Review: Scoot's Boeing 787-9 'ScootBiz' business class seats

By Chris Chamberlin, February 2 2015
Review: Scoot's Boeing 787-9 'ScootBiz' business class seats

Australian Business Traveller was invited on the delivery flight of Scoot’s first Boeing 787, and we've got the world’s first review of Scoot's latest ‘ScootBiz’ business class seats aboard the Dreamliner.

While Singapore Airlines' offshoot Scoot is undeniably a low-cost airline, this doesn't mean its planes are packed with economy seats from tip to tail.

ScootBiz is Scoot's business class cabin, and in the Boeing 787 it spans 35 seats in a 2-3-2 layout at the very front of the plane.

It also challenges the notion of what 'business class' really means.

Let's be clear on this: ScootBiz is not in the same league as the business class on full service airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand or just about any other airline you'd care to name.

Scoot's yardstick is more realistically the premium economy cabins of those airlines; the 'premium' cabin of low-cost competitors such as Air Asia X; or what business class used to be like some two decades ago.

Each ScootBiz seat on the Boeing 787 includes an adjustable headrest and a sizeable armrest between every passenger.

There's AC power for every passenger and the universal sockets accept Australian pins without requiring an adapter.

Each group of seats can provide up to 250W of total power, so if you’ve packed a large, power-hungry laptop, avoid the middle set of three…

… and instead aim for a twosome on either side of the aircraft:

This means there's more juice to be shared between the two seats, which reduces your chances of tripping the power supply and being unable to charge up your laptop in flight.

Disappointingly there are no USB sockets – something we rate as a major oversight considering how many travellers bring a smartphone or tablet on board but might not care to carry the device's AC charger.

Wherever you’re sitting in ScootBiz, you’ll have 22 inches of space between the armrests and 38 from headrest to headrest (also known as 'pitch'), which makes legroom more than adequate:

But you can forget about an angled or fully flat bed – that's not what ScootBiz is about.

All seats – even those in the back row of ScootBiz with the bulkhead behind – can recline up to 8 inches, which is once again on par with most airlines' premium economy. 

To top things off, there’s an extendable leg rest (most visible in this PR-supplied shot below) to help you snooze on long overnight flights.

You’ll find the seat controls at the end of the armrest…

… while the flight attendant call bell and switches for the reading light are at the side of the seat:

There's also a single seat pocket in which to store all of your kit...

... although the space next to the seat doesn't pack in a pocket.

Scoot’s Boeing 787 ScootBiz: inflight entertainment

Rather than offering seatback entertainment screens as you’d typically find on most international airlines, Scoot beams movies and TV shows to travellers’ own smartphones, tablets and laptops.

It’s a similar concept to Qantas’ Q Streaming and Virgin Australia’s BoardConnect systems, although wasn’t available on our delivery flight from Boeing’s Everett factory in Washington.

Scoot's Dreamliners also boast satellite-fed inflight wireless Internet access.

The top speed – which we achieved early in the flight by being the only passenger connected to the network – came in at 6.59Mbps for download, with uploads at 0.09Mbps and pings of 808ms. That's on par with satellite Internet services.

But as other passengers began to connect the speeds dropped noticeably.

By the time we had 40 passengers online at the same time download speeds dropped to a mere 0.35Mbps with uploads at 0.01Mbps – making the connection almost unusable.

Pricing starts at US$11.95 for one hour through to US$16.95 for three hours and US$21.95 for a 24-hour pass that includes Internet access on any onward Scoot flight where Wi-Fi is available – a significantly better deal than airlines that charge per megabyte rather than per minute.

Scoot’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner: the comfort factor

Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or fly just once a year, the first thing you’ll notice is just how quiet the Dreamliner is.

If you’ve worn active noise-cancelling headphones on older generation aircraft such as the Boeing 747-400 or the Airbus A330, that near-silence you enjoy with the headphones on is what passengers can now expect with their headphones off.

The cabin is also pressurised at a lower 6,000 feet as opposed to the typical 8,000 feet, which means there’s a little more moisture in their air.

Having taken countless journeys of similar length aboard older Boeing 777 aircraft, I’d noticed that my skin would always dry out after four or so hours in the air unless I’d moisturised beforehand.

Yet on the Dreamliner, my skin still felt soft and fresh closer to landing – certainly a welcome change and subtle improvement to the overall experience, aided further by the adjustable mood lighting in the cabin:

That said, the lack of personal (adjustable) air vents did make it somewhat harder to get comfortable, and as leather seats don’t breathe particularly well, the two aren’t a good mix on ultra-long flights – but should be comfortable enough for shorter hops such as from Australia to Singapore.

