Scoot Airlines review: it’s survivable (if you remember to avoid the food)

Scoot Airlines A320 seats

Not only is this my first Scoot Airlines review, it’s the first review that I’ve done in over six months! Forgive me if it feels a little clumsy and awkward, as it’s been a while and I’ve kind of fell out of the groove a bit. I’ll try my best.

So yeah. COVID-19 is still raging on here in the United States as I write this. Although I’m not back in the air yet, I am starting to think about my strategy for returning to the skies. Part of that strategy involves getting all caught up on my trip reports so that I’ll be able to stay current once I get going again.

That’s the plan anyway. A lot can happen between now and then, especially with my short attention span! Maybe everything will go as planned. Or – maybe I’ll get caught up doing a series of irrelevant backpack reviews or something. Knowing me, that’s not too far out of the realm of possibility…

TR875
Tokyo / Narita, Japan (NRT) – Taipei, Taiwan (TPE)
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Aircraft: A320-232
Registration: 9V-TRM
Duration: 3 hours 25 minutes
Seat: 2A (main cabin)

Scoot Airlines A320 illustration
Scoot Airlines A320 side view illustration by Norebbo.com
Scoot Airlines A320 seat map
Seat map of this Scoot Airlines A320 (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat (2A) for this flight to TPE.
TR875 flight track
Our route from Narita to Taipei today as TR875

The video

It’s been so long that I created the video for the Scoot Airlines review that I totally forgot what was in it. I had to go back and rewatch it and… man, I miss flying! I remember this being a very dull (and necessary) flight after my long haul JAL 787 economy experience from San Diego, but it’s amazing how much my perception has changed due to the current pandemic.

Coming in at a relatively short 10 minutes and 43 seconds, it’s a fun video to remind us of what things used to be like. Remember when flying without a mask was an option? That’s one of the first things that I thought of as I reviewed this one.

As always, I obtained the music for this video through at Epidemic Sound. I wrote a full review on that service a short while ago, and I highly recommend reading that if you’re thinking about signing up. Spoiler alert: it’s worth it.

How much did I pay for this Scoot Airlines flight from Narita to Taipei?

Well, I already gave it away in the video above, but I’ll say it again: $130. Well, it was $136.25 to be exact, but I needed to round it off for the video title. It’s just one of the struggles of being a YouTuber.

Anyway, $136 was a fair price to pay in my opinion. This flight was far from being luxurious (which is something that I was sure I was gonna say in my first ever Scoot Airlines review). However, service was really good. If anything, I would say that it was very similar to a typical Frontier Airlines experience here in the United States.

Please note: some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means that I will get paid a commission if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of them.

As always, I used my American Express Platinum card to pay for the flight. As a reminder, the AMEX platinum gives 5X points on all airfare purchases, so I earned a total of 680 Membership Rewards points. These points can be transferred to a wide variety of airlines all over the world.

Of course you probably knew that, but I’m just reminding you since it’s been a while since we’ve all flown. Some of us (like me) may be a bit rusty. I’m so rusty as a matter fact, that I just had to Google “membership rewards” to reconfirm that that was the correct name for the American Express points program. Yes, it’s been THAT long.

Pros and cons of Scoot Airlines economy

Oops. I think I just goofed. Scoot doesn’t have a premium seating option, so technically, every seat on every one of the planes is considered to be “economy” class. Couldn’t I just have said “pros and cons of flying Scoot” instead? Yes, I could have. But for some reason or another that sounds a little kinky to my immature brain. Anyway…

Pros

  • Flying scoot is a bargain. Scoot is a fantastically nice budget option when compared to the major airlines. From what I recall, this flight was half the price compared to what Japan Airlines and ANA we’re asking.
  • As an American used to flying US airlines, the politeness and generosity of the Scoot cabin crew was mind-blowing. They offered to help me stowe my backpack. One offered me an in-flight magazine when she realized that the one in my seat back pocket was missing. When’s the last time you’ve had that kind of experience on a Spirit Airlines flight?
  • The particular A320 that I was on was spotless. That says a lot considering how hard Scoot runs their airplanes, and I was more than impressed.

Cons

  • Just like every other ultra low-cost carrier in the world, they charge extra for everything. That $136 fare could’ve ballooned into something massive if I would’ve paid for even more upgrades than I did.
  • Everything you’ve heard about the food on Scoot Airlines is true. It sucks. It was arguably the most disgusting meal that I’ve ever eaten on an airplane, and I’ll never forget the feeling of peeling back the cover and feeling the need to gag slightly. To make matters worse, I had to pay an extra $11 for that meal.
  • You can’t check in online if you’re flying out of Narita. Seriously? I’m not sure how they determined that NRT flights are ineligible for online check-in, but it was especially annoying having to obtain a boarding pass after arriving on an international flight from the US. More on those shinanigans in a moment…

Full transcript of my Scoot Airlines review video (with tons of pics and colorful commentary)

One of the most interesting things about reviewing Scoot Airlines (or any ultra low-cost carrier) is that I tend to approach it in a far different way than I would as if I was reviewing an Emirates business class experience.

