My purpose of visiting Hat Yai this time was to ride on the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train with the 4-car Sprinter train set supposedly to run the service from 31 January 2018 (It got switched out about a week earlier than scheduled.), and opted to head there on the first weekend of operations (which turned out to be the second). With Scoot’s TR632 departure timing from Singapore at 6.10am and arriving into Hat Yai at 6.45am (both at local times), it was the perfect flight for me to get the connection to the first Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train in the morning to update RailTravel Station.
This is also my first A320 flight with Scoot ever since Scoot and Tigerair merged on 25 July 2017.
Changi Airport Terminal 2 has the last remaining Solari boards (those flippy letters thingy) still installed at the Departure Hall, with the rest in Terminal 1 replaced with multiple TV screens around the airport during the renovations years ago.
Check-in for all Scoot flights is at Rows 10 and 11.
I opted not to do my web check-in this time to see if I can chose my seats for free at the FAST check-in kiosks.
Good evening* to you too.
*Since my flight was at 6.10am and I didn’t want to wake up at 3am to get a taxi to the airport by 4am, I decided to get public transport to Changi Airport the night before and overnight inside the terminal again.
What? That was fast. And my seat is assigned automatically too, tapping on the seat icon or anywhere around the screen except for the “Next” button had no response as well.
I checked with a roving staff, and she mentioned that if I would like to change my seat, I have to take my boarding pass to the payment counter where it can be changed for a fee. Meh, no thanks.
My flimsy receipt-like boarding pass being printed out of the kiosk.
With no bags to check-in and my details satisfactorily verified, I needn’t get my boarding pass verified with a stamp and can head straight for departure immigration and the comforts of the Departure Transit Mall.
I headed over to the SATS Premier Lounge 1 in Terminal 1 to spend my night.
After the lounge visit and breakfast was done, it’s time to head over to my gate. I was buzzed by the iChangi app when I woke up that my flight was retimed 15 minutes earlier to 5.55am, so it was a quick breakfast and a brisk walk to my gate. Luckily, Gate E24 in Terminal 2 was a walking distance from Terminal 1 and no Skytrain ride was necessary.
Entering the boundaries of Terminal 2 with this old school sign still standing.
My boarding pass for this trip, with the stamp given by the security people just before entering the immigration area earlier this morning.
My retimed TR632 now departing 15 minutes earlier at 5.55am.
While the sign said “Boarding”, it wasn’t until about 3 minutes later before boarding actually commenced. As Gate E24 is a Multiple Aircraft Receiving Stand (MARS), boarding pass verification is done just only before boarding the aircraft.
With no response for passengers on the premium rows or BoardMeFirst, the staff announced for all remaining passengers to board the aircraft. Seems like a light load today.
9V-TAQ “Shiok Lah!” in the new Scoot colour scheme, ready for my flight to Hat Yai. As with the existing Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the repainted Scoot A320s (also known as #A320baes) from Tigerair are christened with their own individual name as well.
One of the last passengers to board the aircraft, with almost no one in front of me.
Wow, look at that space.
As a group of aunties decided to sprawl around the back of the aircraft already, taking up my assigned 29F seat, I happily abandoned my assigned seat and placed myself in an empty row instead.
Pushing back from the terminal.
The cabin lights were dimmed during taxi.
The legroom available on the Scoot A320. Not as generous as the Boeing 787s, but sufficient for a short flight of about an hour I guess. Wouldn’t want to be in this for a longer flight, say to Hong Kong or Taipei.
The strange strong presence of Silkair (and 1 Scoot) at Terminal 4.
After take-off, immigration cards for Thailand were handed out. This is a new design, probably launched this year.
The washroom on board the Scoot A320, with lots of tissues available.
The sunrise while flying over Kelantan, Malaysia.
Since I couldn’t really sleep with the limited recline (compared with the 787), I browsed through the February issue of the Scoot magazine instead.
Spent most of my time on this article on the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and Bangkok’s grand Hua Lamphong station.
On approach to Hat Yai.
Safely arrived at Hat Yai International Airport with the windows suddenly misting up. Must be pretty humid outside.
TR632 landed at 6.05am – a whole 40 minutes earlier than scheduled. It was as if Scoot knew that I had a tight connection to the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train and decided to fly me in earlier. Whoever said that budget airlines were always delayed from schedule?
And as with old people on flights, everyone stood up excitedly to exit the aircraft the moment it stopped. I decided to wait for like half a minute for the aircraft to clear before disembarking.
Heading downstairs for Thailand immigration.
Once done with immigration and retrieving your bags (if any), head outside to the public area of the airport terminal. However, head straight to exit the terminal and do not turn right like I did, which led nowhere out of the terminal. Did manage to use the washroom though.
The exit is straight ahead and a left turn later, following the signs.
The taxi stand is located outside.
There are two taxi counters available, however only one was in operation at 6.30 in the morning.
The taxi counters are located just outside the exit doors.
The ready taxis waiting for you.
The taxi driver requested for 250 Baht (~S$10.50) to get to the railway station. Since it was the stated price on the counter, was in a rush anyway to figure out the Songthaew or Tuk-Tuk system from the airport, and quite affordable for a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport (S$10.50 might be the metered fare the moment the taxi driver switches on the meter at Changi Airport during peak hours, and in Bangkok it’s about 400 Baht to the city), I agreed immediately and went off to go catch the Sprinter on the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train. He did offer me a rate of 800 Baht to get to Padang Besar directly though, which I politely refused since the train is the attraction for me.
Overall, the Scoot flight to Hat Yai was affordable, hassle-free and surprisingly landed way earlier than scheduled. I paid S$46.08 for this one-way flight which makes it $3.92 cheaper and way lot faster than getting a 12- to 14-hour long bus ride from Golden Mile at 7pm the night before.
If I can get the same great fares again, this would be my top choice to get into Hat Yai from Singapore.
The things you do to update your blog with the latest info, and in this case, for the photos of the 4-car sprinter. Plus the questions people still audaciously ask when you’ve laid it bare, sometimes even in bold, yet you still have the patience to spoonfeed those uncouth people. Man, you deserve more than just page views.
And for that, you have my thanks and appreciation, although it would amount to nothing, coming from a stranger like me. Still, kudos to you, man.
Thanks for your support!