AirAsia vs Scoot-Who is better LCC in Asia?

This post is due since long time- was in draft for several months, finally managed to complete and publish.

I had earlier compared full service airline Malindo Air with budget airline Air Asia. In this post, I am comparing Air Asia with its Singapore based rival, Scoot. This comparison is from an Indian passenger's perspective. I have flown multiple times on Air Asia so know their products n services fairly well, but have flown Scoot (when it was tiger air) only thrice, so my experience with Scoot is limited, but enough to do this comparison.
Air Asia X- now everyone can fly extra long!
Both AirAsia and Scoot are budget airlines, based in Asia and fly to a lot of destinations in South East Asia, Australia and few other destinations including US, Europe and Japan. At least two third of their destinations are common, meaning they both compete with each other to grab passengers headed for a destination. As a fare paying passenger which airline is better? Which one to choose? The decision often depends upon multiple factors- mainly ticket price, followed by secondary consideration such as convenient timings, cost of add-on services, facilities in the aircraft and at transit hub and general perception/reputation.

Though AirAsia and Scoot have similar operational models, there’re considerable differences when we dig a bit deeper. In this post, I am offering comparison on multiple grounds, to help you decide for yourself.

Comparison 1: General Aspects
#
Criteria
Air Asia
Scoot
Winner/Remarks
1
Frequency of sale/promos
Higher
Little less
AirAsia
2
Probability of finding lowest advertised fares
Higher
Much difficult
AirAsia
3
Ease of booking
Same
Same

4
Who charges less convenience fee
Very less for net banking
No net banking option
AirAsia
5
Ease of contacting support
Reasonable
No Toll free
Reasonable
Toll free
Scoot
6
Destinations covered
130+ across some 20 countries [Full list]
74+ across 20 countries [Full list]
AirAsia
7
Within India Operations
Yes
No
AirAsia
8
Hub
KLIA2, DMK
Changi
Scoot
9
Aircrafts
A320 and A330
737,  Dreamliner
Scoot
10
Reliability
Fair
Fair

11
Major accidents
1 full body loss, many minor incidents
No full body loss, less incidents
Scoot
12
Parent Company
-
Singapore Airline

13
Ease of getting visa for hub country
Easy (eNTRI, eVisa and one year multiple entry visa
Less easy- multiple entry visa/longer validity not guaranteed
AirAsia
14
Cities served in India
25+ 
11
AirAsia
15
Recent awards won
Skytrax multiple awards
Airline rating award
AirAsia
16
Partnership with
No codeshare outside AirAsia group
About 8 airlines
Scoot
17
Loyalty program
Available
Available (KrisFlyer)
Scoot
One main reason I like Air Asia is that when they advertise a promo sale, it is indeed possible to locate the advertised lowest fare on some days- usually towards the end dates of the promo period. So if they advertise a round trip ticket of say 8k INR, it is indeed possible to locate that fare and book.

Scoot on the other hand I find it very tough. They run lots of advertising campaigns, like promoting 5500 Rs ticket and so on. Like this one below.
But when I go to their website, search for various dates, I never find this lowest fare. There is no easy way of knowing from where to where this low fare is available, for what travel dates and so on. Without this info, it will be frustrating experience to search for multiple date combinations and still fail to locate advertised lowest fare. We are not fools to see the ad and then book at whatever high price Scoot shows on the website. The final price (including convenience fee) should be cheap enough (compared to competition and lower fares I have seen in past) to tempt me into booking. Scoot only loses advertisement money and increases frustration among prospective customers by not making it simple to spot and book low fares.

So far Scoot were showing all prices in USD, which would cost me additional expense in currency conversion, bank fees. Only recently Scoot has started accepting payment in INR. But unlike AirAsia, Scoot doesn’t accept net banking payment. Credit card payments attract heavy convenience fee. Thus overall I find Scoot a bit expensive and inconvenient compared to AirAsia. In AirAsia if I could find a ticket to Gold Coast for about 20700, the lowest I could find on Scoot is 24000+ (26k if I factor 2k convenience fee, currency conversion etc) that is easily 20% more expensive than Air Asia.

AirAsia shows price right inside date selector calendar, Scoot doesn't. They have a "See whole month" option though.

But Scoot connects via Changi, one of the best airports in the world. So transiting via Changi is much better than flying via KLIA2 that has bare minimum facilities. Plus Scoot’s fleet includes dreamliners, which are believed to be a bit better than A330. Scoot also has the support of its parent company Singapore Airline, so in case of a problem they could get some support (like Engineering/alternate flights etc)

While Scoot flies to Athens in Europe and lots of secondary cities in Australia (Hobart, Sunshine Coast etc) Scoot seem to be skipping many countries in South East Asia like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Brunei, Srilanka and so on (where AirAsia has coverage). Also for some destinations like Seoul where AirAsia flies non stop, Scoot flies one stop (via Taiwan). Scoot's network coverage is about half that of AirAsia.