I know that it’s important to stay objective and realistic, and not to expect anything overly innovative and or nice. Especially when it comes to Scoot. I had just stepped off a really great Japan Airlines economy flight from the United States, and it was very necessary to dial my expectations down a few notches to get ready for the 3 1/2 hour hop down to Taipei.

The arrival at Narita terminal 2

Don’t you just love it when your international flight arrives in the same terminal that your connecting flight will be departing from? That’s exactly what happened here as my flight from San Diego (JL65) arrived just a few gates down from where this Scoot Airlines flight down to Taipei would be departing from. It seemed too easy. And it was…

SANspotter selfie NRT T2
konnichiwaaaa! My name is Scott, I’m the guy who writes everything over at SANspotter.com, and I’m here at Narita airport in Japan just chillin’ before my Scoot Airlines flight down to Taipei.
Scott on Scoot
That’s right. It’s a Scott on Scoot video today.

Unfortunately, scoot Airlines doesn’t offer a mobile check in option for flights departing Narita for some reason. This meant that I didn’t have a boarding pass yet.

Since I was already inside the terminal after arriving on a flight from San Diego, I figured I’d just relax for a bit get it at the gate once it opened up. No problem!

Scott on Scoot
Might as well grab a bite to eat while I wait. This doesn’t look very Japanese, does it?
Terminal 2 NRT
Walking around Terminal 2 killing time, and…it turns out that I am actually a moron. They cannot issue boarding passes at the gate. A fact which I learned approximately 15 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin. What was I thinking?!

I was actually so sure that I was going to miss this flight that I didn’t even bother recording any of my record-setting run through passport control AND customs to get to the Scoot ticket counter before they closed. But I made it!!

Scoot Airlines ticket counter NRT
Yeah, so, this “Scott on Scoot” thing isn’t going as planned so far. Bear with me though. Once I clear security again things will get back on track.
SANspotter almost missed flight
Hopefully.
Scoot ticket counter NRT
I’m not exactly sure, but I’m fairly confident I set a record for the fastest time from ticket counter to boarding gate here at Narita.
NRT T2 departures hall
Having to exit the secure area, get my boarding pass, and then pass through security again was one of my finest travel moments ever!
NRT terminal 2 inside
Running back to the gate now. I very much regret documenting so little of it…

The boarding process for Scoot 875 down to Taipei

Missing this flight would’ve been catastrophic for me. The entire purpose of flying to Taipei was so that I could catch an early morning Starlux Airlines business class flight down to Penang.

Gate 83 NRT
This particular Scoot flight was the only one out of NRT that could get me to Taipei in time to make that flight, so I was breathing a huge sigh of relief what I realized that I was indeed going to make it.
NRT gate 83 jet bridge
Can you believe that I was the first passenger down the jet bridge too? Maybe I’m better at this travel game than I thought…
Scoot Airlines a320 boarding door
Walking up to the boarding door now and I was just *dying* to tell everyone what I had just accomplished!

But then I thought how weird it would be if a sweaty, red-faced, and out of breath dude ran up to me and started waving his hands in the air while telling me stuff I didn’t care about. So I just let it go.

My first impressions of Scoot (or…”Scott’s first impression of Scoot”)

As you’ll see in the following pictures, there really isn’t anything to get excited about regarding this airline. Yeah, the cabin crew is really nice, and the planes are clean, but other than that it’s just your basic low-cost carrier experience.

I’m truly sorry if you were expecting the world’s most thrilling Scoot airlines A320 review that you’ve ever read.

