Flying Low Cost For 12 Hours: Scoot 787-8 London Gatwick to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
|Route||London Gatwick- Bangkok Survarnabhumi|
|Flight Number||TR 753|
|Seat Number||37C- Aisle Seat, left side of aircraft|
|Flight Time||12 Hours 5 Minutes|
|Baggage Allowance||30KG (1 bag checked luggage) + 10KG (1 cabin bag)|
|Price||£773.00 GBP/ $914.99 USD (One way)|
On Tuesday the 2nd of August, I took a flight operated by the Singaporean budget airline, Scoot. The flight was scheduled for a 23:05 departure from London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal and due to arrive into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 17:10. I decided to get to the airport 6 hours early to avoid the queues as Gatwick is a small airport, little did I know, there were no long queues at all. I saw this when I arrived at one of Scoot’s check in counters. The flight was operated by a 787-8 named “Bo Jio” which Google says is a Singaporean slang for “Fear of missing out” or “Did not invite”.
About Scoot Airlines
Scoot is a Singaporean low-cost carrier that was founded in 2012 as a Singapore Airlines subsidiary airline It operates flights to Europe and Asia and flies the 787 and A320 families. Scoot is a founding member of the Value Alliance, which is an Asia-Pacific Low Cost Carrier airline alliance. As it is a budget carrier, you have to pay for everything. On their website, while booking there is a selection of which package you will fly on, Fly (Just the seat or the bare fare and 10KG Cabin Bag), FlyBag (The seat and 20KG of checked baggage + cabin bag), FlyBagEat (FlyBag but with an onboard meal) and ScootPlus which is the Scoot equivalent of business class without the full recline, a decent meal and IFE. Scoot also offers the option of flying in a cabin without children over 12 years of age, called “ScootInSilence”, which comes at an extra cost. Fun fact: Scoot calls their cabin crew “Scooties”.
Advice for flying with Scoot:
- If you aren’t flying ScootPlus or willing to pay so that you can charge your electronics, then bring along a portable charger. As Scoot will make you pay to charge your phone.
- Buy a meal and eat it at the airport before flying as Scoot charges for food & beverages and doesn’t allow the consumption of outside food.
- I strongly suggest that you download some films or music before flying with Scoot as they do not provide any inflight entertainment.
Check-in & Airport Experience
Scoot departs from Gatwick’s South Terminal, where there were 8 check- in counters open, only 5 of which were operating. Checking in took a while, mostly because the staff were new to working with the airline. Even though luggage was over the 40KG mark, the employee didn’t seem to notice. As Gatwick is a rather small airport, getting to security and getting through it was a breeze. The airside of the South terminal was rather overcrowded, so I bought myself a rather pricey £4.99 meal deal from a WHSmith store and sat on the floor next to an internet café and ate it. After 3 hours of sitting and waiting, our gate was finally announced. Gate 19, which is a long walk from anywhere in the airport. I was one of the first to get to Gate number 19, the gate agents quickly scanned our passports and boarding passes, after which we were told to sit in the waiting area. 15 minutes later, the waiting area was full and there was an announcement saying that our flight was going to be delayed by 15 to 20 minutes, no reason was stated.
40 minutes later, still nothing, not even an announcement and other passengers started to get irritated, a few went up to the gate agent and asked about the situation, which the gate agents said that they didn’t know what had happened. After a few minutes, I heard some clapping, cheering and laughter. I turned around to see that the flight crew had just arrived, they looked equally as disgruntled as we did. The delay meant that our flight would now take off on the 3rd of August instead of the the 2nd.
Take off& Seat Review
10 minutes later, they started boarding those in ScootPlus and families with young children. After that, everyone else joined, there were meant to be zones in place that were not enforced. The crew didn’t seem to be very friendly, unlike other airlines, they didn’t direct passengers to their seats or ask to see boarding passes, they also didn’t seem to be bothered with helping passengers with their bags. My seatmate, who was 55+ years old asked a flight attendant to help her with storing her suitcase, the response that she got was a snappy “Put the bag up” from the air hostess!
