Communication and compassion are key when there are extensive flight delays.
As one of the passengers on the delayed Scoot flight that returned to Singapore two days later than expected, I would like to make some suggestions on how Scoot could have better managed the delay (Scoot passengers back in S'pore 2 days after delay in Taipei; Jan 2).
Just compare how Scoot handled this situation with how Singapore Airlines (SIA) handled multiple delays on its outbound flight to Manila last August. There are stark differences between the two.
• Airlines should always provide frequent and clear updates to all passengers. In Taipei, Scoot did not adhere to briefing timings, leading passengers to crowd around ground staff for information. On both days, passengers had to ask staff questions individually and circulate information among themselves. On the contrary, SIA delivered clear and frequent updates.
• Airlines should offer support to secure accommodation for passengers. In Taipei, Scoot made an announcement that it will reimburse passengers for their accommodation bookings, excluding suites. No further support was given to passengers. SIA, on the other hand, provided one-on-one instructions to passengers regarding their accommodation during the delay.
• Small snacks should be provided. While Scoot issued multiple meal vouchers, given that only two food outlets were nearest to the boarding gate, there were snaking queues and often, food was sold out. SIA served sandwiches, muffins and drinks at the boarding gate.
• Airlines should provide timely follow-up reimbursement and insurance claim information. Scoot provided a letter for insurance claims for the first re-timed flight upon check-in, but not for the second re-timed flight. Upon disembarkation in Singapore, passengers were given a letter on instructions for reimbursement claims. However, the letter simply directed passengers to Scoot's Facebook page or online contact form, which are both too generic to ensure timely responses. Last year, SIA handed out a flight delay survey to all passengers. I understand that safety is of utmost importance to Scoot, and I commend the pilots' thorough checks and insistence on not taking off on a faulty aircraft.
However, Scoot needs to re-evaluate its crisis management procedures.
Stacy Wong (Ms)