The high price to pay for the convenience of flying from Ipoh to Sydney on one airline
Ipoh might not be the most popular place to visit in Malaysia, but with family to visit it's the city I wound up in before having to head back home to Sydney.
I'd travelled by plane to the country's capital Kuala Lumpur then taken the train to Ipoh, but decided to forgo having to train it back down and then Uber to the airport by flying with Scoot from Ipoh Airport, via Singapore, back to Sydney.
It turns out it wasn't the smartest idea.
Now this was the first time I'd flown with Scoot and I'd been told by some that they were amazing and by others that they looked and felt budget in every way. So I had mixed expectations flying with them.
In theory it should have been a smooth ride with a 5.5-hour transit in Singapore to grab some food and potentially see the city. However, it turned out to be one of the bumpiest trips I've ever taken.
Date travelled: 30 January 2018
Flight number(s): TR483 (Ipoh-Singapore), TR2 (Singapore-Sydney)
Aircraft type: A320 (Ipoh-Singapore), B787-9 (Singapore-Sydney)
Frequent flyer program: None
What I liked
- Flights out of Ipoh: As Ipoh isn't a major transport hub, its airport is quite small which has its benefits, including a quick check-in and close proximity to the city so you can virtually leave your hotel an hour before your flight and still catch it with time to spare. This allows you to maximise your hours in the city but does mean you have next to nothing to entertain you at the airport.
- Cheap flights: Being budget, Scoot's flights are very well priced and when it came to deciding whether to take the train to Kuala Lumpur to connect onto an AirAsia flight to Sydney or fly from Ipoh to Sydney via Singapore, the price came up in Scoot's favour.
- Fly-thru: My flight came with a free fly-thru which in layman's terms meant that my bag would automatically be checked through to my final destination and boarding passes for both legs were given to me when I initially checked in. This meant there would be no need to leave departures, pick up my bag or check back in for my final leg, which not only gave me peace of mind but eliminated the need for lengthy walks through Singapore Changi's terminals and waits at the check-in counter.
What I didn’t like
Where shall I start?
- Flight delays:
My journey from Malaysia to Sydney was marred by flight delays one after another. After having arrived at Ipoh Airport on time and checked in with time to spare, only at 5:30pm when the plane was supposed to depart did it arrive and we were called to board. Before then there was no announcement of a delay, nor was there any information on the board suggesting the plane would even arrive, with the screen still remarking upon the previous flight up to the wire. Nevertheless my flight did land in Singapore on time, but the lack of communication was definitely frustrating.
In Singapore the communication around flight delays was much better though no less frustrating. I arrived believing I had 5.5 hours to either hit the city or have dinner in one of the best layover airports in the world. With the humidity high, I decided on the latter only to find out, 3 hours in, that the flight had been delayed by 2.5 hours.
So instead of departing at 1:45am, I'd be flying out at 4:25am.I discovered this via a big "delayed" sign on the departures boards, though I later found out (when I got Wi-Fi) that an email had been sent out about it at 10:30pm giving anyone in the city enough time to delay their hotel departure, which was thoughtful on Scoot's part but in no way aided my situation.
Stuck at the airport and too tired to hit the city, I attempted to check into the conveniently placed airport hotel but was knocked back as it was all booked out for the evening, leaving me to walk the terminals until I was knackered; I then sourced some empty seats to nap on until my gate was announced and my flight was boarding.
Something I learnt while biding my time is that Scoot will only compensate you for flight delays of 3 hours with a SGD50 voucher. Longer delays can warrant you larger compensation but as my delay was 2 hours and 40 minutes, I just missed out. That's not to say I didn't get compensated. Upon boarding every passenger was given a little snack-pack to nibble on in the plane. While this was unexpected, I was still not too impressed.
- Lost baggage:
Again, this may have come from the flight delay but upon arriving back home – several hours later than expected and with family waiting on the other side – I came away from the baggage carousel empty handed. I've talked to a few friends about this and they say it's typical for flights with long layover periods like mine and that the bag typically gets sent on the next flight down, but all this was new to me as I've never had a misplaced bag.
Comfortingly, I wasn't the only one left empty-handed at the carousel with around eight people from my flight queuing at the claims counter. Forms were filled out and numbers were taken and I was told to sit tight and wait for the call. After three days it finally came and my bag was couriered to me. This was fine for me as I was returning home to clean clothes and toiletries but I can only wonder how things played out for those only starting their journey with no compensation in hand and three days without luggage.
Would I fly Scoot again?
I think the obvious answer is: no.
I'll be diplomatic and state that I understand delays and lost luggage do happen and my response is more reflective of my bad string of luck than the airline's fault, but after a long trip in between the delays and the lost baggage it only made it feel longer which is not the way I like to return home.
As mentioned above, some of my friends rave about the airline and I won't deny the price or the quality of the planes as well as the apt communication of the flight delay by the airline, but the compensation (or lack of) was a harsh blow and I don't believe I've mentioned that I don't recall the airline apologising for it at all. Maybe I was too tired. Maybe I was too frustrated. I'm unsure but I'm not going to be rushing to hop onto another Scoot flight anytime soon.
Feature image: FlyScoot Facebook..
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