Bo Jio is registered as 9V-OFJ and joined the airline in August 2017 and is only 5 years old, although the interior gave a different message. The first thing I noticed upon boarding was the worn-out interior, the placards and signs on cabin walls were peeling and the seats were mostly stain-ridden. I was seated in 37C, an aisle seat, near the galley and unfortunately the lavatories. My seat was scratchy and had a very thin layer of padding, two very obvious things about the seats are absent of are an IFE screen and a headrest. One thing that I can compliment Scoot on is the generous recline given, and thanks to that, I managed to get some sleep before landing..
Being 5 ft 7, I found the legroom a little inadequate, passengers of size would find the seats cramped. The cabin was generally in a bad state, the airplane was showing its age and had not been well maintained or cleaned on the interior. The seat pocket only had a sick bag, a safety card and someone’s used facemask that was scrunched up into a ball. We started taxiing, when the purser made an announcement saying that face masks were mandatory on board, which was not mentioned at the gate, check-in or on their website. This resulted in many passengers pressing the call button and panicking. Around 60% of the passengers did not have masks, so the crew handed them out. A while later the crew started the very short and hasty safety demonstration. The captain also apologised for the delay as there was a “transportation issue” and unlike other pilots, his voice came out clear through the intercom clear and very easy to understand. We rolled down the runway at a breakneck speed and we were up in the sky and above the city of London and soaring towards Bangkok!
Flight in General & Photo Gallery
The flight in general was uneventful, although the captain did turn on the seatbelt sign quite often when there was turbulence. One thing that I can praise Scoot on is the attentiveness of their flight crew when it comes to safety. Every time the seatbelt sign came on during the flight, they would make an announcement telling us to keep our seatbelts fastened and to stay seated. The “scooties” would also check all the passenger’s seatbelts whenever this happened. The cabin lights were dimmed for most of the flight and they set the mood lighting to purple, which was a relaxing touch.
About 7 hours into the flight and after I had finished watching 4 episodes of The Office US, the crew went around with the trolleys to serve passengers their meals. I had pre-ordered the Oriental braised beef and Rice via their online app. Their food selection on the LGW-BKK route includes Nasi Lemak, Oriental braised beef, Yam Rice, Herbal Chicken with mixed brown rice, Ragout of Chicken & Potato (essentially chicken and potato stew) and Dahl Curry and Basmati rice. There is also the option of a light meal, on the route that includes a “Mystery Snack Pack” with snacks and drinks which the other passengers thought were leftovers from previous flights and a Pandan Chiffon cake set with a bottle of water. Each meal is accompanied with a bottle of water and a rather tiny box of chocolate “lava” cookies, which turned out to be drier than a dead bush.
The Oriental braised beef didn’t taste very nice I found it extremely chewy and tasted a bit like plastic, the vegetables were very soft and the rice was extremely sticky, to the point where I could mould it into a ball with my spoon very easily. I only managed to eat a quarter of the meal before giving up on trying to chew the meat, I’m no Gordon Ramsay, but I think it’s obvious from the picture that the meal didn’t tasted great. A few passengers had made the better decision and had decided to sneak on board a meal from the airport, surprisingly the scooties didn’t seem to care very much and didn’t stop anybody from tucking into their Tesco Meal Deal.
I also decided to order some Japanese grape jelly and a cup of tea, hoping that it would be better than the Oriental braised beef. The grape jelly costed me 5 Singapore dollars/ £3.04 GBP/ $3.59 USD and the tea was priced the same. The jelly was very sweet and didn’t taste too bad, however the tea was cold and very strong. On this particular route, Scoot accepted card payments, cash payments in Singapore Dollars, Thai Baht and Great British Pound Sterling, but only gives change in Singapore Dollars. Shortly after the meal service I surveyed the lavatories, to my surprise, they were very clean and well stocked unlike the seats.
