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    Being stranded for more than 24 hours in a city because of a technical problems with the plane can be exasperating for most travellers.

    But not getting accommodation or food can be a more agonising experience, especially for a hungry and tired traveller in a strange land after waiting out for hours.

    And just when you thought you would finally be taking off after the trying experiences of the previous day, there's yet another delay - and another. 

    This is just what passengers booked on Scoot flight TR1 had to suffer in Sydney over the weekend. 

    After waiting to board the Singapore-bound plane at 12.30pm on Saturday (Sept 30), the 234 passengers had to wait for another one hour in the first delay. Another three hours later, they were told the flight was cancelled and had to be rescheduled to 8am the next day.

    Passengers were told overnight accommodation would be provided, especially for those who were not Sydney residents.

    The next morning would probably pan out fine, but alas, it was not to be. Instead of flying off at 8am, the passengers were told there's another delay of one and a half hours.

    When the plane finally taxied out to get ready for take-off at 11am, it had to turn back because of technical problems.

    It only managed to take off two and a half hours later at 1.30pm. Finally.

    POOR COMMUNICATION

    But it was the poor communication, accommodation, and transport issues of the previous day that infuriated passengers.

    They were appalled they were not contacted at all by Scoot staff during their ordeal. Calls to the 24-hour helpline and appeals to the Scoot Facebook page either went unanswered, or were attended to with unsatisfactory replies.

    Although 53 of the travellers accepted Scoot's offer of hotel accommodation, there were complaints of lack of rooms and missing transport.

    One Facebook post described how a group of 40 passengers did not manage to get accommodation and were left stranded in the airport with no food and drink simply because they were at the back of the queue. What's worst, the eateries at the airport had closed.

    Photo: Facebook

    NO FOOD FOR 12 HOURS

    Dissapointed passenger Chai Yieng said she and some other passengers had to "spend a night in the airport" after a shuttle that was supposed to take them to the hotel did not come.

    "Our group had a mother and kid, and a elderly couple, waiting in the cold night till 10-11.30pm for a shuttle which never reached...We were frantic and disappointed to all these, after being stranded and (sic) starving for more than 12 hours. All of us just had to spend a night in the airport. Could there be a better arrangement to ensure all passengers have been picked up? We all felt deceived," she wrote.

    A Scoot spokesman said the most of the passengers were either Sydney residents or did not require their assistance.

    But passenger David Harris wrote on Facebook that those who needed accommodation waited for three hours before the line stopped "abruptly" because officials were "waiting on confirmation for more accommodation".

    on Facebook

    Normally not a big reviewer but I'll make an exception for Scoot. Arrived at Sydney airport, flight was delayed 5 hours...

    Posted by David Harris on Saturday, 30 September 2017

    NO ROOM AT THE INN

    Another passenger Jeremy Teo had a more harrowing experience. He wrote on Facebook that his family was sent to Novotel Sydney Central for nothing. They spent three hours there waiting for a room only to be told there was no room available.

    Past midnight, they were told to go to an airport motel where they found no one was working and no room was available there. Then it was back to Novotel at 1am, with his baby "crying incessantly".

    on Facebook

    there are 12 guests from TR1, missed flight from sydney-singapore due on 30sept 1230pm. delayed. and at 1150pm we are...

    Posted by Jeremy Teo on Saturday, 30 September 2017

    He was mad enough to post his experience on the Facebook page of Singapore Airlines, reprimanding the parent company of Scoot: "Just because Scoot is the budget arm you can treat your customer like dirt?"

    on Facebook

    SQ..... ive got an issue with scoot... heres the timeline for clarity... 1230pm Flight scheduled but we were not told...

    Posted by Jeremy Teo on Saturday, 30 September 2017

    Another passenger, grandmother Myrene Hooper, and her children were disgusted by the airline's refusal to serve free food and drinks as a gesture of goodwill especially to children after the epic delay and botched crisis management.

    on Facebook

    So my 2 adult children and 2 grandkids were excitedly looking forward to landing yesterday evening here in Singapore on...

    Posted by Myrene Hooper on Saturday, 30 September 2017

    SCOOT IN A TIGHT SPOT BECAUSE OF PEAK SEASON

    According to Channel NewsAsia, Scoot's spokesperson said the airline tried to arrange transport and hotel rooms for passengers that required overnight accommodation, but due to it being a holiday season, there were "limited options".

