SIA’s low-cost subsidiary Scoot has announced it will be launching flights from Singapore to London, with a three times weekly service from 16th December to 30th December for traffic over the peak holiday season, followed by a regular service from 22nd March 2022.
The flight will take advantage of “fifth freedom” traffic rights between Thailand and the UK, allowing Scoot to pick up and drop off new passengers in Bangkok who are solely flying to or from London, as well as carrying Singapore ⇄ London and Singapore ⇄ Bangkok travellers.
We previously tipped a London service earlier this year, after Scoot was granted takeoff and landing slots at Gatwick Airport for the winter season from 31st October 2021, though the airline didn’t initially use them.
We predicted a Phuket routing at the time, but Bangkok is close!
Fully vaccinated travellers can fly between the UK and Thailand with no quarantine, since 1st November 2021. A pre-departure test and on-arrival test is required, with the scheme open to those from 63 countries in total.
“In addition to being the sole low-cost carrier to operate non-stop flights between Bangkok and London, this will also be the airline’s first entry into the United Kingdom. Scoot’s service via Bangkok complements the existing non-stop services operated between Singapore and London Heathrow Airport by Scoot’s parent, Singapore Airlines.”Scoot
Low-cost carrier Norwegian previously offered non-stop flights from Singapore to London in September 2017, four times weekly. However, the service was axed in January 2019 due to low demand.
Scoot will presumably be hoping that routing via Bangkok will maximise its opportunity to be successful with these new flights.
London will be the airline’s third European destination, with services to Athens and Berlin already operating, including a recently launched “fifth freedom” flight between those two cities to tap quarantine-free travel from Greece to Germany and vice-versa.
Here’s how the flight schedule for these new Scoot flights looks during its late December 2021 operation, over a couple of weeks.
Scoot will use a Boeing 787-8 to operate this new service from 16th December 2021 to 30th December 2021.
Bangkok – London will be the airline’s second longest flight on the network, taking 13 hours (Singapore – Berlin is the longest at 14 hours 25 minutes).
Once the route starts to operate on a regular basis in the summer 2022 season, the following schedule is in effect:
Singapore Airlines will codeshare on the service as SQ8580 (TR750) and SQ8581 (TR751).
The airline has flagged “a further review and potential increase in frequency based on demand”, so we could see more options in due course, depending on how the bookings pan out.
For the budget-conscious traveller, a daytime flight on the way to London from either Singapore or Bangkok might not be too intolerable, especially in the ScootPlus cabin, though the flight departing London on its return to Asia operates overnight.
Initial fares on this route in December from Singapore to London start at S$1,000 return in Economy Class or around S$1,540 in ScootPlus.
Looking into 2022, when the route resurfaces on a permanent basis, slightly more competitive return fares start at around S$930 in Economy Class or around S$1,360 in ScootPlus, based on our initial searches.
Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)
It’s important to note these new London – Bangkok – Singapore flights will not be designated VTL services.
If you’re flying from Singapore to London and remaining in the ‘VTL Zone’ for 14 days or more, you have the option of taking this Scoot flight because your travel history will then be ‘cleansed’ in time for you to take a VTL flight non-stop back to Singapore.
However, using the TR751 service to fly from the UK to Singapore will mean following the Category 2 lane arrival requirements – 7 days SHN at home at the time of writing. This option is only available to Singapore residents.
Scoot is operating some VTL flights – from Berlin, Seoul, Sydney and Melbourne to Singapore. See our full list of designated VTL flights for details.
Unlike SIA’s London services, which serve the larger Heathrow Airport, these Scoot flights will operate to and from Gatwick Airport, 30 miles south of the city.
The airport is well connected to central London, with regular trains running from an integrated rail station at the South Terminal to London Victoria, London Bridge and London St. Pancras stations, taking 30-45 minutes.
According to GDS, Scoot’s flights will operate from Gatwick’s North Terminal, which is connected to the South Terminal and train station by a short monorail ride.
Earn but don’t burn
As you probably recall, you’ll earn some KrisFlyer miles based on the cash fare for your Scoot flight, which is always better than nothing.
On the redemption side, however, KrisFlyer works on a fixed value basis for offsetting Scoot cash fares at a terrible 0.95 Singapore cents per mile.
Our ‘golden rule’ when flying Scoot, therefore, is that you should be saving your precious KrisFlyer miles for their true value – a Singapore Airlines redemption – not a Scoot booking!
Scoot is certainly focusing on expanding into markets where it can take advantage of quarantine-free travel demand, including intra-Europe flights and a recent announcement that it will offer a designated VTL option between Seoul and Singapore starting next week.
This addition of a London service via Bangkok is perhaps its most ambitious yet, tapping demand predominantly between the UK and Thailand, while also offering a Singapore – Bangkok and Singapore – London option for the most price-conscious travellers.
“The progressive relaxation of international borders presents new opportunities for airlines and travelers alike. With the ability to now travel quarantine-free between the United Kingdom and Thailand, Scoot is excited to introduce the only low-cost option between Bangkok and London offering our unique combination of great value and great experience with a touch of Scootitude.”Campbell Wilson, CEO, Scoot
The schedule is a little unusual – operating for two weeks before taking a break until late March next year when the flights start in earnest – though this is likely designed to capture peak demand during the festive season.
Would you take a Scoot flight to or from London? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: Kevin via flickr)