Now let us see who is cheaper, for various sectors and add-on services
Comparison 2: Who is cheaper?
#
Criteria
Air Asia
Scoot
Winner/Remarks
1
Chennai Bali Return, 3 months from now
INR 16776
INR 22342
AirAsia
2
20 kg baggage for Chennai-Bali trip
INR 4510
INR 6145
AirAsia
3
Cost of One meal
INR 192 onwards (higher price for AirAsia X, 4x on Honolulu)
INR 945 to 1155, but same price on all routes
AirAsia
4
Chennai-Gold Coast Return- 5 to 6 months from now (Economy)
28744 INR
INR 35736
AirAsia
5
Cost of 40 kg bag for Australia trip
15100 INR
16000 INR
AirAsia
6
Chennai- Gold Coast Business class return (Scoot Biz, AA Flatbed)
1.1 Lakhs INR
87000 INR
(but not flatbed)
Not comparable due to difference in features
7
Cheapest Seat selection fee (for MAA-KUL or MAA-SIN)
INR 159 (can be skipped) to INR 749
INR 545 to 2625 (can be skipped)
AirAsia
8
Travel Insurance (MAA-DPS)
INR 364


9
Convenience fee
210 for net banking, 840 for Credit Cards
INR 2016
0
AirAsia
Scoot, as it has removed convenience fee from Oct 2019
10
Payment in INR
Possible
Possible
for ex-India tickets
11
Does website pre-select some add on/expensive option and we’ve to de-select?
At times
At times

12
Inflight WiFi

INR 400+

13
Inflight magazine
Travel 3Sixty- Very good
Unable to comment

14
Lowest price I’ve ever seen for Chennai-Gold Coast
20700+ INR
26000+ INR
AirAsia
15
Web Check-in
14 days
3 days
AirAisa
16
In-flight entertainment
Rokki,(streaming) on select flights
Scoot TV on dreamliners

17
Possibility of upgrade
Low
Low

18
Comfort Kit

INR 900+

19
Priority Boarding
NA
INR 300
Scoot
20
Lounge Access
INR 1300 for 3 hours
INR 2000
AirAsia
As you can see AirAsia is usually cheaper in all aspects- fare, add-on services, mandatory convenience fee and so on. Unless you're very particular on date of travel, it is possible to wait for an AirAsia sale and fly for much cheaper fares- main reason I like AirAsia. As much as wish to try flying more on Scoot,higher fares and higher add-on fees are a big deterrent.

In terms of flying experience both have been decent. We shouldn’t expect to be treated like Emirates or SQ passengers. Both Air Asia and Scoot will fly us to our destination for lowest possible price. Everything else is chargeable- as you can see above, baggage, food etc are a bit cheaper on AirAsia compared to Scoot. In-flight service is decent by LCC standards- I don’t have any complaints.

In terms of reliability, AirAsia is does change flight timings and cancels them quite often- particularly when tickets are booked years in advance, very high chance that something will change. So far it hasn't caused extreme inconvenience- often gives me an option to take refund or reschedule free of cost on my otherwise non-refundable ticket. With Scoot all 3 of my flights were on time- haven't tracked more how friendly/flexible they are when a flight is rescheduled/cancelled.

I haven't had an opportunity to try Scoot's loyalty program or experience their customer support during a service disruption or having to avail refund. So no comments yet.

Don't have any major complaints on Air Asia, except their refund process is unnecessarily complicated and loyalty program is practically useless for me [Review]

Have you flown both Air Asia and Scoot recently? Which one do you prefer? Why? Let us know in comments.

In summary, over 37 points assessed, AirAsia seems to be better over 18 points, Scoot on 7 and remaining 12 undecided/similar.
#
Airline
Pros
Cons
1
AirAsia
Lower fares than competition
Better network, timings
Hub Airport not as good as Changi
2
Scoot
Better Aircrafts
Better hub airport
Can’t pay by netbanking, credit card convenience fee very high
Add-ons are relatively expensive
Lowest fares hard to find
My Wish-list for Scoot:
  • When you advertise a low fare, make it easy to find (on what dates etc)
  • Add-on services, convenience fee much higher than competition- possible to revive? (update: this has been removed effective October 2019)
  • Try to match AirAsia's fares, if not cheaper
My Wish-list for AirAsia
  • Make refund process easier
  • Give some loyalty points on Promo fares as well or give some useful benefits for Gold/Platinum/Black members (such as lounge access, priority boarding, free upgrade etc)
Disclaimer: All information as taken from respective airline websites at the time of preparing this post. Pricing information is very dynamic- please check for yourself for date, origin and destination you have in mind and decide.

Similar: KLIA 1 vs KLIA 2 * AirAsia flight cancelled after boarding- experience * AirAsia Big sale- 10 things to knowAirAsia long haul flight to Auckland experience

10 comments:

  1. Good comparison done! It's very useful. Haven't flown with Scoot. Have flown with AirAsia once to Australia, but it wasn't a great experience. I don't think their aircraft is suitable for long journeys. And, I don't think AirAsia is cheap, because you end up paying a lot for the baggage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience- even Scoot charges for bag and their rates are higher than air Asia.
      So unless you get good deal with full service airlines like Malaysia or SQ or Cathay, baggage will cost extra.

      Delete
  2. An interesting comparison. Having flown both, honestly did not find too much of a difference. However, when you put it on paper, Air Asia does score a little higher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Service wise both could be similar- price makes a major difference.

      Delete
  3. flown both airlines many times from australia gold coast and return.prefer much more air asia,just compare the bussines class and again air asia is much better with flatbed etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have noticed that. Scoot Biz is a bit cheaper but not flat bed.

      Delete
  4. Nicely-written comparison. Thank you for sharing this, it has been very helpful Shrinidhi.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have to be more active for looking for that cheap fares! I just pay whatever is lowest at the point I am booking usually 3-4 months in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hehe, check with me, I will help you save 50% so that you can take me along with the money saved :)

      Delete

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