    "We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience experienced due to the delay in ground transportation to the hotels, and miscommunication between our airline representatives and the hotels which resulted in some unavailability of rooms," the spokesperson said.

    "We regret the disruptions to the travel plans of our passengers."

    "Safety is of utmost importance to Scoot, and we will spare no effort in making sure all our flights operate safely," the spokesperson added.

    Ironically, an ill-timed report on the improved services of the budget air industry on Channel NewsAsia on Sunday afternoon featured Scoot CEO as saying: "It's no longer the bad old budget airlines of the past, leaving you stranded."

    on Facebook

    “It’s no longer the bad old budget airlines of the past, leaving you stranded. We all take care of our customers": FlyScoot's CEO says the industry has come a long way in terms of service.

    Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Sunday, 1 October 2017

    chenj@sph.com.sg

    Monday, October 2, 2017 - 15:07
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    Going away on a holiday is stressful enough, what with the planning, packing and making sure that you get to the airport in time for your flight.

    However, as a lone parent travelling with a young child, the stress probably trebles, and increases even after most passengers are relaxed and comfortably settled in their seats on the plane.

    It is no wonder one woman was left in tears after her 19-month-old toddler bawled in her lap for a full 20 minutes as their plane prepared to land.

    Facebook user Jolene Shen was part of the cabin crew on a flight when she witnessed the incident, according to her post last Tuesday (Sept 26).

    Shen wrote: "Yesterday, upon landing, there was a toddler of 19 months squirming in her mother's lap and as she was buckled up for landing , she began to cry and scream in earnest.

    on Facebook

    Yesterday, upon landing, there was a toddler of 19 months squirming in her mothers' lap and as she was buckled up for...

    Posted by Jolene Shen on Tuesday, 26 September 2017

    "She screamed and buckled (sic) and fidgeted throughout the 20 minutes of landing time, big fat tears rolling down her face. Pushing and trying to slip the infant seat belt down her legs, looking for freedom.

    "The mother, a petite lady who looked like she's in her 30s, tried her best to hold on to the little squirming, screaming bundle, consoling her child and managed to time and again put the seatbelt back on her child's waist.

    "She held her child gently, had her head to her child's and whispered softly the whole time. But the child was beyond consoling. She wanted to be freed."

    Shen noted that other passengers around the pair took "deep breaths of air for patience", while some "gave the mother empathetic glances".

    However, Shen's objective was not to shame the woman with her story, but to highlight the difficulty parents face when travelling alone with young children.

    As a mum herself, Shen said she could empathise with the woman, whom she had thought was being stoically patient, but only later realised that she was actually shedding "silent tears of helplessness " as her child continued crying.

    After the seatbelt sign went off, Shen said she went up to the mother and rubbed her arms as she reassured her by saying,"you did a great job".

    Hearing that line, the mum broke down in tears, either "because of my words and/or from the relief that the flight was over", and began sobbing into the child's shoulder.

    "I felt tears rushing to my eyes cos as a mother myself, I knew exactly how she felt. I hid behind the curtain, composed myself and went back to the mother to tell her what a good job she had done," Shen wrote.

    Shen was thankful that everyone on the flight had been extremely understanding: "No one berated her for not being able to control her child. No one gave her dirty looks."

    And she feels more empathy and support should be given to those travelling alone with young children.

    "Please give them more support the next time you see a mother struggling with a child. Be it a kind word of encouragement, or offering to hold the child for a few moments while the mother have her meal, would be a great help to the mother."

    Her post has resonated with many, garnering over 500 reactions and 130 shares on Facebook.


    Photos: Facebook/Jolene Shen

    The stress is real for mothers travelling alone with their kids on flights. So real that some even take pre-emptive measures to appease their fellow passengers, just in case their little ones create a ruckus inflight.

    One mother in China flying on a domestic flight with her child was compelled to dish out 'goodie bags' to those in their first class flight from Ningbo to Xi'an.

    Each bag contained a pair of earplugs, a few pieces of candy, and a handwritten note, written from the toddler's point of view.

    The note read: "Hello! I'm Wendy from Ningbo. I'm one and a half years old. This is not my first trip, but my mother takes care of me alone and is worried that I might cry and disturb you. After all, changes in air pressure can make my very grouchy. Good kids don't disturb people in public places and I will try my best to keep quiet.

