SIA’s low-cost carrier Scoot has revealed a new in-flight portal, ScootHub, which will mean ordering food and drink, buying duty-free shopping and even playing games or checking the flight progress map on your mobile device, in a ‘new normal’ of reduced crew interaction after COVID-19.
The new system, said to be the first of its kind in the region, will also mean a shift from printed menus and in-flight magazines at each seat to a fully digital solution, saving the airline 156 tonnes of paper annually.
The technology will also allow Scoot to resume its buy-on-board activities in phases from December 2020, currently suspended due to COVID-19 precautions.
“We know that health and safety are top of customers’ minds these days, and that regulatory requirements have changed the inflight experience.
“ScootHub enables us to resume valued services in a safe, low-touch manner, improving customers’ experiences and – through reduction in paper-based collaterals – improving our environmental sustainability too.”Campbell Wilson, CEO, Scoot
How it works
All you’ll need to use the ScootHub system is a (relatively up-to-date) mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
You’ll be able to access ScootHub by scanning a QR code on the seat back, or connect to the “ScootHub” Wi-Fi network.
Note that ScootHub does not provide internet access, which is only available as a paid extra on Scoot’s Boeing 787 aircraft.
Once you’re connected, a range of features will be available.
The primary function of ScootHub is F&B ordering, with the portal replacing the cabin crew’s usual trip down the aisle with the drinks cart.
Food and beverages including hot meal combos, snacks, hot drinks, soft drinks and liquors can be ordered, and payment made via credit card, on this tab. Cabin crew will be alerted via their fulfilment device once orders have been placed, and food will be served within 20 minutes to customers at their seats.Scoot
Unfortunately credit card payment via the portal isn’t quite ready yet, so for the time being payment for food and beverages will still need to be made physically by credit card to the cabin crew.
Scoot aims to have credit card payment via the portal up and running by the end of March 2021.
Purchasing duty-free items on a Scoot flight was previously a case of waiting for the specific timing of the service.
The benefit of this new ScootHub system is that customers can not only browse the selection at any time, they can place their order at any time too.
Payment can be made via credit card on the portal, and cabin crew will then deliver the purchases to customers.
Scoot is also planning to improve the range of inflight duty-free shopping items, and by the end of June 2021, customers will be able to access KrisShop.com’s full range of items and home delivery options via ScootHub.
If you’re flying on a Scoot Boeing 787, you’ll also be able to purchase in-seat power directly using ScootHub, to charge your devices during the flight.
Onboard seat upgrades, currently suspended to facilitate contact tracing, will be enabled in a subsequent phase.
Replacing Scoot’s physical inflight magazines, What’s On allows you to pass some time reading up on the usual ‘travel and lifestyle’ content, however this will also take on a new function as a sales channel next year.
From April 2021, you’ll be able to purchase ground attractions and experiences while inflight.
For example, if a traveller is flying from Singapore to Melbourne, recommendations on where they can visit or dine in Melbourne will be available for purchase onboard and synced upon arrival, allowing them to immediately head to the attraction or restaurant after clearing immigration.Scoot
ScootHub includes a live map function, where you’ll be able to view real time flight progress like you would on a fixed in-flight entertainment screen with a full-service carrier.
By the end of next year, Scoot also plans for travel and hospitality brands to “offer relevant content to travellers through realtime geo-positioning on the map”.
One benefit of the technology is being able to immediately gauge customer perception, so of course Scoot wants feedback on your inflight experience on the spot, while it’s still fresh in your mind.
This feature will also be used for other companies to conduct market surveys “so that they can better understand customers’ travel habits and consumption patterns”.
In return for participating, you’ll get immediate incentives such as free drinks or snacks from the Scoot Café menu.
Don’t expect a PlayStation 5-style experience through your own device on your next Scoot flight, but a basic Games function will be available on ScootHub.
To keep the young and young at heart entertained during their flights, a myriad of games are also available on the portal, ranging from colouring activities and puzzles, to fun-packed adventures and brain teasers.Scoot
Here’s a promotional video the airline has released, showing how ScootHub works.
The ‘new normal’ after COVID-19 will mean we can expect to see more digital initiatives like this from the airlines, in line with future customer expectations.
These also save on environmentally-damaging aspects like paper, printing costs and weight.
There’s no doubt that ScootHub is also being angled to increase revenue for the airline, through functions like KrisShop home delivery ordering, third-party customer polls and attraction or experience bookings for your destination.
That’s the nature of the low-cost carrier business model though, with ancillary revenue streams like these key to boosting the bottom line.
Fundamentally of course, ScootHub’s primary function is for at-seat F&B ordering, which you can now do at any time during the flight. That seems like a big advantage to us.
(Cover Photo: Scoot)