Scoot: Mixing up Premium Economy and Business Class

I am currently on my fifth trip with Scoot, Singapore Airline Group’s medium-haul, low-cost subsidiary. So far all my flights (Bangkok, Qingdao, Hangzhou and Guangzhou) have all been pleasant, on-time and good value for money. They are currently probably the only carrier with an all B787 fleet, hence all planes are quite new.

Scoot 787 at Changi Airport

Scoot 787 at Changi Airport

While Scoot is a low carrier, they do offer something they call ScootBiz, which implies it is a business class product. The front of the cabin has five rows of 2-3-2 ScootBiz seating. These seats can be either outright purchased or through a “bidding” options whereby one can offer an amount starting from SGD80 up until 25 hours before departure. I’ve previously done so on the China red-eye flights which usually had a sector length of 4-5 hours in the middle of the night. Hence, I didn’t really experience much of the service but slept the whole way.

The "ScootBiz" seat

The “ScootBiz” seat

On today’s flight to Amritsar, India I again scored a “Biz” seat for SGD82 which came with a check-in luggage (for which I would have had to pay SGD30 anyways) as well as an overpriced meal and drink worth SGD17. While the product as such is fine, I can’t help but to notice that the marketing and product management teams at Scoot seem to have a disconnect. I think the product management team ordered a premium economy product and this somehow didn’t get through to marketing since they are selling business class. See, when a product is marketed as business or similar, I have certain expectations. Below is an overview of my “business class” expectations and what Scoot delivers.

Area Business Class expectation Scoot
Check-in Dedicated business class check-in counter Dedicated business class check-in counter (so far so good)
Waiting area before departure Some kind of waiting area with snacks and drinks (i.e. lounge access) Nothing
Pre-departure beverage Small selection of at least water and some juice Small water in one of those sealed plastic cups
Meal service Three course meal with multiple drinks services Sealed plastic tray, plastic cutlery, one drink (as in one drink and not a water and another drink)
Connectivity Personal screen Streaming service, bring-your-own-device (which actually works well). WiFi starting at USD12/hour
Seat Lie-flat or at least close to Seat reclines about 45 degrees

Now don’t get me wrong, I know this a low cost carrier and this extends to the front of the cabin. The only thing I trying to point out is that the product offered resembles more of a premium economy class than business class. Call it premium economy and I’d find it 100% appropriate. But for calling it “Biz”, it does fall short of expectations.

I've had far better Mutton Biryanis in the air

I’ve had far better Mutton Biryanis in the air

Probably I just shouldn’t pay attention to what the marketing folks call it and instead judge it based on the price I paid.

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