Scoot A320 interior
Behold the Scoot A320 main cabin.
Scoot Front seat
I’m in seat 2A this evening, which Scoot refers to as a “Front seat”.
Scoot Airlines A320 front seat leg room
There’s no added leg room in these seats, but I did get priority boarding with it.
Scoot Airlines A320 seats
I’m liking what I see so far. If you want extra leg room on Scoot, you’ll have to book a bulkhead or exit row.
three types of seats on Scoot A320’s
For those that don’t know, there are three types of seats on Scoot A320’s. Well, they’re actually all the same, but each comes with different perks. The standard seats aren’t all that bad actually. Especially considering that I only paid $136 for this flight.
Scott on Scoot
Does Scott recommend Scoot? Yeah. So far he does.
Scoot Airlines menu
This menu represents the portion of this review where I make my *second* big mistake of the evening.
Scoot Airlines menu options
Long story short, I knew I’d have to shell out a load of cash for a meal on Scoot, so as you saw earlier – I purchased a meal in the terminal, feeling really proud of myself for saving a little money. Turns out that I forgot that I had pre purchased a meal for this flight and (once again) I’m a moron.
SANspotter Scoot Airlines review
I couldn’t be too hard on myself though.This was a decently comfy seat on what seemed to be a decent airline. More importantly, I didn’t miss it due to my own stupidity.
empty row Scoot Airlines
Oh – and I ended up having the entire row to myself too. Maybe Scott should fly Scoot more often…
SANspotter on Scoot
aWhat an amazing feeling it was to know that not only I made this flight, but I’ve got an entire all to myself to spread out and do nerdy SANspotter things. Y’all have no idea how much I’m loving this social distancing thing…
Scoot headrest cover
The headrest cover. How awkward would this shot be if there was someone sitting in the adjacent seat?
Scoot Airlines A320 safety card
Anyway, as you can see, Scoot branding (even on the safety card) is fun and quirky – very much like how it is on Spirit Airlines. Come to think of it, this has been a very Spirit-like experience so far.
Novel Coronavirus Health Declaration Card
One thing NOT like a typical spirit airlines experience was having to fill out a health declaration card. Come to think of it, the way things are going in the US right now, who’s to say that’s not going to start happening? Flying from ft Wayne to Pittsburgh soon? You might want to bring a pen.
waving ground crew NRT
Here’s something that won’t be happening in the US any time soon: a waving ground crew.
takeoff from NRT
Sayonara NRT!

What’s the food like on Scoot Airlines?

If you’re asking that question, it’s likely that you skipped over the Pros and Cons section above. That’s OK. I’m not offended, as a matter of fact, I’m happy to reiterate what I said earlier about it being so bad. This time, I’m going to do it with pictures.

Scoot Airlines Miso chicken and pearl rice
Miso chicken and pearl rice. I completely forgot that I pre-ordered a meal for this flight, but then it all came rushing back to me when the flight attendant placed it so proudly on my tray table.
Scoot Airlines food
I remembered thinking how potentially boring a Scott on Scoot video would be, and a maybe a meal would be a good talking point. The only problem is: there’s nothing good about this talking point.
Scoot Airlines food review
Unfortunately for both Scott AND Scoot, this was pretty darn far from being the best meal I’ve ever had on an airplane before. Quite frankly, I’d rather not talk about it.
food for purchase Scoot Airlines
Should I be embarrassed that I ate all of it? For what it’s worth, I’d recommend NOT buying meals on Scoot.

Final thoughts. Would I fly Scoot again?

The remainder of the flight felt great. Mostly because I knew that I wasn’t going to miss that Starlux A321neo business class flight The following morning.

Overall, this had been a pretty good flight so far. Yeah, I still had a weird taste in my mouth from the chicken “stuff” and they never turned the cabin lights off completely, but I was still comfortable and the cabin crew was amazing. My verdict: 3.9 stars…out of 5.

scoot lavatory
Yup, I’m that guy who focuses so deeply on capturing the corrosion on the lavatory mirror that I didn’t even realize my shirt was half-tucked into my pants.
Sleeping on scoot airlines
There we go – they finally turned off the cabin lights. And for that, I’m upping my score to 4 stars out of 5.
landing at TPE at night
You know what? I’m willing to bump up my score even higher if the pilot in command can grease this landing…
Arrival at TPE
Looking good! The final SANspotter verdict (assuming we don’t crash and burn)? 4.2 stars out of 5.
arrival at Taoyuan Airport
aWelcome time to Taipei! Local time is 10:48pm, and…it’s a shame that I can’t see anything. Taoyuan Airport is an amazing place, and if you’ve never been here, you’re totally missing out!
Scoot A320 wing and engine view
On a more somber note, all I can really think is how sad it is that (due to the virus) it may be a while before I (and most of you) get to do something like this again.
seatbelt sign off
Let’s hope things get better and we can all get back out there sooner rather than later.
EVA 777 parked at gate
Just a little bit fuuurther….and…we’re there.
end of scoot airlines review
There you have it. My first ever experience on Scoot Airlines, and I walked away from it feeling impressed. Would I fly Scoot again? Of course I would. And not only because it’s fun to tell people that “Scott will be flying on Scoot.”

Comments (2)

  1. James

    September 11, 2020
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      September 12, 2020

Give a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.