Scoot, of all airlines, must now understand the saying, "When it rains, it pours".
In its second serious flight delay in two days, hundreds of passengers at Changi Airport were left fuming on Saturday after their flight, which was supposed to depart for Perth at 12:30pm, was delayed multiple times and finally rescheduled to 21 June, 9am (Sunday).
Mothership.sg understands from passengers of flight TZ8 that on Friday night, they were informed by email that their flight was delayed three hours and was scheduled to depart at 3:45pm. After checking in at about 1:30pm onwards, they still found themselves boarding their plane twice on Saturday, and after waiting more than an hour each time in their seats, were told to exit.
On the first occasion, passengers were told that engineers discovered, at the eleventh hour, that the jet's tyres were too worn out to fly and so had to be replaced.
"This was the first time any explanation for the delay was given to us," said a passenger who wanted to be known as J Tan. "By this point, people were already screaming at ground staff, who didn't have anything of value to share with us."
The passengers were then herded out of the departure lounge and sent for dinner at the food court, where they were granted a free meal by flashing their boarding passes. They re-boarded at about 7:15pm, only to be told roughly an hour later first that air traffic was "very busy", and even later after that that the flight's crew had "breached their permitted aviation work hours", and so could only fly again at 9am the next day after a mandatory 12-hour rest period.
You can imagine the chaos that ensued, but you don't have to, because part of it is captured in this video:
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The above clip, taken and shared by an irate passenger from the flight, shows chaotic scenes in the departure lounge where passengers shouted at a member of staff who said he was a handling agent for the flight, and not part of the airline itself.
In the video, the man is seen addressing passengers with a loudhailer and urging them to leave feedback for Scoot on its website.
"(The handling agent) didn't sound like he knew what he was talking about at all," said Tan, who was supposed to meet up with her friends in Perth over the weekend before spending a week there with her fiancé. "He seemed to be reading off a script, and that provided no comfort to the passengers.
"For an airline headquartered in Singapore, it was just retarded that they couldn't even be bothered to send any of their own staff, or anyone with authority to make decisions to help us," she continued. "There was no commitment to any specific departure time, even for tomorrow — all he kept saying was 'see you at about 7, 7:30 tomorrow'."
Earlier Saturday, local media reported that there was a more-than-24-hour delay for passengers on flight TZ221 from Hong Kong to Singapore.
It was due to leave on Friday at 7:10am, but ended up, according to the budget carrier in a statement posted at 1:15pm Saturday, scheduled for departure at 7pm.
Comments from TZ 221 passengers on the airline's most recent status on the matter appear to show that they were checked into hotels overnight, but no such arrangement was made for the TZ 8 passengers.
Tan told Mothership.sg that before she and her fiancé left the airport at 10pm, close to nine hours after they first checked in, around 150 to 200 passengers were still in the area, screaming at the handling agent and questioning the disparity in treatment between them and the passengers who were stranded in Hong Kong.
"All he would say in response was to repeat that Scoot's policy is that they won't provide hotels or transportation, and we have to find our own way until the next flight departs," she said. "It was a riot in there, absolute chaos ... it was very, very poorly managed."
Mothership.sg understands that the passengers' sole compensation was a $50 travel voucher for their next trip on Scoot.
"(Those of us who were Singaporean) were saying among ourselves how embarrassed we feel that the subsidiary of our national carrier is handling this situation in such a poor manner," she said. "As for me, I'm never flying by budget (airlines) ever again."
Silence from Scoot as frustrated passengers left comments on its FB page
Frustrated TZ 8 passengers left comments on its Facebook over the past six hours, with no response from its social media savvy Facebook page. According to Marketing Interactive, Scoot appointed Publicis as its social media agency in 2014.
Here we append a sample of the comments:
Let's hope your plane departs on time if you are flying with Scoot!
Read our coverage of Scoot's response to the flight delay here.
Top photo courtesy of J Tan.