    "Here are some earplugs and some candy, I hope that they will ease your troubles. Wendy wishes you a pleasant journey."

    The story went viral across China social media after it was shared by a flight attendant who was touched by the mother's gesture.

    While exemplary, we think such actions may end up putting unwanted pressure on parents.

    Who knows, packing 'goodie bags' may just end up being another item on the mile-long checklist parents have to do before a flight. We wouldn't want that, would we?

    candicec@sph.com.sg

    Monday, October 2, 2017 - 15:54
    Revised
    The stress is real for mothers travelling alone with their kids on flights. So real that some even take pre-emptive measures to appease their fellow passengers, just in case their little ones create a ruckus inflight.

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    The husband and son of the elderly female pedestrian - who was killed in an accident involving a taxi along West Coast Drive on Sep 27 - had difficulty identifying her body due to the severity of her injuries.

    The 67-year-old woman, known as Madam Xu Bao, had left her HDB flat to shop for groceries in the morning when she was run over by a taxi.

    Police told Stomp that they were alerted to the accident at 6.27am. The victim was found motionless and pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

    Stomp also reported that a 59-year-old male taxi driver was arrested for causing death by a negligent act.

    Mdm Xu's only son, 38-year-old Mr Yang, told Lianhe Wanbao that his mother would leave the house at about 6am daily to exercise, then buy vegetables and breakfast from the market. She usually reached home at around 7am.

    On the day of the accident, Mr Yang's father had gone downstairs to look for the victim when she did not come home.

    Although he heard that there had been an accident, he did not go to the scene to find out more, due to superstitions that it was taboo. Instead, he returned home to continue waiting.

    At around 9am when the victim still had not come home, Mr Yang's father went back downstairs. This time, he walked to the accident site and told police officers that he could not find his wife.

    According to Mr Yang, a warehouse supervisor, investigators spoke to his father and realised the victim's name matched his wife's.

    They asked Mr Yang's father if he would like to identify the body, but the latter declined to do so. Investigators then handed Mr Yang's father a photo of the deceased instead.

    However, due to the severity of the victim's injuries, Mr Yang's father was unable to recognise his wife. As such, he told police officers that the deceased was not his wife.

    Mr Yang's father subsequently called him to come to the scene, but he too, was unable to identify the deceased until later.

    Mr Yang said that his parents had been married for more than 40 years and had lived in their West Coast flat for over 30 years.

    Mr Yang, who is already married, had moved out earlier in June.

    He said his father is still unable to accept Mdm Xu's death and despite putting on a brave front, would secretly cry at night.

    "I last spoke to my mother two days ago (Sep 27). I was supposed to bring my wife and daughter back for a visit on Sunday and she even asked me what soup I would like to drink," added Mr Yang.

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 10:04
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    51 men and seven women have been arrested in Geylang for various offences during a four-day multi-agency joint operation that ended in the morning of Sept 30.

    The operation was led by Bedok Police Division and supported by officers from the Singapore Customs, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, Central Narcotics Bureau, Criminal Investigation Department and Health Sciences Authority.

    45 men and three women, aged between 17 and 77 were arrested under the Common Gaming Houses Act, while two women aged 30 and 43 were arrested for vice-related offences.

    Seven men and one woman aged between 23 and 47 were also arrested for various offences which include theft, peddling of contraband cigarettes and illegal health products such as sexual enhancement drugs, cough mixtures and sleeping pills.

    The estimated street value of the items seized amounted to about $19,000.

    Investigations against the suspects are ongoing.

    Commander of Bedok Police Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Tan Tin Wee expressed his appreciation to all the agencies involved for their strong support and commended the officers for their professionalism and excellent teamwork which led to a successful operation.

    a1admin@sph.com.sg

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 11:49

    More about

    arrested
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    For housing 50 foreign workers in quarters that had poor living conditions, Singaporean dormitory operator Yeo's Brother Management faces a total of 50 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).

    According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the company operates Ama Keng Hostel, a purpose-built dormitory located at 25 Ama Keng Road. 

    Investigations revealed that there were 50 foreign workers living in quarters that had unsanitary toilet conditions, with signs of cockroach infestation and breeding of mosquitoes and flies. There were also fire hazards in the workers' quarters. 

