Scoot’s Dreamliner shines over the pyramids

We landed in Athens, Greece in fine, warm weather.

After flying for about 12 hours in darkness, the emergence into the soft dawn over the Middle East was a perfect opportunity to admire the sleek body and wings of Scoot’s 787 Dreamliner.

During the long night, we were so pleased to be in the ScootBiz premium cabin, where there was ample room to spread out and sleep in comfort.

The near silence of the Scoot Dreamliner was also appreciated – and our iPads and phones charged in the in-seat power sockets as we slept.

There was a ripple of excitement around ScootBiz as we emerged from the darkness to clear views of the Egyptian Pyramids through the extra-sized Scoot Dreamliner windows.

We marvelled at the extraordinary layout of the ancient Egyptian towns and cities and could clearly see bulk carriers on the sea.


Soon, the Greek islands came into view and it was time to eat a delicious breakfast served by the attentive Scooties and gather our belongings as the Scoot Dreamliner began to descend into Athens.

Once again,  we can only repeat that, in our experience, the ScootBiz premium package, combined with the technological wonder of the Scoot Dreamliner gave us by far the most comfortable long haul flight we have experienced.

As senior travellers, we found the experience ideal: relaxing, free of stress and enjoyable.

The priority boarding and disembarkment for ScootBix passengers was also ideal, as we could move at our own pace and be pampered all the way.


Amid hazy and steamy conditions, we made our way through Athens International Airport to catch a domestic flight to Crete. The comparison with Scoot’s Dreamliner was marked, believe me – firstly a bus out onto a hot tarmac and then a rather cramped 35 minute flight.

We made our way through the streets of Heraklion to our accommodation and a long sleep.

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Somewhere in an eternal night

 It’s deep into the night and off to our left a storm lights up the clouds.

Through the sky window on our Scoot Dreamliner flight TR702 flickering lights of the Indian coastline can clearly be seen

All is still and quiet in the ScootBiz premium cabin. Seats are reclined, footrests are up and people sleep soundly.

Here and there, I can see the flicker of Scoot’s inflight movies, but overall barely a soul is stirring.

Earlier, the Scootie cabin crew gave out a meal bundle – in a cute little drawstring bag – to keep the hunger pangs at bay during the night.  

We ate ours quickly and then put away the passenger table that is stored in the armrest of the Scootbiz seats – another handy feature of the Scoot Dreamliner.

The LED mood lighting must be set to ‘night sky” as a faint starlight white around us is gradually giving way to a sunrise blue hue

Yawning and stretching: the comfortable, wide seats and great legroom in Scootbiz are particularly appreciated right now. 

Back in Australia, it’s mid morning on Father’s Day

Here, we’re about five hours from Athens – and, the night seems eternal

Nothing for it but to sink back iinto Scootbiz comfort and catch some more shut eye.

Goodnight all …….see you in the morning.
Note: Our flights for this review are courtesy of Scoot Airlines. But, as always, the opinions are fiercely independent.

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Review: ScootBiz premium service

Are airlines – particularly low-cost carriers – age-friendly?

That’s a fair question, especially for people who may have grown up with the stability of a tightly regulated and largely government-run airline environment.

Today, people probably have more time to travel than at any stage in their lives. And, although we all feel ‘forever young’, a little comfort whilst flying goes a long way.

But, who doesn’t also keep a close watch on   their bank account – which brings us back to flying on low-cost carriers.

After being bombarded with questions about age-friendliness in the skies,  we decided to find out for ourselves.

So, we set out to take a flight – and produce an honest and blunt review, with an emphasis on age-friendliness.

The ideal test case

Coincidently, Scoot Airlines – the low-cost carrier owned by the Singapore Airlines group – this year added Europe to its schedules with a new service between Singapore and Athens.

This service appeared ideal for our low-cost carrier review for several reasons:

Scoot also has a premium cabin called ScootBiz whose added touches may particularly appeal to seniors – and can be comparable to the price of economy class on traditional, full-service airlines.

Scoot already flies between Singapore and our base in Australia, offering a perfect long-haul test route between Sydney and Greece.

Scoot is a fast-growing and ambitious low-cost carrier that also has plans to expand its European footprint and also take its service into the US market.

Scoot is not only an example of a low-cost carrier, but also offers the latest in new-generation wide-body planes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Scruitiny

After doing this research, we approached Scoot about taking a truly objective look at the age-friendliness of its ScootBiz long haul product – and, to its credit, the airline agreed to open its doors to our scrutiny, with no strings attached.

As a result, we arrived today at Sydney’s International Airport ready to put ScootBiz under the microscope for our readers.

Our aim was simple: to review the ScootBiz service on a long-haul journey and detail our experience from an age-friendliness viewpoint.

The booking experience

We remember when just about the only options for buying plane tickets were over the phone or in person at an airport ticket counter.

These days, it’s mostly done online, but some people  have horror stories about websites.

That’s not the case with http://www.flyscoot.com/en/, which is logical, accessible, large print and easy to understand.

There is even a help page on the website called ‘Scooting Booking Tips 101’ – and, if you still need assistance, Scoot has customer service call centres.

