Even The Privilege Of Survival Will Cost You $3 With Scoot
— 17 January 2024

Even The Privilege Of Survival Will Cost You $3 With Scoot

— 17 January 2024
James Want
WORDS BY
James Want

The cost of air travel is absurd at the moment, and as an Australian living in Singapore, I have to navigate pricing from two of the slitheriest speculators in the game whenever I need to get home: Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

Since the arrival of my second child, I’ve undertaken (more) frequent travel, and while I might be travelling for business, it’s still a small business. One that is constantly feeding tax dollars into the government’s deep as a clown pocket mouth.

Even as a Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer whose favourite place on the planet is the Sydney First Class Lounge, it’s hard to justify paying 2-2.5x the price of a Scoot ticket for a quick trip back to our Sydney head office.

Sure, it’s a business expense, but if I do my proposed six trips back this year, I’ll probably save ~$10,000 going with Scoot instead of Qantas. That’s $10,000 I can allocate to staffing, to our tax bill, to our EBITDA, to my back pocket, etc.

In defence of Qantas, compared to current Singapore Airlines pricing, they look like a budget airline. Singapore Airlines has got to be the most expensive airline in the world at the moment by a considerable margin. North of $3,000 to return between Sydney and Singapore is nothing short of extortion.

I haven’t flown the carrier since pre-COVID and I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon. I have, however, become reasonably acquainted with their low-cost carrier Scoot — which isn’t so low cost anymore.

I flew home direct back in November on a Scoot flight leaving at 2 AM from Changi — a truly hellish departure time. I was solo, so popped some melatonin, put my 10 hours of continuous white noise into my AirPods and got five hours of sleep, before a quick pre-packed sambo followed by another two hours before landing in Sydney.

In the brand’s ‘Space Seat’ offering 30% more legroom with no interruptions from lack of food service, it was as blissful as an economy flight could ever be.

This week, I did a day flight and was left me absolutely baffled at the absurdity and stinginess of the service. Despite paying $905 for the one-way ticket.

Unbeknown to me, passengers “must refrain from consuming their own food and drinks on board,” as per the note on the front of the menu. Conscious of my healthy start to 2024, I’d prepared a high-protein pesto chicken salad for my journey, accompanied by an apple and some protein balls made by my wife.

After a few mouthfuls at my seat, novel in hand, I was tapped on the shoulder and notified I was in breach of something. I had to order an insipid curry from the Scoot Cafe menu if I wanted to eat.

I had a brief look after my conversation with the host. There’s not a single item on their menu that caters to anyone interested in a somewhat “healthy” option — good luck if you have strict dietary requirements! Everything is brown, baked, fried, melted, or positively swimming in sauce.

We don’t serve food for free, and we don’t serve nutritious food but you cannot bring your own. It requires no service input from the staff and affects no one else on the plane. But sorry, you can’t eat the food you’ve brought yourself.

Why stop at food, Scoot? Why not say we can’t read our own books, or listen to our own music, in place of the equally mediocre offering onboard?

RELATED: What It’s Like Flying Qantas’ Finnair Business Class Wet-Lease To Singapore

Unbelievably, it wasn’t over.

After being told I didn’t have permission to finish my meal on this occasion, I realised I had finished the water in my drink bottle. Staring down four more hours, I ventured to the galley in search of a water fountain to fill it up.

“Hello, where could I find water?”

“Cans are available for $3.”

“I’ve got a bottle, I’d just like to fill it up with some bordering on undrinkable tank water.”

“You can’t, you must buy cans for $3.”

That’s right, folks. Even the basic human need of surviving through hydration is charged at Scoot. Thanks to MrBeast, there are now 100 remote villages in Africa with better access to free, clean drinking water than the 375 passengers aboard a Scoot Dreamliner.

If Jetstar can offer a complimentary glass of water on a $90 flight from Sydney to Coolangatta, I think it’s safe to assume Singaporean tap water is on the house while flying 7+ hours to Sydney. How wrong I was.

Scoot runs an 11.5-hour flight from Singapore to Athens. Given the human body can only survive for three days without water, charging customers to sit in a steel tube with no access to complimentary drinking water for 16% of that timeframe should be illegal.

Unfortunately, it’s representative of the wider issue with air travel currently. Customers are paying twice, three times, or in Singapore Airlines’ case, more for a service that is less reliable, more watered down, more focused on profits, and generally worse than ever before.

The situation is grim, and if letting passengers who’ve overpaid for a budget flight eat their own food and drink free tap water isn’t the answer, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get one.

If you do plan on flying Scoot, to avoid getting told off, might I recommend a concealed Camelbak you can sip throughout the flight, with a small musette of foil or plastic-wrapped rations you can consume hidden in the toilet, before disposing it in the bin, thus executing the perfect crime?

Thankfully, I’m flying home with Qantas. They take their passenger hydration so seriously you disembark with a pang of guilt, desperate for a wee, knowing nine plastic water bottles will be headed to landfill all because of you.

At least you’re alive.

James Want
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