Descent & Landing
The captain announced the descent into Bangkok 1 hour before estimated arrival time, which was now an hour and a half later due to the delay. As I was seated on the left side of the plane, the view wasn’t too great, the right side of the plane gives a better view when landing in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. The lady who was seated next to where the window would be was kind enough to swap with me so that I could poke my camera through to the next window and take some photos, as well as film the landing. There were still some 20 minutes to go until we would touch down, when I heard the passengers behind me laughing, I turned to my right to see that water was dripping onto the heads of the passengers in 37J and 37K. I managed to capture the leaking on my phone, you can watch it below:
We landed at 18:51 local time in Bangkok, an hour and 41 minutes late. The landing was very smooth and I didn’t even feel it, we then taxied past the many parked Thai Airways aircraft, including their 777-200/ERs and A380s which are currently up for sale. It’s a shame to see all these aircraft parked here. We parked next to a Japan Airlines jet, also a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner at Gate G3. The captain welcomed us to Bangkok and again, apologised for the delay and thanked us for flying with Scoot. While disembarking I managed to get a glimpse of the “ScootBiz” seats, unfortunately I was ushered quickly out by the rather impatient flight attendants, although this was understandable as they still had to fly to Singapore before their shift could end. You can also watch the landing on the Aviation for aviators YouTube channel, the video will be linked below:
Arriving in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is a rather pleasant experience, the airport is clean, quite modern and has decent facilities. The airport’s immigration area had just received a recent upgrade so the line was shorter than usual. After the breeze at Passport Control, I picked up my checked luggage from carousel number 17 and got a taxi into Bangkok.
As Scoot is a low cost carrier, I found that £713 GBP/$914.99 USD for a one way ticket was quite expensive, especially with the poor product quality. The check-in was a bit slow but the staff were friendly, I found that there was very little communication between the gate staff and passengers during the lengthy delay of 1 and a half hours. The cabin crew seemed like they didn’t want to help customers or provide a decent quality of service but were committed to safety. The inflight meal was atrocious, the seat wasn’t comfortable and quite cramped although a generous amount of recline was provided which was greatly appreciated. The cabin crew put safety first, and would double check our seatbelts and stop catering service once the seatbelt sign was on. The flight was mainly uneventful, but there was some leaking towards the end, the landing in Bangkok was very smooth and I felt like I was in safe hands while flying with them.
|Recommended?||Yes- ticket was a lot cheaper than the other airlines during the peak period|
The Story of the A220, how it Came About and How it’s Becoming Popular
Aside from the fact that the Airbus A220 is the only airbus aircraft to not have a 3 in its name, the A220 is special from the fact that it isn’t fully made by Airbus, but instead a joint venture between them and Bombardier. This is all because of what some might call a mistake made by Boeing, causing Airbus to acquire a 50.01% stake in the company. In this article I explore its controversial creation, and why it’s needed.
The Airbus A220 was first named the “CSeries” by Bombardier, and was meant to cater to the demand of small aircraft in between their current-sized fleet and those larger already made by Airbus and Boeing. The particular area where it was expected to boom were the US markets, given there is always demand to be flying from small airports as there is no lack of them in the large country. At first, things were running smoothly and it was expected to enter commercial service in 2014, just one year after its first flight. However, things turned out not to go as planned, and the CSeries encountered issues on one of its test flights, causing it to miss the Farnborough air show, the largest in the industry, and delay its release. This was not good for the aircraft, nearly causing the project and the company to go bust, until financial aid was provided by the Canadian government.
Boeing’s crucial mistake
Eventually, these problems were fixed, and the first CSeries was delivered to SWISS on June 26, 2016. Eventually, more orders began to come for the new aircraft, including the critical ones in the US. In fact, Bombardier was offering Delta 75 of the aircraft at $20 million a piece, a price which was even lower than the cost to build them, and a cost which was just too good to refuse. However, this was contested and was seen to be Dumping, when a manufacturer essentially gives away its aircraft as sort-of “Samples”, and is illegal in the US and other countries. Boeing was quick to take action, claiming that it was stealing the market from its 737s, despite the fact that Delta had explicitly said that they weren’t looking to purchase the variants that Boeing were claiming to be losing out. It was then decided that, given Bombardier was a foreign company, the US government would impose a 300% import tariff, something near-destructible for the company.
Airbus saves the day
However, Airbus decided to step in and acquire a 50% stake in the company, something beneficial for both parties concerned. This was good for Bombardier, as Airbus has its final assembly station situated in Alabama in the US, meaning that seen as the aircraft technically wasn’t foreign, the import tariff wouldn’t be imposed on it. This would also help Airbus, as it would mean that the company would now profit off of an aircraft which had no competitors at the time. This allowed the aircraft to be reintroduced to the US market, allowing it to thrive.
