I admit to being the biggest budget traveller. I do love luxury but seeing the cheapest flight always gets me pushing the ‘book now’ button quicker than I can say “What about Virgin Australia or Qantas?”. That is why on routes, such as Perth to Melbourne, Tigerair are usually my go to. With flights often for less than $200 one way they sure have me hooked. I remember one time I snagged a flight for $99! Now that had me smiling from ear-to-ear.
My regular line when I get off my flight with Tigerair is “I am never flying them again” but I do. As I said the price is just too tempting for a stingy budget traveller like me.
WARNING: Some of the following information may be disturbing to Business Class travellers!
Seat and amenities
The seating is definitely tight. With a seat pitch of 28/29 inches things can get uncomfortable. Lucky for me I’m a mere 5 feet 2 inches but the poor man next to me who was about 6 foot really struggled! Exit-row seats have a 38/39 inch pitch so will definitely be a little more comfortable. My thought is by the time you pay extra for the exit-row you may as well just fly a different airline.
Customer service on board
So you might arrive at your seat ready for battle with airline staff. After all they are a budget airline so wouldn’t they skimp on their service too? However this is where I believe Tigerair take things up a notch. Staff are friendly and even assist with putting your bags in the overhead lockers. Unlike some airlines, staff members are not dismissive and don’t rush through cabin service.
Food and drinks, including tea, coffee and water are available for purchase. Their menu even pokes fun at Qantas celebrity chef Neil Perry. Written on the menu it says, “Our new Tigerair menu is not designed by Neil Perry or served on designer plates, but that means it doesn’t cost $25 for a sandwich”. I don’t know about you but I sure like their sense of humour!
Apart from an inflight magazine don’t expect much else in the form of entertainment. Be prepared with something to do during your flight or you might find yourself counting sheep.
Hints and tips
1. Don’t be late! For those who have been in the unfortunate situation of running late for your flight with Tigerair you would have learnt the hard way! The airline offers no sympathy to late arrivals, no matter what the excuse is. Arrive a second later then 45 minutes before your flights scheduled departure and they won’t let you board. You can now avoid this stress by checking in on-line and heading straight to the boarding gate around 30 minutes before departure but remember if you have bags to check in you still must be at the airport in plenty of time to ensure your bags are dropped off before the 45 minute cut off.
2. Check that they are actually they cheapest! Baggage allowance and food are never included in the initial booking price. If you are purchasing these extra add-ons make sure you shop around! Sometimes you might find a competitive flight with a full service carrier. However, if you want to be cheap like me, I bring my own food, a book to keep me entertained and pack light so I can just take carry-on.
3. Don’t exceed your baggage allowance! Whilst standing in line to wait to check-in I have seen people being pulled aside by airline staff because their baggage weighs too much. You can tell as they are scrambling through their suitcase thinking about what items they can ditch, or better still add to their current outfit so it’s not measured in their bags weight. It’s not just check-in bags they are strict with, but also carry-ons. For carry-on you are allowed what I believe is a quite generous 10kg. This weight can be spread out between two pieces of carry-on luggage provided that each does not exceed the dimensions of 54cm X 38cm X 23cm. Excess baggage charges start at a whopping $20 a kilogram.
4. Expect the unexpected! I have found that not only is Tigerair itself definitely a budget airline but their services outside the plane are too. The terminal is a budget terminal and lacks the shops and eateries that one might be used to. Having said this the Melbourne Airport terminal (T4) that Tigerair uses is being completely redeveloped and is under construction currently. Around this time next year the airline will be operating out of a brand new dedicated low cost terminal in Melbourne which will greatly improve the customer experience at check in and arrivals.
Love them or hate them I will give them one thing, they are cheap. Just don’t expect any frills!