The packing experience

The real starting point with any plane trip is packing and this was made easier with the generous luggage allowance on ScootBiz – 30kg for checked baggage and two pieces of cabin baggage with a combined weight not exceeding 15kg.

Like many regular travellers, we try to keep heavy bags to a minimum, so the Scootbiz allowance was fine for us.

The airport experience

Navigating an airport can be downright disorienting – but, once again, the Scootbiz option is ideal.

A dedicated counter, priority check-in and boarding is all included in the fare.

It will apparently be the same at the other end, with ScootBiz passengers given priority disembarkation.

Flight: the first impression

Scoot’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners have plenty of ‘Wow Factor’, even if you usually think that a plane is just a plane.

Overall, our first impression was that the Dreamliner was stylish and spacious.


The windows seemed huge, the lighting soft and the decor fresh and spotless. And nowhere was this more evident than up-front in the premium Scootbiz section.

ScootBiz seating

Wide and roomy reclining leather seats give you 56cm of space between the armrests and 96cm from headrest to headrest.

The seats have adjustable head and feet rests, with simple controls.

For us, that is especially important because it is undoubtedly the most comfortable seating we’ve encountered in a plane.

We could certainly get used to this!

The spacious ScootBiz seats also give heaps of legroom.

We’re able to stretch out with ease and move our legs around to prevent cramp. We’ve never felt this comfortable on a flight.

Carry-on storage

In ScootBiz, there’s also big overhead lockers that overcame the need to compete with fellow travellers for every bit of carry-on storage.


This is also ideal for senior travellers who may struggle with heavy luggage.

It’s comforting to know that your carry-on bags are close at hand and not several seats away down the plane.

ScootBiz entertainment

We’re in ScootBiz seats IA and 1C and are charging our iPads with the in-seat power.


As well as writing this review on the in-flight wifi, we’ll use our devices later to check out Scoot’s entertainment system.

ScooTV is complimentary in ScootBiz and is streamed directly to your own device. We downloaded the necessary app a few days before our flights.

‘Scooties’ and meals

At the airport and throughout the flight, we’ve found the ‘Scooties’ – as the airline calls its staff – to be attentive, efficient and friendly. The cabin crew in ScootBiz really know their business and couldn’t be more helpful.

While preparing for this review, we read how Scoot’s move into long haul flights had been accompanied by a review of necessary changes in its food and drink menus.

This was our meal between Sydney and Singapore – and it was delicious.

This is also particularly important for senior travellers who may have more sedate tastebuds.

And, in ScootBiz, passengers can choose the premium meal options and they get two side servings along with the main dish.

Review findings

In a nutshell, here are the broad findings of our review:

Q: Would we choose ScootBiz for a long flight over the economy section of a traditional legacy airline?

A: Without hesitation. We don’t see ourselves as ancient, but comfortable flying is certainly far more important now than it was back in the day.

And ScootBiz is, without doubt, a far more comfortable experience than any long-haul economy flight we have made in many decades of travelling.

The low-stress check-in at the airport; gentle loading onto the aircraft; and, so far, the care and comfortable surroundings of the flight have been eye-opening.

This is one of the roomiest, most modern and advanced planes we’ve experienced; no one has reclined their seat into our faces or clambered over us to use the toilet; there’s plenty of cabin storage; and the ScootBiz environment is an absolute pleasure.

In short, users trade back-of-the-seat entertainment for a superbly comfortable seat and superior trip in a state-of-the-art plane – all for a comparable price.

To us, it’s a no-brainer. ScootBiz is great value and meets all our needs  – plus a lot more.

Keep watching for additional reports.

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Our Age-Friendliness rating

10/10: From our experience, the ScootBiz premium cabin is all about comfort – and delivers it by the shovelful for all ages. This is long-haul flying as it should be from the moment you go on the Scoot website to book; through the quality airport experience; to the comfort of the 787 Dreamliner flight; and the exceptional customer service. This is the first time we have given a perfect Age-Friendliness score – and it is well deserved.

Note: Our flights for this review were courtesy of Scoot Airlines. But, as always, the opinions are fiercely independent.

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And so it starts with a sleek and shiny lady

The planning is over, bags packed, goodbyes said – and we’re off to cast a senior traveller’s eye over the premium Scootbiz service offered by Scoot Airlines.

Sitting in Sydney International airport on a busy Saturday afternoon, we’re somewhat excited about our first flight on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – to Singapore firstly and then on to Athens, Greece.

Quite a few readers have asked how the Scootbiz service compares with the premium packages of traditional long-haul carriers – and now we’re about to find out.

The Dreamliner experience will be the opening stage of a six-week sweep through the Greek Islands, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK – writing about destinations, travel and accommodation particularly suitable for fellow senior travellers.

However, we felt decidedly younger a short time ago as we stood by the viewing window, noses pressed to the glass, to watch the Scoot Dreamliner pull into view.

It’s sleek lines and swept-back wings cut a fine sight in the early afternoon sun – a fitting way to start our review and our latest adventure.

Join us on the journey

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Hong Kongers are holiday early birds

Travellers from Hong Kong believe in planning early when it comes to holidays.

