What is an interesting off-the-beaten track short getaway from Singapore? I searched through the budget carriers' websites and found Ipoh, which is small but interesting enough to occupy a weekend. Scoot operates two flights on my departure date.
Booking on their website was easy enough, just the typical beware of the various add-on's to uncheck. The all-in price of SGD 59 for one-way was quite decent given the last-minute booking, although I was surprised to see a SGD 10 processing fee that snuck in at the end.
Being a 10:25 departure, I didn't have to wake up excessively early to get to the airport. Even then, the subway line to the airport was operating at reduced hours due to maintenance throughout January anyway, so any earlier departure would have been problematic.
There wasn't a crowd at Scoot's aisles in Terminal 2 this morning. I got the boarding pass at the check-in kiosk fairly quickly.
Getting air-side was far quicker this time than my arrival in Singapore several days ago. I went straight to the windows for some plane spotting. Scoot with a Tiger tail might be a disappearing combination in the months ahead.
Terminal 2 is an old facility. The low ceilings scream old no matter how many renovations they make. While there are lots of shops and restaurants, there are also calmer areas to sit down and rest before your flight.
The new Terminal 4 opened recently and so far is not connected to the metro network, people mover, and seems a forgotten neighbour within Changi. To connect to a flight over there, there is a gate with shuttle bus service.
Despite all the automation and technology these days, the manual written sign triumphs for its simplicity.
My plane was already parked at the gate so it seems like an on-time departure this morning.
Security check takes place at each gate, so the seating area for the flight is secured. This makes plane spotting very difficult as the gate's windows are not publicly accessible anymore. No toilets are shops inside either so don't budget a ton of time sitting here.
Today's flight is operated by a Tiger tail aircraft. The leather seats looked a bit tired and legroom was tight, but it was endurable for a short flight and I got what I paid for. Note the leftover crumbs on the seats.
We pushed back on time with a healthy load of passengers. Flight attendants came along the aisle several times to thoroughly inspect everyone's compliance with safety requirements. It was much more serious than other discount carriers that I've been on. Announcements were full of the Scoot theme, including the flight deck's welcoming message as we "scooted" off to Ipoh. Flight time would be under an hour and the weather would be good today.
We took off towards the north with a good view of the airport's construction site.
For such a short flight, buying a meal on board is probably not necessary. Nevertheless, I scanned around the menu for some inspiration. Prices were not too bad and for a longer flight over a meal hour, I would be tempted to try.
Wifi was also available at a price, although you won't get reception over Chinese airspace. With so many destinations in China, buyer beware.
I've always wondered who would want to fly a budget carrier to buy a luxury or brand name duty-free item? The two don't seem to match up too well.
Soon, it was time to descend into Ipoh. These short flights go quick. The crew came around once again to do a thorough safety check.
The weatherr cleared out nicely as we descended. It would be a beautiful day in Ipoh - not too hot but warm enough to roast under the sun.
Ipoh airport looked quiet and deserted. We parked on the tarmac and stairs were attached to let us disembark. After a short walk, we entered the terminal where we bunched up in the small immigration area. The cheerful agents didn't work too quickly but everyone was more laid back and had a smile. No need to rush through here today.
I got online during the wait and just a few heads before my turn, I ordered an Uber for the ride into town. By the time I exited into the small and quiet terminal, the car had already arrived.
Scoot was surprisingly cheerful and decent for a budget carrier experience. The crew did their work diligently and the legroom was sufficient. The price is right and Ipoh is a manageable long weekend getaway.