    Such unsafe and unhygienic living conditions severely undermined the safety and well-being of the foreign workers, said MOM, who immediately ordered the dormitory operator to relocate the affected foreign workers to other approved accommodation.

    The dormitory has since ceased operations and Yeo's Brother Management has also been denied a licence under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act.

    If convicted, the company can be fined up to $10,000 for each charge.

    MOM said it will not hesitate to take strong enforcement actions against dormitory operators, who provide poor accommodation to their resident workers. Similarly, employers who contravene any of the conditions of the work pass will also be guilty of an offence under the EFMA. 

    On top of the penalties imposed by the Courts, MOM said it will also debar employers from hiring foreign workers.

    a1admin@sph.com.sg

    Monday, October 2, 2017 - 11:10

    More about

    Foreign Workers
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    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 09:02
    Hostess blinded by colleague's stiletto heel, eye pops out during scuffle
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    A scuffle turned bloody after a part-time KTV hostess was kicked in her face repeatedly by a colleague, causing her left eyeball to pop out.

    The incident happened on Oct 8, 2015, in Club One KTV Boutique at Jalan Sultan, reports The Straits Times.

    The court heard that the victim Ms Nur Lena, 30, and her assailant, Siti Zahara Afifi Abdul Karim, 28, had been arguing at 3.20am on the day of the incident.

    The argument led to a scuffle, and both fell on the floor.

    Siti Zahara who was wearing a pair of stiletto heels measuring about 14.5cm, continually kicked Ms Nur Lena's face, despite intervention from a witness.

    Ms Nur Lena felt the heel hit her eyelid twice before it jabbed her eye, dislodging her eyeball.

    She was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for treatment, where it was discovered that she had suffered left-eye permanent blindness and right-eye temporal hemianopia, a condition in which patients can only see the nasal part of their visual field.

    Her left eye was removed and an orbital implant was done.

    Yesterday (Oct 3), Siti Zahara was convicted of causing grievous hurt to Ms Nur Lena by carrying out a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others.

    Court documents revealed that the two had a turbulent relationship before the incident.

    Siti Zahara's sister was the ex-girlfriend of Ms Nur Lena's friend.

    During that time, Siti Zahara's sister had gotten a set of braces, which Ms Nur Lena's friend had been paying for.

    After the relationship ended, the friend wanted to continue paying for the braces despite Ms Nur Lena urging him not to.

    It was this incident that sparked the argument on Oct 8.

    District Judge Mathew Joseph will hear a plea by Siti Zahara's lawyer and the prosecution's submissions on the sentence on Oct 31.

    For causing grievous hurt, Siti Sahara faces a maximum penalty of four years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 12:14

    More about

    assault
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    When ride-hailing service Uber started imposing a penalty fee today on customers showing up late, it probably thought there would be no violent objection since its rival Grab has already introduced wait-time charges.

    Instead, the policy has been criticised by many Uber users.

    Its introduction of the 20 cent-per-minute surcharge has stirred a hornet's nest as users on its Facebook page responded with howls of disapproval after it posted the news late last night.

    Passengers might end up paying even more as the late penalties are subject to the standard Uber service fee as well as to surge pricing - Uber's method for raising rates when there is a high demand for rides in an area.

    The charges, which are imposed after the driver has waited for three minutes, only apply to rides on Uber's uberX, XL, Exec and ExecLarge services. The uberPOOL, uberCARSEAT and uberASSIST services are not charging the fee yet.

    Explaining the rationale for its move, Uber said it had to act on tardy customers and compensate drivers for wasting time waiting after receiving feedback from frustrated drivers.

    Now, drivers can have the option to cancel the trip after waiting for five minutes and receive the cancellation fee.

    Turning the tables on Uber, its customers lambasted the move as being unfair as they have had experienced many incidents of drivers arriving late, therefore dissatisfied customers have to be compensated too.

    Said Nigel Alexander Ang: "Such a dumb fee to be charging...Do you guys consider what if the driver was late? Do consumers get extra discounts? What if driver no show and cancels the ride? Do consumers get the next ride free? Why not impose a penalty on both sides or something rather than solely penalising riders?"