For the second year in a row, Hong Kongers – which is how they’re described in the Oxford Dictionary – have emerged as the most organised holiday planners in a report by agoda.

The accommodation giant says an analysis of 20 countries showed that Hong Kongers, on average, book seven weeks or 49.4 days ahead of travel.

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In second place are the Russians, with a booking lead-time of 46 days, followed by the Australians (44.3 days), the Taiwanese (43.3 days) and the British (37.2 days).

Releasing the findings of its research, agoda said the millions of bookings on its site in 2016 showed clear distinctions in booking habits from market to market.

At the other end of the scale, for example, the five nations that book with the least notice come primarily from Asian markets – Malaysia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia booking with a booking lead time of between 24 and 18 days.

In last position were Saudi Arabians, who booked on average, just over two weeks (or 16.9 days) in advance of travel.

It’s a global trend

Andy Edwards, agoda’s Global Director Brand and Communications, said the research demonstrated that, across the globe, the trend was shifting to earlier holiday booking – with an average global increase of two days lead-time over the previous year.

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“This is somewhat surprising, given that we are portrayed as living in an age of ‘instant gratification’.

“Price and choice play a driving factor when booking travel – the longer you book in advance, the better the choice and the lower the cost.

“Popular culture portrays this image of the adventurous, last minute traveller, but in reality consumers are investing more time preparing for their holiday to get the most out of their well-deserved break.”

Outbound v domestic bookings

Somewhat obviously, nearly all bookings by travellers from Singapore and Hong Kong were outbound.

The British took third place, with 38% of hotel bookings in other countries and 62% at home.

Surprisingly, in the US, just eight per cent of all hotel bookings supported international travel, with 92% for domestic travel.

In China, some 98% of the nation’s bookings are placed domestically – demonstrating the massive potential of outbound travel in both these highly populated, powerhouse markets.

The study compared hotel bookings made by agoda travellers from 2015 to 2016.

Part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), agoda is one of the world’s fastest-growing online accommodation booking platforms

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Scoot and Tigerair finishing integration

Scoot and Tigerair are set to operate as one.

The two airlines will operate under the Scoot name from late July, subject to final regulatory approval.

Scoot says the airlines will operate under a common license or Air’s Operator Certificate.

“Consequently, the flight designator code for Scoot flights will be changed from the current TZ to TR, the code currently used for Tigerair flights. All flight schedules remain unchanged.

“The Scoot website, http://www.flyscoot.com, will be the sole booking platform for all flights currently operated by Scoot and Tigerair, while the Scoot call centre will service bookings from both airlines 02 9009 0860.

“The existing Scoot-Tigerair check-in counters will also reflect a single Scoot brand.

“In addition, guests can look forward to a refreshed look for the friendly Scoot crew, or Scootees, with a new uniform rolled out in celebration of Scoot’s new chapter”.

These latest developments will wrap up the integration efforts of Scoot and Tigerair since May 2016, when they were brought under a common holding company, Budget Aviation Holdings.

Mr Lee Lik Hsin, CEO of Budget Aviation Holdings, said The Scoot brand, known for its cheeky and fun vibe as well as innovative products, was “well-loved by travellers around the world.

“We are looking forward to taking the brand further and offering guests a seamless travel experience throughout Scoot’s expanded network, with the completion of our integration into a single airline.”

The integrated Scoot fleet will consist of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A320-family aircraft.

Currently, destinations such as Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei will continue to be operated on both B787 and A320 aircraft. The aircraft type operated for each flight will be indicated during the online flight selection and booking process.

As part of the integration, the Airbus A320-family aircraft currently operated by Tigerair will also be dressed in Scoot’s livery, reflecting the Scoot name and signature bright yellow curves.

The repainting will be carried out progressively and is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

All Scoot and Tigerair guests with existing flight bookings scheduled on 25 July or later will be contacted via e-mail from 15 June to 23 July.

Scoot says existing guests will also be provided with updated itineraries to reflect the change in flight designator code from TZ to TR.

“Guests may also start purchasing and managing existing Scoot and Tigerair flights through the Scoot website, http://www.flyscoot.com or via Scoot call center at 02 9009 0860”

For more information on the integration, see http://www.flyscoot.com/brandmerger

 

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The flying roo gets a makeover

Qantas is updating and streamlining its iconic Kangaroo logo as it prepares to introduce the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

It’s only the fifth time the red-and-white image on the trail of Qantas aircraft has been changed since it first appeared in 1944.

CEO, Alan Joyce, said the aim was to ensue the kangaroo brand remained familiar, but also looked modern and dynamic like the Dreamliner, which is scheduled to enter the Qantas fleet in late 2017.

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Image supplied

“When we looked at the history, we found that the logo has been updated around the time of a game-changing new aircraft joining the fleet.

“It’s a tradition that goes back to the Lockheed Constellation in 1947, the B747-300 in 1984 and the A380 in 2007.”

The new branding, which also includes a slimmer, lighter version of ‘Qantas’ printed on the side of the planes, will be rolled out over the next few years in the run-up to the airline’s centenary in 2020.

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