Singapore Revisited Log 5.16: A 17 Hour Flight Delay

"Retimed to 1815" means 5 hours delay ... at first....
This incident will be great advertisement for companies selling travel insurance. When you are caught in a bad situation like that, you can't help it but feel a itching urge to slap the next person who gleefully tells you he or she always buy travel insurance, though no significant claims have been made. After all, who gets a 17 hours flight delay on every other day? Let's get this straight. No travel insurance was going to get me a plane to fly back to Perth today. There were passengers who were willing to pay any price to get back but there was simply no avaliable planes at a short notice.

Since everyone raved about Scoot and asked me to have a go, I did and had a great flight experience flying from Perth to Singapore. Little did I know I would be stranded at Changi Airport with no flight to return to Perth two weeks later. When we arrived at Changi, we were dismayed to see our 12.30pm flight had been pushed back to 6.15pm much later in the day. With a restless toddler around, every additional hour would be a challenge to any parent, much less 5 hours but we were prepared to bite the bullet and grind the hours through. At least we would still be on Perth soil before midnight. So we thought.

To our disappointment, at around 2pm, we were told to go to the "Transit E" area via the intercom. It was mayhem when we made our way there. The Scoot operations team was nowhere to be seen, while Changi airport staff were standing around without answers to questions thrown at them by disbelieving passengers.

Then we received a notification that the next available plane is 7am the next day, totalling the delay to 17 hours. Two Scoot girls meekly appeared and started issuing meals vouchers and informed annoyed passengers there would be no other compensations unless they had travel insurance. So we were caught between two unpleasant options. To participate in the mayhem of retrieving our luggage "by batches" with a single Scoot staff allocated for the purpose, and clear the customs to re-enter Singapore. Judging at how things were going, I would reach my place at 8pm or so at best. Then we would need to wake at 4am and lug over 50kg of luggage back to the airport to relive the 1 hour check in procedure we experienced earlier on. Or relish the potential of a rare enthralling experience of camping at Changi Airport with a toddler to save the trouble of travelling and save the unnecessary chore of handling luggage and an additional check in process.

While waiting, Albany fell asleep in an Airport pram we borrowed. We are waiting and discussing while keeping an eye on the development. I spotted a Hong Kong couple telling different staff they didnt know what to do and their son was sick. A few elder Aussie blokes shouting at an un-uniformed (Scoot?) staff. Unsettling murmurs echoed across the hall among the Caucasian crowd. I overheard a Chinese looking guy telling another he just wanted to go home. Meanwhile, the Changi Airport staff in red uniform began to scatter from the scene. One of the beautiful girl, fully qualified to be SIA stewardess by her demeanour, who was speaking to me earlier told me it was her first month at work and honestly did not know what to do at that moment, much less handle frantic consumers. At the corner of my eye, her smartly suited manager constantly on the phone apparently didn't know what to do either. The poor chap would be mopped for answers the moment that phonecall ended because every girl in red told the frantic passengers around their manager would be able to advise later. I whispered a silent prayer for that fellow Singaporean son that his phone wouldn't ring out in the middle of his long conversation.

Meanwhile little Albany sleeps on, oblivious of the fuss around her.


  1. You are lucky o get meal vouchers since there are budget airlines and there is really no reason except goodwill for them to supply you with anything unlike full service airlines.

    Tiger air and jetstar definitely do not give out vouchers since I had announcements stating that fact in airports when their flights are cancelled, telling them to read their term of carriage,

    Know this is not good for any cancellations but I cn tll you scoot is by far better than the other 2 jokers for budget service.

    If I am you I would consider forking out extra money to see if the airport hotel have special last minute deal, since the cost of taxi return can be quite close to the cost of a room to sleep. Of course I wouldn't consider doing it if I am lone but with a toddler, I rather her asleep than grumpy crying and sleepy

  2. Some travel insurance are quite useless and doesn't matter how expensive premium you pay you may not qualify. Some requires to be the citizen of Australia, some LAN LAN use rare clause to avoid payment (see NTUC Income and Great Eastern response to the unrest in central HK, saying they don't cover cancellation from unrest if Gahmen SG olredi issue travel warning before you buy travel insurance)

    Best to read prospectus carefully since some travel and health insurance do not cover much actual treatment cost in foreign country, they are only interested in getting you back to home country and then wash their hand off you and not interested in covering expenses of health treatment when you get home even when the injury is sustained during travel.

    Buyers beware

  3. I encountered the same type of delay with 2 toddlers in tow when my wife and I were "reporting" to Melbourne for our "first landing" after obtaining our Aussie PR. 100 kgs of check-in luggage, with probably 18 kgs carry-on, while flying Air-Asia (this is pre-Air Asia X days).

    Because we were transiting in KL, there was no option of going anywhere. We were firmly stuck in KL. And the delay wasn't long enough (less than 6 hrs) for us to claim any insurance (min 12 hrs) nor get any compensation from AirAsia (only if more than 8 hrs).

    To summarise, we eventually got to Melbourne 27 hrs after leaving home!

    Lesson learned: always fly direct - especially when you have kids in tow!

    1. hey roland, i m also a SG living in melboure. welcome mate. email me if u wanna to keep in touch