Flight Review – Scoot TR250: Singapore to Palembang by Airbus A319-100

Palembang is one of Scoot’s newest destinations, with flights that commenced in November 2017. However, it isn’t exactly a “new flight” from Singapore as this is actually a transfer of service from SilkAir over to Scoot using the same days and timeslots of departure. But hey, a switch over from a full-service carrier to a low-cost one with fares at a fraction of how they were previously? My wallet and I aren’t complaining.

Scoot TR250 from Singapore to Palembang on Saturdays departs at 11.05am with a rare Pokémon – this flight is operated by an Airbus A319 instead of the typical Airbus A320s.

If you haven’t checked-in or printed your boarding pass yet, you can do so at Terminal 2 Row 11.

However, as I checked in online and was eligible to Scoot-to-Gate, that was exactly where I was headed to.

Note: Don’t be a smart alec like me to be the first to check in 72 hours in advance as Scoot assigns seats for those who didn’t pay for assignments starting from the very back of the plane. Wait for at least 6 people to check in ahead of you to ensure that you don’t get your assigned seat in the very last row of the plane. Once checked in, you are unable to make any changes to your booking, including adding meals, baggage or even wanting to pay to change seats.

Heading for immigration clearance.

As my flight was departing from Gate D40, it was off on the Skytrain to Terminal 1. Guess Terminal 2 was full-up on gates, hence my flight got booted over.

Turn left at the end for the Skytrain. Do NOT follow the signs telling you to walk straight ahead to Gates D40-D42 – you’ll be walking the whole way from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1.

Solo T2-departure departing from T1.

The Skytrain to Terminal 1 approaching.

Heading off to Terminal 1.

The view of Jewel Changi Airport, an upcoming mixed-use development which will most importantly expand the passenger capacity on the landside of Terminal 1.

Once out of the Skytrain station, make a u-turn to the right for Gate D40.

Hmm… Only 1 security screening lane is open with no queues? Hope this will be a light flight.

Oh hello there. 9V-TRB is one of just two A319s in Scoot’s fleet.

*If you thought that the A320 was a small plane, the A319 is a shortened version of it.

Unfortunately, Gate D40 is a Multiple Aircraft Receiving Stand (MARS) gate, and as such, the view of the A319 was partially blocked by the nearer aerobridge.

All of Singapore Airlines’ flying subsidiaries in one picture.

Am empty gate hold room = a potentially empty and comfortable flight.

Boarding commenced about half an hour before the departure time.

Instead of rushing to BoardMeFirst (for those who actually went premium), I decided to board myself last so that I can just fit myself into hopefully an empty row of seats instead of rushing to get my actual non-reclinable last-row corner seat.

Walking down the empty aerobridge as I BoardedMeLast.

Hello A319.

Am empty aerobridge is a good sign.

The initial feeling when you board the plane is similar to the typical A320s, however, once you get to the middle of the plane, you’ll notice that there is only one emergency exit row over the wings.

Decided to plonk myself into an empty row of seats somewhere near the rear, but still not all the way at the back. True enough, there were people occupied all the way at the back.

The legroom available on the Scoot A319. Based on the seat alone, it is identical to the A320 seats.

Ready for pushback from Terminal 1.

The neatly-arranged items in the seat pocket. Guess this is the first flight of the day for this plane.

An empty flight is a happy flight.

Hmm, Pekanbaru soon? Unfortunately, there aren’t any trains there, so, sorry Scoot.

Taking off from Changi Airport with a Scoot A320 behind, still in the previous Tigerair livery.

Once up after the north-eastward take-off direction, it was a u-turn back south towards Indonesia.

Flying over Pulau Tekong.

Over at the washroom, it was the cleanest I’ve ever experienced on any budget airline – guess being the first passenger to use it on the day has its perks.

The fleet information of Scoot.

The newly-christened yellow #A320baes with their new names. Interestingly, this plane, 9V-TRB, is named Yellow Bae in this list despite being in a hybrid Tigerair-Scoot livery. (I tried finding the name printed on the side of the aircraft when I disembarked at Palembang, to no avail.)

Up at cruising altitude.

Entering Sumatra.

Flying over the Musi River.

The view of Ampera Bridge from the plane.

Flying over the upcoming Palembang LRT line with Asrama Haji (PDK) LRT Station ahead.

Touched down on Sumatran soil at Palembang Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport.

As the taxiway was under maintenance, the plane – I kid you not – had to u-turn on the runway to taxi back to the terminal building. I know it’s pretty common in small airports, but this is my first time actually experiencing it.

Heading back to the terminal on the runway.

The familiar Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air parked at the terminal.

Parked at Gate 2, probably because this is an international flight.

Bye A319.

And hello Palembang.

A look back at the rare A319 in Scoot’s fleet. Yup, no Yellow Bae written on the aircraft here.

Heading to the Arrival Hall.

The Arrival Hall is located through this glass door, with a security guy pointing out the way so as to not mix us with the rest of the domestic flights ahead.

Heading down for immigration and customs clearance. As there are not many international flights here, the immigration hall only had 3 counters (2 for Indonesians and 1 (!!!) for foreigners) which probably operate only whenever there are incoming flights.

Once out of the baggage reclaim area and customs screening, be aware of the many touts offering their “taxi” service – you shouldn’t get into any of their cars unless you’re 100% confident. If you need one, head over to the Blue Bird queue on the left of the terminal. If you do decide on ordering a Grab, the driver will wait for you at the car park as there seems to be a tense competition between the taxis/touts and Grab (ie. you may be berated should these people find out that you’re Grabbing).

Alternatively, just cross the road and get on the Trans Musi bus to the city. Trans Musi is the key public transport system currently in place in Palembang, with frequent departures just like a regular city bus service. Trans Musi Corridor 5 links the airport with Terminal Alang-Alang Lebar (AAL), where you can change to Corridor 1 to get to the city centre and Ampera.

Looks familiar? Trans Musi employs similar buses as other popular busway routes in Indonesia including Jakarta and Batam. The Ministry of Transportation (Kemenhub) probably mass-bought these buses and spread them all over the country for greater economies of scale.

Overall, Scoot was sufficient for a short no-frills 1-hour flight from Singapore to Palembang with good flight timings allowing for a simple 2-day weekend trip. A flight on the A319 was definitely an added bonus too. It certainly won’t be my last flight to Palembang just yet too, with the Palembang LRT coming up in August 2018.


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