Over the weekend I posted about the story of a seriously delayed Scoot flight between Singapore and Perth, which resulted in a near riot at the departure gate. The flight was delayed by over 22 hours due to a combination of factors (including a mechanical problem), though Scoot got a lot of criticism for the way they handled this:
- Scoot didn’t offer passengers hotel accommodation for the overnight delay
- Even worse, the way Scoot communicated with passengers seemed to be terrible, as they had a single contract worker at the gate to tell passengers to bugger off, even though Singapore is their hub
Here’s one of the videos which was posted of the near riot at the gate:
I felt bad for the passengers, though also felt bad for the single contract worker Scoot assigned to be the scapegoat.
Well, now that this story has gone sort of viral, Scoot’s CEO has addressed the situation on the airline’s Facebook page:
Scoot deeply regrets disruption to guests affected by the flight delays over the weekend. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to their travel plans.
The principal cause of the disruption was a technical fault experienced upon arrival of TZ220 at Hong Kong on Friday morning. Initial attempts to resolve the issue failed and, ultimately, a spare part and team of engineers had to be dispatched from Singapore.
With a small fleet and one aircraft out of action in Hong Kong a number of flights were rescheduled, including Saturday’s TZ8 from Singapore to Perth. During checks prior to this flight, a tyre issue was detected requiring a wheel to be changed, a process that took three hours. Regrettably, this new delay meant that the operating crew could not complete the flight in their legal duty time and were obliged to stand down but, because of earlier rescheduling of flights, no standby crew were available. Consequently, TZ8 was delayed overnight until a new, rested crew was available.
The safe operation of our airline is paramount and will not be compromised. Occasional technical issues nonetheless happen, to any airline, and the smaller the fleet, the larger the effect on schedules. As Scoot’s fleet grows from 6 to 11 aircraft this year our ability to absorb such events will significantly improve but, even so, Scoot is also reviewing the handling of these two flights to refine our processes and procedures.
As readers will be aware, Scoot has never shied away from the fact that low airfares come with a quid pro quo, which is that hotel accommodation is not assured in the rare event of disruption, and that travel insurance is highly recommended. These conditions are made known to and are acknowledged by every passenger at the time of booking. Notwithstanding, Scoot elected to provide hotel accommodation in Hong Kong to passengers on TZ221 and lounge access and F&B vouchers at Changi Airport to those on TZ8. Over the next 24 hours, Scoot will be reaching out to guests on the two affected flights with compensation vouchers over and above the Guest Promise stated on our website as an indication of our regret.
We again apologize to those affected, assure them that their safety was at the core of our actions at all times, and commit that we will learn from this experience.
Chief Executive Officer
First of all, kudos to the CEO for addressing the situation, even if it’s not exactly an apology he’s issuing. And I actually learned something new, as I hadn’t realized ultra-low cost carriers don’t take any responsibility for mechanical delays. Most airlines will cover hotels for you when there’s an overnight delay even if it’s not within their control.
How transparent is Scoot about explaining they don’t cover your hotel in the event of a flight cancellation?
As the CEO states, they do indeed have an upsell offer for travel insurance, as one of the 654 upsells you’re offered during the booking process.
But really the only reference to them not covering hotels is on the purchase page, where they list the terms and conditions.
That links to the contract of carriage, which in part reads as follows (bolding mine):
9.3 – DELAYED/ CANCELLED FLIGHTS (CONTROLLABLE CIRCUMSTANCES) In the event that a Scoot flight is delayed or cancelled less than 24 hours before departure, we will try our best to put you on the next available Scoot flight between the same origin and destination as soon as possible, at no additional cost. You may also be entitled to compensation per the Scoot Promise. Unless provided for in a Convention or applicable law, we will not be responsible for paying any costs or expenses you may incur as a result of the controllable delay or cancellation. We strongly recommend you carry comprehensive travel insurance throughout your travels.
So technically they are transparent about it, though only if you’re one of the people who reads the dozens of pages you agree to when you purchase airline tickets, including the contract of carriage, fare rules, etc.
Yes, I learned something here. I didn’t realize that airlines like Scoot don’t accommodate passengers in the event of mechanicals, and it sounds like most passengers didn’t know either.
But it doesn’t address what I see as the real failure in all this, which the CEO didn’t address. Scoot, at their hub in Singapore, sent a single contract worker to a gate after they had already been delayed all day to inform them they were out of luck. Whether you’re a low cost carrier or not, that’s not how you communicate with your passengers. Couldn’t they have sent an actual Scoot employee to clearly explain the situation to passengers? That person could have at least made an effort to explain that as part of being a low cost carrier and offering ultra low fares, these things aren’t covered.
I was infuriated when I saw the video, so I can only imagine how passengers felt. A little bit of communication goes a long way in that regard.
What do you make of Scoot’s CEO “apologizing?” And did you realize some low cost carriers don’t cover your hotels in the event of a mechanical delay?
(Tip of the hat to Jim)