Airline review: Scoot Airlines, ScootinSilence child-free zone, Melbourne to Singapore

THE PLANE 

Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner (the -800 suffix is important; Scoot's 787-900 doesn't have a loo in the midst of the ScootinSilence section). 

THE ROUTE

Melbourne to Singapore

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Parent Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer scheme – but only if you pay an extra $79 for the PlusPerks bundle, which also gets you extra legroom (if available), priority boarding and booking flexibility (but not ScootinSilence).

THE CLASS

ScootinSilence, aisle seat 7D.

DURATION

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Eight hours, 15 minutes

FREQUENCY

Scoot flies Melbourne-Singapore five times a week. 

SEAT

ScootinSilence is a quiet zone, just 33 seats in a separate compartment between business and economy in a 3-3-3 configuration. Children under 12 aren't allowed here, so the section sits in what's billed as blissful silence, for just $19 extra. Even so, noise-cancelling headphones are in order for my seat. In what can only be described as a major design flaw, the toilet for both this section and economy opens to face our row, a mere metre away (there are more loos in the middle and at the back of the plane). And for some reason, 90 per cent of passengers seem to be unable to shut the door when they're done. This is particularly appealing during meals service, because I love the sight of an airline loo while I'm eating. Really, people? The lack of consideration is astounding. 

BAGGAGE

I've got a fly/bag/eat bundle, which adds $60 to the fare, so I'm entitled to bring on cabin luggage of up to 10 kilograms, and 20 kilograms checked luggage. 

COMFORT

My seat's on the aisle – happily, there's a free seat beside me. Seats in this section are the same as economy, with a 31-inch seat pitch and 18-inch seat width. There are several Stretch seats dotted around the cabin, at 34-inch pitch giving 50 per cent extra legroom, and costing an extra $79.

ENTERTAINMENT

There are no screens on the seat backs: now, let's move on. Before you board, download the Scoot app so that you can buy an entertainment package or load a box set on your own laptop beforehand (as many around me have done). It takes a bit of fidgeting and help from cabin crew to log in, but the Wi-Fi runs smoothly – priced up to $28 for 24 hours (which you can pause and use on different flights).  After  a quick, unsuccessful look for outlets, it seems there's no AC power in the seats in this section. However, a post-flight read of the fine print on the Wi-Fi page shows you can buy in-seat power for $8. Uncharacteristically, Scoot doesn't play up this offering at all, and neither I nor any of my fellow passengers realise power is available.

SERVICE

Kudos to the staff who shut the toilet door every time they go past, and are continually sprucing the loo. Service is fast and, occasionally, very funny. Impatient flyers note that ScootinSilence passengers get off the plane ahead of economy passengers. 

FOOD

Having flown Scoot previously, I've learned the trick to getting a good meal in the air: pre-order the premium Singapore Signature Chicken Rice – Scoot's take on Hainanese chicken rice – for $6 extra ($22 if you don't buy the fly/bag/eat bundle). Connoisseurs may sniff, but it arrives hot, fresh and tasty. The problem is, it arrives 20 minutes after take-off, and I've just filled up on eggs and coffee at Melbourne Airport's Bar Pulpo. What to do? I inhale it, but stash the chocolate bar for later.  

ONE MORE THING

ScootinSilence is absolutely worth the extra $19 but avoid seats D-F in Rows 6 and 7, as well as 8F or 5H. 

THE LAST WORD

Fellow passengers, can you please shut the toilet door after you're done? Absolutely miserable etiquette displayed by a whole planeload of flyers. 

OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE

Three

Belinda Jackson flew as a guest of Scoot.   

See also: Why airlines split up groups on planes, even when you reserve your seats

See also: Airline review: Scoot business class for the price of economy

 

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