Scoot Airlines Review: Instead of Buying Business Class, Do This.

Scoot Flight: Singapore to Melbourne Boeing 787-800

This leg of my four-country trip from Singapore to Melbourne, Australia, I decided to fly a low-cost flight instead of business class. Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary Scoot seemed to be a good option.

I was contemplating Scoot’s business class called Scoot Biz, but decided to go for Scoot in Silence. And I was glad I did.

My flight was 3 hours late. But the delay appeared on the screen at the last moment when people were already at the counter. There was no one from Scoot to be found anywhere to confirm the delay. I saw that some people started sleeping on floor at the waiting area near the gate counter because it was already midnight.

After a long wait, I boarded the plane and was happy that I chose Scoot in Silence. It costed me around $80 for the seat selection in the Scoot in Silence quiet zone. I had my seat right behind the business class section after the divider. There was no one in front of me and even the seats next to me were empty.

Scoot in Silence does not allow kids under 12 and the seats are better than economy with 34-inch peach rather than 31-inch regular economy. And being in the 1st front row bulkhead seat in Scoot in Silence, I had no one sitting in front of me and I literally had infinite leg stretch space.

The Scoot Biz cabin was right in front of me and I noticed the seats are not lie-flat business class; it’s more like premium economy. They just have a little more space in between and in front compared to my seat. Definitely it’s not worth paying extra for business class. You will get the best value for your money if you spend around $80 (Canadian) and pick a seat in the Scoot in Silence zone, especially where there are no seats are in front of you.

I ordered food online months ahead and its quality was not bad. The overall cleanliness of the aircraft exceeded my expectations, including the bathrooms, and I did not find anything to complain about.

 Except for the delay and the absence of anyone from Scoot to properly communicate with the customers, everything else was a pleasant experience, and I won’t mind flying again with Scoot.

How to Get from Singapore Changi Airport to Downtown or City Hotels

Singapore Airport to Downtown Hotels

There are many ways you can get to Singapore city or downtown hotels from the airport. Some of these options are expensive. Today, I will talk about the best and cheapest way to reach your hotel from Singapore airport.

Taking the City shuttle costs only $9 and it will take you to most of the downtown hotels or city centre. Once you pass immigration and customs, look for the City Shuttle concierge desk near the exit gates. If you can’t find it, ask someone or look for a huge red fan on the ceiling. The concierge desk is near the big, red fan.

You will have to purchase your ticket using the self-service kiosks. If you need help, just ask the concierge and they will show you how to buy a ticket.

Once purchased, wait near the concierge desk. The driver will come and pick you up. The city shuttle runs every 15-30 minutes. You can also book your return trip from the hotel to the airport with the driver or by calling their phone #. Check the Singapore Airport Website for updated information.

My trips on the city shuttle both times (airport to the hotel and back) were pleasant. I was the only one on the shuttle and the driver gave me a lot of information about Singapore. So it was like I paid only $9 each time but had better experience than taking a taxi.

I have a video on the whole process. Watch it here and you will see how easy, cheap, and efficient taking the city shuttle from Singapore’s airport to the city.

Singapore Travel Diary (Part 2) : Impressions & Highlights

Singapore Travel Blog: Part 1

Next Day: A Busy Day Sightseeing

Next day I had a tour arranged from 9 to 1. The tour operator picked me up at the hotel and it was very busy day for the next few hours. I visited popular places like:

Little India
China Town and the ancient Thian Hock Keng Temple
Marina Bay and Singapore's iconic Merlion
National Orchid Garden (part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens)
And much more

Singapore is very neat and clean city. Its downtown has lots of skyscrapers and has the look and feel of a downtown in a western country. I noticed that the skyscrapers and tall buildings have different styles and poses different from the architectural beauty of skyscrapers in New York or Toronto. I liked it because it looked different than what I was used to seeing in North America.

I will not detail each place I visited because I captured most of it in my video and pictures and you can see them on my YouTube and Instagram.

Maxwell Hawker Centre Singapore - Famous Street Food

Maxwell Hawker Centre is a famous street food court in Chinatown, Singapore. This is the best place to try Singaporean dishes served by various street food stalls in one place. There are tables and chairs to sit down and enjoy all the food under the same roof.

You will find street food stall like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken that was endorsed by celebrities like Anthony Bourdain and the Michelin Guide. But there is always a lineup, so I decided to try the next one without a lineup. I was told that any stalls in Hawker’s Market would taste as good as Tian Tian.

Any items here are extremely cheap and the taste and quality are mind blowing. I tried the famous Hainanese chicken rice and it cost me only $3.50. Another time I was planning to try the hotel buffet, but it was way expensive at $70. So I walked about 15 minutes to another street food complex and had 7 items only for $5.80. It was so much that I couldn’t eat it all and tipped the server, which made her day.

Singapore: Time to Leave

My 2 days in Singapore are almost over and I am heading to the airport for Melbourne, Australia. I found Singapore to be a very clean and beautiful city. You will not see any homeless people on the street and everywhere is very neat and clean.

I heard laws are very strict in Singapore. For example, you cannot eat on the street while walking or even chew gum. If you are eating at a street food vendor, you will have to finish eating there.

