Hello from Taipei! I’m heading back to Hong Kong again before spending some more time in Tokyo with my friends. This is partly because I want to get a couple more reviews in, since I’ll be trying five new products over the course of ten days, but mostly just because I’m an idiot.
Anyhow, today I flew Scoot’s 787 from Tokyo Narita to Taipei in their ScootBiz cabin. It’s the first time I’ve checked out a low-cost airline’s premium product, so I’m probably best off comparing it to the various premium economy products I’ve flown in the past. I was glad to try it out, but also partly nervous, due to the not-so-rave reviews I’ve heard about ScootBiz in the past.
Scoot Boeing 787 Tokyo Narita Airport
So how was ScootBiz? Honestly, at the price we paid and with my low expectations, I was very impressed.
ScootBiz 787 Seat
A few low-cost airlines are gearing towards offering angled-flat beds in business class. Scoot has very standard recliners on their 787s, in a 2-3-2 configuration. They’re akin to the premium economy products on a variety of other airlines – LOT, Vietnam Airlines and Azerbaijan Airlines come to mind. Each seat is wide, spacious, well-padded, and features 38″ of seat pitch, which is standard for most premium economy products out there.
Scoot Boeing 787 ScootBiz Cabin
Each seat reclines by a fair amount. You’ll be able to get some solid rest in it, and it’s way better than anything you’d get in economy, though don’t expect to get any beauty sleep on a longhaul flight. A legrest is featured at every seat – I was very comfortable in it, though you might have some trouble if you’re over 6′.
Scoot Boeing 787 ScootBiz Recline
These seats don’t have PTVs – ScootBiz passengers are provided free entertainment, which I’ll get to later, but the device is BYO.
ScootBiz 787 Amenities
Scoot doesn’t offer any amenities for free, whether you’re in ScootBiz or not. However, they do offer amenities for purchase. I decided I might as well go all out and purchased a snooze kit for ~HK$100. I’d appreciate that kit on a longer flight, even though it wasn’t worth the investment for the shorthaul to Taipei.
Scoot Boeing 787 ScootBiz Snooze Kit
Apart from the eye mask and rather comfortable blanket featured above, the kit also featured an inflatable pillow. It was almost hilariously uncomfortable, though I appreciated the addition.
Scoot Boeing 787 ScootBiz Inflatable Neck Pillow
Headphones were not offered (not that there was a need for them, since there was no built-in IFE).
I pre-purchased WiFi when booking the flight. Scoot uses Telekom as a WiFi provider, though they charge by usage as opposed to time. While I prefer the latter, the WiFi measured a respectable 4.16 Mbps down and 0.21 Mbps up while I was using it, which I thought was pretty alright. Scoot’s WiFi pricing is on the high end, though – my 80 MB package cost US$14.99 while pre-ordered, whereas it would’ve cost US$16.99 had I purchased it onboard. It lasted me about half an hour of nonstop use on my phone.
ScootBiz 787 Food
While Scoot meals are usually buy-on-board, ScootBiz passengers are given a complimentary meal and drink. This could be pre-ordered off the website, so I got myself a nasi lemak. It was a very standard economy-style meal, served in a plastic container, though I did take issue with how small it was. On the plus side, the nasi lemak with fish was quite flavourful.
Scoot Boeing 787 ScootBiz Meal – Nasi Lemak
Speaking of food, though, Scoot does have a rather strict policy that outside food and beverage consumption is strictly prohibited on the aircraft. I actually find that a rather unfriendly policy – it should be the passenger’s choice if they want to purchase food in the terminal if need be – though this wasn’t stressed much on our flight.
ScootBiz 787 Service
Here’s where I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard both adequate and bad things about Scoot flight attendants, ranging from indifferent to rude, so I wasn’t quite sure what I’d be getting on this segment.
Surprisingly, I was very impressed by the service on this segment. Not only did I receive a pre-departure packaged water and welcome (neither of which were present on Japan Airlines), everything included in my ticket was clearly explained. In addition, the flight attendants were friendly, attentive and responded quickly to call buttons.
I found it especially impressive that not only was I addressed by name during the pre-departure welcome, but the flight attendants managed to remember my name throughout the course of the flight.
Scoot Boeing 787 ScootBiz Pre-Departure Beverage
That being said, service wasn’t perfect. The crew mistakenly thought they had passed out ScooTv access cards when I asked for one (business class passengers can stream movies and TV shows onto their own devices on Scoot for free, whereas economy passengers must purchase it), when in reality they’d missed our row. In addition, I had to specifically ask for the snooze kit I’d pre-ordered, whereas the guy sitting in the row in front of us was proactively given his pre-ordered set. So there were a few kinks in the service flow, especially in regards to the last row, though overall it left a very positive impression.
Bottom Line: Scoot 787 ScootBiz
If low-cost airlines are revolutionising the way people fly, add Scoot to the list. ScootBiz can’t compete with some of the more lavish low-cost premium cabins, such as AirAsia X, though they have a perfectly functional premium cabin that’s well worth the prices they usually charge. On this flight, I was comfortable, well-fed, and well taken care of – none of this is associated with a low-cost carrier, and none of this would’ve been true in economy.
While low-cost carriers in economy class are all about nickel and diming, I’m glad to see premium elements integrated into the premium cabin service, at least on Scoot. I still have beef with the fact that you can’t bring outside food and beverages onboard Scoot planes, though you’ll see me on another ScootBiz flight if it’s the best option.
Have you flown ScootBiz before? How was your experience?