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.
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.
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.
|Business Class expectation
|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)
|Small selection of at least water and some juice
|Small water in one of those sealed plastic cups
|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)
|Streaming service, bring-your-own-device (which actually works well). WiFi starting at USD12/hour
|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.
Probably I just shouldn’t pay attention to what the marketing folks call it and instead judge it based on the price I paid.