Scoot assures no data breach from mass email glitch

Scoot has apologised for its erroneously-blasted emails containing travel details for a particular flight to Guangzhou, China. In a Facebook post, Scoot said that the email was meant for passengers booked on flight TR100 from Singapore to Guangzhou that was to depart on 20 August. The email was meant to inform travellers on the flight of new travel requirements, and was "mistakenly sent" to other customers who were not on the flight.

The post on Facebook has garnered 1,300 reactions, 974 comments, and 614 shares. It also sees netizens worried that the incident was due to a security breach. Many netizens received multiple emails of the same booking that addressed them personally with different booking reference numbers. They also said efforts to reach out to Scoot for clarification were not successful at the time, causing greater anxiety.

In an update five hours later, the airline clarified that the error stemmed from human error. The email was erroneously sent to a distribution list containing customers who have travelled with Scoot in the past, or who have future bookings with Scoot. Scoot also reassured its travellers that the incident was not a data security breach or due to hacking. "There was also no leak of sensitive personal information; and that no third party was sent an email with personal information. However, if a booking was made on another party’s behalf, they may see the other party’s first name in the email. No current bookings can be accessed with these information," the statement on Facebook added.

Additionally, Scoot said it has informed Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission of the incident and contacted all affected customers with an explanation of what happened. 

Earlier in March this year, Scoot launched a self-service portal for all eligible customers to obtain voucher refunds for the full value of bookings made on or before 15 March 2020. This came in the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic where travel restrictions kicked in for several countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and India. This saw airlines such as Scoot receiving high increase of demand to cancel or rebook their flights. 

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