    Agreeing, E.C. Kui To wrote: "To be fair, passengers should get compensation for their time lost too. Your estimated arrival time is mostly inaccurate. Sometimes your drivers are blur like sotong, bring you tour around Singapore. Sometimes your navigation system is wrong. Sometimes your UberPool (driver) goes really far out of the way to pick up other passengers (so) the entire journey is much longer than taking MRT/bus.

    "Please (sic) consider a credit for our time lost too. Thankfully you are not the monopoly - we still have Grab and taxi."

    Photo: Uber

    Regina Ng, who complained about riders always having to wait for Uber drivers longer than the estimated time, appealed to Uber to rethink its late-charge policy since it's getting so much flak.

    Pointing to the trail of angry comments left on Uber Facebook page, Darren Ang said: "Simple. Grab doesn't have this nonsense."

    Grab's rates are lower - it imposes a $3 fee for every five-minute block only after a driver has waited for five minutes.

    on Facebook

    Our aim is to give our riders and driver-partners a smooth Uber experience, every time. To ensure that our driver-partners get their due for the time spent on the road, we're introducing wait-time charges.

    Posted by Uber on Tuesday, 3 October 2017

    The unhappy netizens also seemed unconvinced by Uber's response to two of them when it gave a standard robotic answer: "To ensure that riders are not unfairly charged when the drivers are not at the pickup location, we have set the timer to begin only when the driver is at or very close to the pickup location. If the driver is not at or very close to the pickup location, you will not be charged for the wait time."

    Uber supporter Jason Tan felt it's just a storm in a teacup.

    "After 5 minutes, the driver will normally cancel and collect the pick-up fee. Hence, the only window to charge is between 3 and 5 minutes of waiting time, i.e. 2 minutes of waiting time charge - 40 cents at non surge rate," he said after doing the math.

    chenj@sph.com.sg

     

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 14:01

    More about

    UberGrab
    Assignment
    Uber has imposed a penalty fee of 20 cents per minute on passengers who are three minutes late. Is it fair to penalise passengers? And what about drivers who are late? Uber customers feel they should be compensated too when these drivers are late.

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    Grab and Singapore Airlines are teaming up to integrate their respective loyalty schemes and mobile apps.

    The partnership between the two companies will give members of Grab's GrabRewards loyalty programme the opportunity to convert GrabRewards points into air miles with KrisFlyer, Singapore Airlines' frequent flyer scheme.

    This means that they will be able to contribute GrabRewards points towards purchasing discounted flight tickets or seat upgrades with the airline.

    Also, from today Singapore Airlines passengers making their way to catch a flight will be able to book a Grab ride to the airport through the airline's mobile app, SingaporeAir. Selecting the option will redirect customers to Grab's own app, allowing them to book a car up to seven days in advance of their flight's departure.

    The feature will be available in Singapore as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

    The first 5,000 customers to book a Grab ride through SingaporeAir in Singapore will receive GrabPay credits worth US$7.33 (S$9.98).

    Ride-hailing companies operating in Southeast Asia have turned to loyalty schemes as one way of trying to retain customers in the face of fierce competition. GrabRewards benefits include cut-price Grab rides, special offers, and discounts with third-party food and beverage, travel, lifestyle, and retail brands.

    Go-Points - the loyalty programme run by Grab's Indonesian competitor Go-Jek - employs gamification to encourage customers to keep using the company's services.

    This article was first published on TechInAsia.com.

    Other TechInAsia.com stories: 

    How this guy left Apple and built a hardware accelerator in Hong Kong

    Opinion: Maybe programming really is rocket science

    Vertex Ventures-backed life sciences accelerator kicks off in Singapore

     

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 15:07
    Others

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    A 64-year-old Uber driver died in hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest while driving on Sep 28 at around 7pm.

    The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it dispatched an ambulance to the scene, located at the Changi Airport Terminal 2 exit towards East Coast Parkway.

    The man, identified as Mr Wang Yongqing, was unconscious when conveyed to Changi General Hospital, which had been alerted to be on standby to receive him.

    He was subsequently pronounced dead and established to have died of natural causes.

    According to The Straits Times, the man had been driving when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

    The deceased was single and lived with his brother, Mr Wang Yongshun, 62.

    Shin Min Daily News reported that the victim held two jobs. He drove construction workers to their work sites until 5pm every day. In the past half a year, he began driving for Uber too, until past 1am.

    Read the rest of the story on The Straits Times.

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 17:10
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