As with other Dreamliners the 'electrochromic' tinting of these very large windows lets you make things darker or lighter at the touch of a button rather than fumbling with a manual shade.

Transitioning from fully-bright (‘open’) to 99.9% dark ('closed') takes roughly two minutes, so be patient.

Scoot’s Boeing 787 ScootBiz: the verdict

ScootBiz isn’t your typical ‘business class’, but it doesn’t pretend to be.

It’s more akin to either domestic business class or international premium economy, filling the gap for travellers looking for a little extra comfort on their journey yet without the hefty price tag.

And what you pay for ScootBiz can be quite competitive, which drives its appeal to business travellers on a budget.

However, the lack of seatback inflight entertainment is particularly noticeable at meal times when there’s nowhere to stash your iPad, and on overnight flights where you’ll have to balance your tablet on your meal tray as you try to rest and hope that it doesn’t fall to the floor.

There also aren’t any airport lounges available to ScootBiz passengers outside of Singapore – so while travellers can shower and relax before Scoot’s overnight flights to Australia, the same isn’t true on the return.

That’s easily overcome for Sydneysiders that hold an eligible Platinum, Black or Centurion AMEX card and who can access the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport regardless of the airline they’re travelling with, although that option isn’t one for everybody.

But lounges and entertainment aside, when one-way ScootBiz flights from Sydney to Singapore can often be found for A$399, there’s not much to complain about when you’re paying the price of an economy airfare for a premium and business-friendly experience.

Scoot’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner will fly its first paying customers on February 5 between Singapore and Perth and will be introduced on all Scoot flights to Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast throughout this year.

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Scoot and Boeing.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter:  we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

For a short flight this is good who needs fully flat from hong kong to Singapore but Sydney isn't that great but hey it's low cost 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

SIN-HKG is a redeye!

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

Oh god mabye not then 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Look at the schedules. SIN-HKG (TZ220) leaves at 0155 and arrives at 0515.

14 Feb 2012

Total posts 37

Ok...we're not exactly comparing apples with apples here. I just did some price comparison for June 8th one way Singapore to Hong Kong (all in SGD)

Cathay Pacific

Economy $408 (no refundable)

Premium Economy $2,356 (flexi)

Business $2,824 (flexi)

Scoot

Economy $166 (fly, bag, eat, non refundable)

Scoot Biz $239 (non fundable)

So in summary Scott Biz is 10% of Cathay Pacific Business so can't be compared and 50% of Cathay Economy, the question is, on a red eye would you rather be in Cathay Economy 32" pitch and 18.5" wide seat or a Scoot Biz 38" pitch and 22" wide seat having enough left over for your first night accommodation.

Of course this depends on what you are trying to achieve with your frequent flyer status and whether you are actually paying or not. For my money I would take the Scoot Biz every time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Don't get me wrong, it's a great value proposition and very attractive to a lot of potential customers in Southeast Asia; even though people have more disposable income these days, a lot of flyers can afford either LCC or no trip at all.

But the timing is awful and bizarre; it's not like ex-SIN redeye slots are super-cheap due to low traffic at that time of day.

14 Feb 2012

Total posts 37

Fair enough and I agree, the timing is terrible.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Their TPE flight is equally offensive.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

And of course, generally speaking if it's out of your own pocket, you would never spend a lot extra just for frequent flyer status.

If it's with the business however, of course!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jun 2013

Total posts 367

This is better than British Airways Euro Business class used for Europe.

14 Feb 2012

Total posts 37

Agreed

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Given that Jetstar and Scoot both fly a Dreamliner with a "Business" cabin in 2-3-2 configuration, it seems the most relevant comparison for Australian flyers will be Jetstar International. Judging from the pricing mentioned above, Scoot certainly is keenly priced in their Biz.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Going off Seatguru, it seems seat width will be more generous in Scoot Biz than Jetstar Starclass (22" to 19"), with pitch the same between the two.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

yes because jetstar charge extortionate prices for their 'business class' and have 2-4-2 (original JAL/ANA economy layout for first 787s) whereas scoot are cheaper and have 2-3-2 seating...i know who i'd rather fly from Aus to SIN

