Airlines Guestwriter

Would you pay the full service premium?

Using the example of Scoot to Berlin to see the difference between full fare and budget.

Despite conventional wisdom, the price gap between full service carriers and low cost carriers(LCCs) can be quite close, especially when you factor in all the extra amenities on LCCs. With Scoot’s recent expansion into Berlin, I thought this topic would be worth a closer examination.

Scoot vs LOT Polish Airlines

Scoot has announced that flights to Berlin would go on sale for departures from 20 June 2018. A quick check on Scoot reveals that a FlyBagEat combo i.e one with 20kg checked bags, seat selection, 1 light meal and 1 normal meal,  would price out at S$815.64.

However, while watching cat videos on Youtube, I saw an ad saying that LOT Polish Airlines was having a big sale. So being Singaporean, I clicked on it. Lo and behold, I saw fares that were rather reasonable to Europe. Keep in mind though, that LOT only starts flying out of Singapore from 15 May 2018.

Image Credits : LOT Website

A quick check on LOT’s site for flights to Berlin around that date yields a promo fare of approximately S$1,005.

Photo Credit : LOT Polish Airlines Website

The transit time in Warsaw would be around 2 hours, a very comfortable time period to be transiting in an airport as you would have sufficient time to re-clear security after landing, and maybe have some Polish food before catching your connecting flight.

As Scoot’s FlyBagEat combo includes a seat selection, I have added in the option to pre-book seats at SGD30 per flight for the SIN-WAW and WAW-SIN leg of the journey. As the journey from WAW-TXL is on a “de Havilland Canada Dash 8″, a single aisle short haul turboprop aircraft, I have opted not to reserve seats on that segment as it makes no sense for a short hop from Warsaw to Berlin to pay SGD12.80 for the seat reservation.

Note that the fare bucket on SIN-WAW-TXL is on fare bucket “U” , hence it will not earn you any miles on KrisFlyer. However, the return segment is in fare bucket “W” which earns 50% miles on KrisFlyer. That’s about 3,125 KrisFlyer Miles earned from this flight. As we value a KrisFlyer miles at 2 cents a piece, you would be receiving an effective rebate of S$62.50 from the flight.

Photo Credits : Singapore Airlines

Amenities comparison

Both Scoot and LOT Polish will fly their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft out of Singapore. Both aircraft feature an economy cabin laid out in a 3-3-3 configuration. Scoot’s economy class seats on their 787-8 aircraft are of the slimline variant, with the call buttons placed on the arm rest. Making it a terrible annoyance as one slip of the elbow, and you’ll either activate the light or call for the flight attendant unnecessarily. Scoot also does not offer complimentary in-flight entertainment, power as well as drinks between meals.

Photo Credits : FlyScoot
Photo Credit : The Straits Times

Note the placements of the buttons on the armrest.

LOT Economy seats are a little tighter at 16.9″, seat pitch however, is at 32″ as per SeatGuru. For the asian frame (unless you’re fat like me), the seat width should be comfortable enough and you should fit in snugly. If you have flown on Qatar’s 787 Economy Class before, the seat width is around that of Qatar’s. (17.2″)

Image result for LOT 787 EConomy class
Photo Credits : travellingformiles
Photo Credits : bbr-production

They feature an adjustable headrest, USB port (for our power hungry devices) as well as a power ports between seats. Also, the IFE screen is built onto the seatback and is touch enabled. Reading some trip reports online suggest that LOT’s catering seems to be rather good.

Note that like Scoot, LOT charges for alcohol on-board. However, their prices are cheaper than Scoot. Charging just 15PLN for a mini bottle of Jameson Whisky (~SGD5). Scoot charges SGD8 for a mini bottle of Johnnie Walker Black.

Worth forking out the extra?

Personally, I have flown Scoot from Singapore to Don Mueang and did not like their seats one bit. I had to tuck my arms very close to my body during the entire flight to avoid hitting the call and light buttons accidentally. Imagine having to experience that for the 13 hour trek to Berlin. In addition, for the price quoted in the screenshots above, if you were to pay for those fares with a credit card, you would incur an addition S$20 charge for the ticket. LOT does not charge a fee for using credit cards to purchase tickets on their website.

To summarize, here’s a side by side comparison of what Scoot and LOT charges :

Scoot (Fly) Scoot (FlyBag) Scoot (FlyBagEat) LOT
(S$716.34 if paid by credit card)
(S$745.64 if paid by credit card)
(S$835.64 if you pay by credit card)

Miles earned :

Scoot (FlyBagEat) LOT Miles Difference
3,340 (assuming you paid by credit card) 7,145 3,805

By the time you throw in all the incidentals such as checked bags and meals on Scoot, it comes out quite close to the price that full service carriers charge. In addition, the extra miles earned from flying on LOT will help in your qualification (or re-qualification) in the KrisFlyer program. Even if you’re not gunning for elite status on Singapore Airlines, the miles earned when flying on LOT already offsets the ticket price in a way as you’ll be effectively paying S$942.60. Factoring in the value of miles earned.

On certain routes, choosing to fly on LCCs make sense. However, on long haul routes like these. I think it’s best that we weigh our options properly between Budget and Full Service carriers.

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5 Comments on "Would you pay the full service premium?"

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Couldn’t agree more. Worse still if you are stocked with the headrestless seats, it’s a torture on the neck

Just compare the in-flight service between the two airlines. Vast.

have you flown lot before?

Recently I flown scoot and it was the worst experience . Its better to top up some extra money to get a better flight.the seats even don’t push back.and the price is not as a budget airline fare.

How is it that Scoot’s 787 seats are allegedly 18″ when 3-3-3 on a 787 is incapable of housing seats wider than 17″ (authority: I think someone needs to take out a measuring tape and see if and how they are doing this.