Where it is now
Now, the CSeries has been re-branded to be the Airbus A220, a move which has knocked it out of the park for the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer. This has allowed airbus to spend absolutely no money on development, and come away with an excellent aircraft, which is dominating its playing field. As of April 2023, 251 aircraft have been delivered, with another 785 firm orders. The airlines operating the aircraft include Delta, JetBlue, SWISS and airBaltic, who operate a fleet solely made up of the A220. When Aviation for Aviators asked their CEO, Martin Gauss, about the aircraft, he said that “The aircraft has performed beyond the company’s expectations, delivering better overall performance, fuel efficiency, and convenience for both passengers and the staff.”
- Wendover Productions
- Simple Flying
Airlines of the World
An interview with Helvetic Airways CEO, Tobias Pogorevc
Helvetic Airways is a Swiss airline which operates its fleet of Embraer aircraft to destinations such as Greek islands and the Egyptian Red sea coast from their hubs in Switzerland. Their CEO, Tobias Pogorevc, has been in charge of the company since 2018 and overseen major developments such as the introduction of the Embraer E195 E2 and E190 E2 to their fleet. I put some questions to the man himself about the environment and the pandemic.
What do you see as the biggest challenge to the aviation industry at the moment?
One of the biggest challenges in the entire aviation industry is the staff situation. The pandemic
disrupted the entire aviation ecosystem and the situation is still very tense in the personnel area – both
on the ground and in the air. Helvetic Airways was able to counteract the natural fluctuation in the
cabin through early recruitment measures. In addition, as of the beginning of 2023, Helvetic Airways
has significantly expanded its existing and very popular part-time models for cabin crews, and now
offers various innovative models with “Fly your way”, in which cabin attendants can determine their
own assignments on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. Today, we employ over 240 flight attendants
and senior flight attendants in the cabin crew – more than ever before in the history of Helvetic
In the cockpit, we benefit from the good and long-standing cooperation with our sister company
Horizon Swiss Flight Academy. From this pool, we were able to recruit 24 pilots this year.
Another challenge relates to supply chains, from carpet suppliers to engine manufacturers. This will
keep the industry busy for a long time to come.
How are you lessening the impact of Helvetic’s aircraft?
Helvetic Airways has renewed almost its entire fleet between 2019 and 2021 and now has 12 state-of-
the-art Embraer E2s – eight E190-E2s with 110 seats and four E195-E2s with 134 seats – and four
Embraer E190s. Helvetic Airways thus operates one of the most modern regional jet fleets in Europe
and the most modern fleet in Switzerland. The Embraer-E2 is currently the most environmentally
friendly regional aircraft on the market. Compared to the E1, the E190-E2 consumes 20 to 23% less
fuel per seat on European routes and the E195-E2 up to 30% less. Our own measured values are
even higher than Embraer’s factory specifications.
The E2 also sets new standards in terms of noise emissions, impressing in particular with its low noise
levels both inside the cabin and outside. The noise diagrams for departures from Zurich Airport show:
The noise contour of the Embraer E195-E2 is 28% lower than for the Airbus A319 and 60% lower than
for the Airbus A320. Particularly for airports near densely populated areas, the ability to reduce the
noise impact on people is an important factor.
What lessons did you learn from the pandemic?
In aviation, crisis situations are regularly trained for, but no one was prepared for a global crisis like the
Corona pandemic. We kept all our crews current during the pandemic so that we would be ready when
business picked up again. In retrospect, that was absolutely the right decision. But then the restart
happened faster than expected. On the one hand, we all had to get back to the “old normal” as quickly
as possible; on the other hand, the pandemic was not yet over – a balancing act that placed enormous
demands on the entire industry.
The pandemic showed us that even when things are at a standstill, you always have to keep moving.
As an airline with lean structures, we have the opportunity to implement new ideas and innovations
quickly, which proved its worth during the restart after the pandemic.
How is the Russo-Ukrainian war affecting Helvetic Airways’ business?
The Ukraine war and the fates associated with it are terrible but have no immediate impact on us as a
regional airline from an operational point of view. Our routes do not pass over Russian or Ukrainian
territory, which may not be flown over at present. What we do feel, however, are the indirect effects of
the war, for example on the fuel prices.
You have been CEO of the company since 2018, what has been the biggest change you have seen in the company since you became in charge?
On the one hand, as a small, private company, the fleet renewal to an E2 fleet has been very busy for
us. It is something special that we, as a niche player, can rely on the most modern fleet. But this is
only possible thanks to the financial strength of our owner, which got us through the Covid crisis even
without government aid. Today, we are financially strong, with no liabilities.
