I paid $18 to sit at the front of the plane on a one-hour flight. Now, the front-row seat is a luxury that I’ll always pay for.

  • I recently flew on Scoot, the second-best low-cost airline in the world. 
  • I paid a small $18 fee for a seat at the front of the plane, and it came with other perks.
  • Flying on budget airlines doesn’t always have to be an uncomfortable experience.

Scoot is the world’s second-best low-cost airline, according to the aviation-ranking site Skytrax.

A yellow-and-white aircraft at an airport.
A Scoot plane at Singapore Changi Airport. 

Scoot is a budget airline that’s a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, which was voted the best airline in the world this year according to the aviation-ranking company Skytrax. Scoot, too, has a reputation for providing a reliable experience for budget travelers. It’s one of the airlines I fly with the most, having lived in Singapore for over 20 years. 

Scoot flies from Changi Airport, Singapore, to 67 destinations such as Germany and Greece. I fly the airline’s shorter routes regularly, including the hourlong flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. When I took this flight in late June, I decided to pay for a seat at the front of the plane — and it turned out to be one of the most comfortable flights of my life. 

I paid 175 Singapore dollars, or about $130, for a one-way ticket to Kuala Lumpur. This included an $18 fee for a seat at the front of the plane.

People standing in a queue waiting to board a plane.
Boarding the Scoot flight was a fuss-free experience. 

Prices vary for this one-way route and can go as low as $56, but when I booked my ticket, it was one of the most expensive flights available. That day, a one-way ticket from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur was about $55 on other budget airlines such as the Malaysian carrier AirAsia and Jetstar, a subsidiary of Qantas Airways.

When I traveled on Scoot from Vietnam in April, I was assigned a seat in the last row of the plane. The experience was terrible, and I was determined never to be that uncomfortable on a flight again. For this flight, I decided to pay a bit more to sit in the front row of the plane, on what Scoot names “stretch seats.”

One of the biggest pros of choosing a front-row seat is that I got to board first, which meant I didn’t have to fight for space to stow my bag in the overhead compartment or rush to get through the bridge to board the plane.

The flight to Kuala Lumpur was delayed by 20 minutes, but boarding was still a seamless experience.

A photo inside a Scoot plane, showing rows of empty seats.
The seats weren’t the most spacious but were comfortable enough. 

Scoot has a generous carry-on allowance of 10 kilograms, or about 22 pounds, but I decided to check in my suitcase. I paid about $25 to check in my suitcase, so I only had a backpack on board with me. I felt so light and carefree, and that made the boarding experience even better. 

Changi Airport was named the best airport in the world this year by Skytrax, and it certainly lived up to the hype. Getting through security at the airport in Singapore was fast and easy, and the boarding gate was spacious, comfortable, and quiet, so the 20-minute delay didn’t bother me. 

As the flight was full, I was grateful to have booked a seat with ample legroom.

A photo showing the legroom in a front-row seat on a Scoot airplane.
Legroom on this short-haul Scoot flight was pretty huge. 

As Scoot was flying an Airbus A320 plane that day, the seats were small and cramped with only 28 inches of legroom. But my front-row seat measured 34 inches in legroom, which meant I had a lot of space to stretch my legs. 

In these front-row seats, passengers are required to stow bags up top, but I kept my laptop in the sleeve in front of me to prevent it from getting banged up. Service on my previous Scoot flights has been almost impeccable — and this flight was no different. A flight attendant helped me place my backpack in the compartment without me even asking, despite not being required to do so.

There was no meal service on board, as it was only a one-hour flight, but the food I’ve tried on other Scoot flights was tasty enough.

The Scoot menu.
The food options on board a Scoot flight. 

As it was a very short flight, there was no time for the cabin crew to pull out the carts and serve hot meals. Those who reserved meals were served water and some snacks. 

As I’ve flown on Scoot on longer-haul flights to places such as South Korea and Australia, I’ve sampled quite a few of the meal options on board, including black-pepper beef with rice and “oriental treasure rice,” which comprises baked chicken and sausage with braised rice. While these meals paled in comparison to AirAsia’s scrumptious offerings, they were still better than most food I’ve had on other budget airlines. 

I have found the meals to be a bit overpriced at SG$12 each, or about $9, so I suggest packing food in your carry-on rather than ordering the in-flight food on board.

Just 30 minutes into the flight, the pilot announced that we were landing soon. The best part of booking a seat was being able to choose a window seat with great views.

The view from the airplane showing meandering rivers.
The view from above en route to Kuala Lumpur. 

While the plane was cruising above Peninsular Malaysia, I had sights of meandering rivers, lush jungles, and an aerial view of clusters of traditional houses.

The only con of my seat was that I had to excuse myself whenever I used the lavatory, but thanks to the spacious legroom, it was no bother to the other passengers seated next to me. 

While the flight was turbulent, we landed in Kuala Lumpur without any problems. I was one of the first people to deplane and, as there was a bridge to connect the plane to the terminal, we didn’t have to take a bus, unlike some other flights that I’ve been on with budget airlines.

Overall, paying the $18 fee for a “stretch seat” was well worth it — and something that I plan to do when booking with budget airlines in the future.

The author takes a selfie from her front-row seat.
The author in her seat in the first row of the plane. 

While Scoot is already a great airline when it comes to low-cost flights across the region, a seat in the front row made flying an even more comfortable experience. At the very least, I don’t want to end up seated at the back of the plane, so now I’ll always pay a bit more to choose my seat — even if it’s not in the front row.

While seat selection fees can add up for people traveling on multiple flights or with big families, I think it’s a must-have when it comes to budget airlines, especially for longer-haul flights. Flying budget airlines can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t always have to be — and little things like where you sit on a plane make a big difference.

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