^I don't agree. The first thing he asked Scotty was why the Enterprise's transporters weren't working. Clearly the scriptwriters put that in there to explain to the audience why he didn't just beam to the ship but instead took a long travel pod ride to get to it. So presumably he would've beamed right to the ship if it had been feasible to do so.
I never questioned why Kirk didn't beam directly to the ship.
As for Mr. Scott being there to pilot the pod, why not? We needed to see the new ship, and who better to show it off than Scotty? Plot be damned, he was the man for the job.
Side note: In December 1979 took my girlfriend to see the movie in the theater. I was mesmerized through the whole thing, just having a great time. That flyaround was the greatest thing I'd ever seen on film, and ... she broke up with me shortly after that.