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

JQ's one is also 2-3-2 in StarClass.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

so it does, I just assumed that it was 2-4-2 since the seats are only 19inch wide, but that still doesn't change the fact that star class is a rip off compared to scootbiz.  Using MEL-SIN in october as an example I could go singapore airlines economy with 19inch width and heaps better service, and get exit row with way more than 38inch and it would cost me $900.  To go star class that costs $1600 and you dont earn miles.  To go Scootbiz (from Sydney, since melb not available in Oct) costs $1k.  So straight away its less than 2 thirds the price for the same size seat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Chris, I've given this another deep read and I notice you haven't talked much about how comfortable the seat is to actually try to sleep in. Given that a lot of Scoot flights are redeyes, I think this is an important area to explore.

Sooooooo... did you actually get any sleep on the flight? :P

Watson – for most of this flight I was burning the midnight oil to be the first with a review, so the aircraft left the gate at 10:30pm local time in Seattle, and I'd published it around 8.5 hours later using the inflight Wi-Fi.

After that I nodded off, slept through the transit in Osaka aside from waking briefly when the new crew members were checking which bag belongs to which passenger (security procedure as we didn't have to exit and re-board), and then fell straight back to sleep and woke again a few hours before landing in Singapore (the first leg being a ~10hr flight, the stopover at ~1.5hrs and the second leg being ~7 hours).

So I spent longer in the seat than passengers would on the world's longest flight by distance (Sydney-Dallas), and while I didn't get a full eight-hour sleep as I hadn't tried to, any time I wanted to catch up on some rest, I was able to.

We landed in Singapore in the morning and I had a day use hotel room booked to sleep during the day, but I felt energised enough to go our for lunch in Singapore and skipped the nap altogether.

Of course, it's no fully-flat bed, but hopefully that helps?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

I'd be interested to see how it compares to SQ's new PE seat...for routes like SYD-SIN at maybe 10% more cost than SQ's standard eco, scootbiz is clearly more value for money than spending 50-100% extra for SQ's PE.

elchriss0 – Singapore Airlines' premium economy seat doesn't take its first passenger flight until August, so any comparison we could do at this point would be rather limited and wouldn't speak to the seat's comfort.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

oh yea but i was meant was that maybe a comparison could something to do later in the year, once you've experience both

Ahh, gotcha – nice idea if we also get the chance to try out SQ's new seat!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I think that helps a lot! Thanks, Chris!

01 Apr 2015

Total posts 1

First up Scooter is my nickname, I don't work for Scoot :-) Great review, just got back to Sydney after 4 flights with Scoot in Scootbiz. I had two red-eye legs SIN - HKG and SIN - SYD. Now I'm a tall bloke so the first thing you appreciate is the legroom and the new Dreamliners are great. It's obviously a standard fit out but for the price you can't beat it. The meals are ok, I upgraded to a premium meal ($4) which between SIN and HKG was a more traditional Asian meal. I love prawns but struggle having them early in the morning with egg, potato and dim sims, a mate told me I just need to harden up :-)

The other positive were the crew, possibly the best on any budget airline I've flown. Very helpful and friendly. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Feb 2011

Total posts 54

Scoot need up the price in business class and dump the middle seat and increase the leg room

looking at Singapore business class on a 10 hour flight your not going to want a Scoot seat!

13 Apr 2015

Total posts 1

Hi, does anyone know if there are bassinets available in Scoot Biz on this aircraft? Thanks

D_C
D_C

03 Mar 2015

Total posts 15

Probably a bit late but no there aren't.  Baby has to be on you at all times.  I'll find out how that goes in December.

Chris,

what would be your recommendation for seats? Are you going to publish a guide for Scoot's 789's?

 

Cheers

 

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 42

Best seats by far are in the first row, you get alot more legroom that the other rows. Seat being fully leather does not breathe well and i found myself a bit hot and sticky throughout the flight. Where scoot is falling short is the food offering, those meals they serve where you try to peel the plastic back and it breaks meaning you need to use your knife to cut the rest off, these meals are terrible, im talking scoot biz btw. IFE im not concerned about as i stream to my laptop however it does cut out a few times. Overall for what you pay i believe you are getting the best value at the moment of any carrier, its a brand new fleet also so no one else can boast about the age of their fleet like scoot can.

26 Nov 2016

Total posts 1

Does the Scoot Biz get their own toilets? I think a lot of other airlines premium economy still have to share the economy section toilets?


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Review: Scoot's Boeing 787-9 'ScootBiz' business class seats