I will be taking a low-cost airline, Scoot, owned by Singapore Airlines and I will write my experience in the next blog.

Singapore Travel Blog: Impressions & Highlights

Singapore Travel Diary (Part 1)

+30 C from -30 C

My transition from -30 C (Canada) to +30 C was felt right away once I entered the airport from the plane. Although there was air conditioning, when I was walking along the glass wall it was clear I had arrived in Singapore.

Immigration was a breeze. The immigration officer only asked one question: How many days would I stay in Singapore? After clearing customs, it was time to look for transportation to reach my hotel.

City Shuttle to Four Points Sheraton

I researched reaching the city hotel taking public transportation before and taking a city shuttle seemed to be the best option for only $9. Once I reached the help desk close to the exit gate, the rep pointed me to the self-service kiosks located next to the help desk. However, she was nice enough to show me how to obtain a ticket from the machine.

I was told to stay close by the help desk, as the City Shuttle driver comes to the help desk to pick up for the next ride. After waiting about 10-15 minutes, the driver came and took me to the shuttle waiting just outside the exit door. To my surprise, I was the only passenger. So for only $9, I had something like a taxi ride.

I had the same thing when I was returning from the hotel to the airport. I booked my return trip with the driver and he picked me up at my hotel. This time I was the only one in the shuttle as well.

Singapore River in Robertson Quay

My hotel was located on the Singapore River in Robertson Quay and I had spectacular views from my room of the river and city skyscrapers. There was a cute white bridge at the river and there were a nice walkway and restaurants there as well. The river stretches a long way and all along you can see stores and eateries. The night scenes were even better due to the reflections of lights on the water.

First Evening in Chinatown

After checking in and showering, I wanted to explore Singapore a little bit because it was only 4:00 PM. Hotel employees mentioned that Chinatown was within walking distance and I decided to walk to to Chinatown after taking some pictures of the white bridge and river surroundings.

Chinatown was bustling and open-air and street food restaurants were full of people. I saw lots of senior citizens hanging out and having good times in Chinatown. At my hotel the dinner buffet was $70, but in Chinatown I picked 7 items (that was a lot of food) and paid only $5.80. The server was surprised when I gave her a tip. I was looking for napkins or tissue, but no one seemed to understand. Finally, one person got me and gave me a tissue pack.

Singapore Travel Blog - Part 2

Lessons From a 3rd World Country

Bangladesh Travel Lessons

My recent trip to a 3rd world country was quiet fascinating. It gave me a chance to compare some socio-economic issues between two worlds (1st world and 3rd world). A 3rd world country is obviously not in the same situation to be compared with a 1st world country. But from time to time, I analyze the similarities and differences between countries just to reenergize my thinking capability. That’s exactly what I was doing when I was visiting Bangladesh last month. It did not take me long to discover two stunning improvements this small country was able to achieve. Many developed countries have not yet been able to match these accomplishments.

Telecommunications
Bangladesh entered the era of modern telecommunications at the speed of light. I have not seen this many people using cell phones in America and Canada. SIMcards, phone sets and service plans have become unbelievably affordable. I did not meet a single person without a cell phone. I find it expensive to have a cell phone in North America due to phone company regulations and the high price ceiling. In Bangladesh the picture is different. Subscribers in Bangladesh reached 10.8 million at the end of January, up by 180% from 3.8 million at the end of 2004. It is expected that this number will double to over 20 million by 2007. In Bangladesh, cell phones have added $650 million to gross domestic product (GDP) and created 240,000 jobs. When I drove more than an hour from cities in America or Canada, I often lost the signals. This did not happen in Bangladesh. I traveled North to South on trains and always had strong signal. The whole country is covered and subscribers are able to make and receive calls without being charged roaming and long distance fees. There are malls in Bangladesh which sell only cell phones. When I mentioned this to my Canadian friend, he looked at me in disbelief.

Environment friendly and biodegradable shopping bags
I was in a shopping centre and was expecting my items would be put in a nice looking plastic bag as I am used to it in Canada. Instead, I was given a shopping bag made of some kind of fibre. Later I found out that it was made of jute (cotton like natural fibre).  Jute grows abundantly in Bangladesh and is totally environment friendly and biodegradable. The reason I was never given plastic bags is  Bangladesh has banned the manufacture and use of plastic bags, which many industrialized countries have not been able to do. Department of the Environment  has taken the plastic bag situation seriously, due to billions of bags being dumped into rivers, canals, drains  and other water bodies, over the years, creating a serious environmental threat.

Lessons we take
Theses are just two observations I came across. I am sure a lot more like these can be found in other 3rd world countries. Industrialized countries are hundreds or even thousands of years ahead of poor 3rd world countries. But sometimes it is hard or even impossible for rich countries to take steps to protect their environment and provide technological benefits to their populations. Whenever I notice steps taken by poor countries – which are miles away from ordinary and beyond expectations, it makes me pause to think. Rather than teach the developing world, perhaps it is time for developed countries to take lessons from them.

November 16, 2008. Originally published on www.adawn.net. I will be transferring all my articles from Canada’s Personal Finance Website to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com. Thanks.