On the other hand, there was the biggest difference in the area of human resources: the needs that
applied in 2018 are outdated today. Today, we need to offer innovative and flexible working models to
recruit the best young talent. Work-life balance, diversity, inclusion must not just be buzzwords, they
must be lived.
Helvetic airways operates a fleet solely made up of Embraer aircraft, why was the decision made to do this?
Before unifying to an all Embraer fleet, Helvetic Airways operated Fokker100 aircraft, an Airbus A319
and Embraer E1 aircraft, four of which are still in our fleet today. The cooperation with Embraer was
excellent from the beginning and the development of the E2 series progressed well also due to our
experience and input from Switzerland. So the decision was also obvious to carry out the planned fleet
renewal in 2019 to 2021 with the new Embraer E2 models. The Embraer E2 is an aircraft of the latest
generation and therefore the right aircraft for the future. The E2 consumes significantly less fuel than
the E1 and, especially in times of high kerosene prices, it makes economic sense to operate an
aircraft that saves 20 to 30% fuel on certain routes at high load factors.
Another key reason for choosing the E2 jet was the commonalities, which is particularly advantageous
in the areas of training and maintenance.
All our pilots are certified for both the E1 and the E2, and the maintenance in our hangar is also
certified for both types of aircraft. We operate the aircraft, we maintain it and we have our own flight
school, the Horizon Swiss Flight Academy, where we train our pilots and engineers – all from Zurich.
In other words, we have specialists for all areas: training, operations and maintenance – in effect we
have become the Embraer competence center in Europe.
And Finally, what can we see in the near future for Helvetic airways?
First and foremost, our goal is to continue to offer our partners, customers and passengers reliable
flight operations with top service. In doing so, we will continue to rely on our three main pillars of
wetlease, charter and scheduled flights. Furthermore, we want to remain a good and modern employer
for our employees. Due to our manageable size, we remain agile and score with innovation and a
family atmosphere with flat hierarchies. We will continue to promote this spirit. From April, for example,
the first “Helvetic shared apartments” will be ready for occupancy – apartments rented by Helvetic
Airways and sublet to employees who do not have their main place of residence in Zurich. These
colleagues should immediately feel at home in our Helvetic family!
Cover image credit: Flikr
Brussels Airlines’ Female Crew on International Women’s Day 2023
On March 8th, International Women’s Day 2023, Brussels Airlines made history by operating a flight from Brussels to Marseille with an all-female cockpit crew. This milestone marks the first time that the airline had ever flown with an all-female cockpit crew, and it sends a powerful message of support for gender equality in the aviation industry.
Brussels Airlines is the flag carrier airline of Belgium and operates flights to over 120 destinations, with a fleet of more than 50 aircraft offering both economy and business class seating. The airline is also committed to sustainability and supports social initiatives through its charity program, b.foundation for Africa. Its subsidiary, Brussels Airlines Cargo, provides cargo services.
Captain Anne-Sophie Godart, First Officer Charlotte Verstraete, and Flight Engineer Virginie Dupon, all highly experienced pilots with a combined total of more than 25,000 flight hours, were the crew who operated the special flight. The three women were honored to be part of this historic event, with Captain Godart stating, “It’s an honor to be part of this flight and to be able to make a statement about gender equality in the aviation industry. We are proud to be able to show that women can do the same job as men, and that we can do it just as well.”
The flight was a success, and the crew received cheers and applause upon arrival in Marseille. It was a powerful statement of support for gender equality in the aviation industry, and a reminder that women are capable of anything men can do.
Brussels Airlines has been actively recruiting more female pilots and creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment for all of its employees. This flight was a proud moment for the airline, which is committed to promoting gender equality in the aviation industry and providing equal opportunities for all.
As International Women’s Day 2023 is celebrated, it is a time to acknowledge the progress made in the fight for gender equality, but also recognize the work that still needs to be done. Brussels Airlines‘ all-female cockpit crew serves as a beacon of hope for aspiring female pilots and a symbol of progress for the aviation industry as a whole.
“Let us soar higher on this International Women’s Day 2023, celebrating the fearless women who have conquered the skies and shattered stereotypes in aviation, inspiring generations to come.“
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