost flawless. It is rare to actually see someone facing a problem. (I am actually implicitly making a comparison with another country that allows Singaporeans to clear arrival procedures using their automated clearance. More details will be provided in my next report.)
As a result, security and immigration efficiency for Changi is getting a full grade from me. As for the other aspects of Changi, I shall be covering them progressively in my future reports. At the baggage collection, TZ201 was assigned Belt 37.
^At Changi Airport, each baggage collection belt (carousel) can accommodate up to two to three arrival flights simultaneously because the belts are really, really long…
2300h Arrived at home after a quick dinner. Unpacking and looking forward… To the next flight!
9 May 2014: Malaysia MH602, SIN-KUL (Experiencing for the First Time - One of the Shortest Flight Out of Changi Airport) Coming Soon…
Taipei - TPE
Singapore - SIN
Thanks for taking time to read my first report! I strayed off track a little by reviewing the airline as a whole instead of just this flight - I am aware of that. Pardon my lack of details of this first report.
Scoot is an airline that is above average. However, the prices of their air tickets are really very worth their flights - especially so when they operate purely wide-body aircrafts as an LCC. Their crew wasn't as professional in my opinion but they did their job well nevertheless; also, they have this camaraderie among them that truly reflects a casual and fun attitude, which is probably still very new to the Singapore culture. As I have mentioned, meals were okay from my experience, and will become better if compared to Jetstar's. I could not give an appropriate rating for the aspect on entertainment because I didn't use any - thus it will just remain at the default rating. On-time performance for Scoot is generally ok - airport congestion isn't really under their control anyway. (And I can't remember exactly what was the actual departure time.)
Taiwan Taoyuan Airport is a simple and relatively busy international airport. However, I have lots of fond memories about it because it fills up a vey big part of my childhood memories. Over the years, I must say that it has improved tremendously. The ratings will probably improve when I return to Taoyuan this year (2014). And when the airport metro (direct to Taipei city) opens, the airport's accessibility will definitely be even better.
Lastly, Singapore Changi Airport as the world's most awarded airport, has never disappointed me so far. Experience it for yourself (if you haven't), and you will probably agree! (Note: I deducted 2 marks from Changi Airport's access and parking because I personally do not think that the public transport system connecting the airport is that good. However, it seems like the rating keeps automatically changing the rating of Changi to 10/10?)
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