Flying Tiger

The Tripit (see previous blog) report said it all: TT8033 ON TIME. MEL dep 08:45 term 4. ADL arr 09:35.

TT = Is Tiger Airways, Australia's newest airline.  Established in Sigapore in 2003, they came to Australia in 2007.  Today was my first time flying them (and probably my last time!).

Booking a flight and  paying for it on Tiger is very straightforward except that everything is an extra charge! I have previously expressed my dissatisfaction with this aspect of the company. For example, Tiger passengers pay a fee for every seat which ranges from $8 to $30. They also pay extra for baggage. I chose to take none. My "cheap fare for  Melbourne to Adelaide was only six dollars less than Qantas!

Being baggage less I didn't need to check in at the airport. I usually try to check in on-line anyway but Tiger gives an incentive as they charge $10 for airport check in! Found Tiger's online check-in to be very straight forward.  When I got to the terminal "shed" (literally) for my flight, I was doubly glad I had done on-line as the check in lines were long. I ignored them heading straight to the gate and discovered Tiger has an extra hurdle in that a staff member is waiting to weigh hand luggage as Tiger operates a strict 7kg/15lbs carry on policy. Anything over that has to be checked in for a fee of $55 (prepay for your luggage and its much less). But be warned!

Security at Tiger is one of the most unpleasant airline security set ups I have ever encountered in Australia. One example, att the entrance of the Tiger Terminal is a coffee shop which on today's winter's morning was doing brisk trade. At security, however, the Security Officer was officiously and nastily forcing everyone with a hot coffee to throw it away or drink it before coming through. While the action may be fair enough, the way it was done was appalling.

The  Tiger waiting area in Melbourne is cramped and unattractive. If you were delayed for several hours, you would get very bored of the Boost juice outlet, Coffee shop and newsagency.  There are better shops in the Qantas and old Ansett (now Virgin) terminals.  I did note that many of the waiting passengers were clearly people who did not fly much. In fact many seem to have never flown at all so Tiger are obviously succeeding in getting people to consider flying as an option.

Soon  "Boarding" for the Adelaide flight appeared on the TV monitors (see picture under departures, second flight down). When this appeared, a number of us walked up to Gate 3. When we got there, however, we were told to go back to the waiting area. The boarding announcement came ten minutes later. The boarding line was far from orderly with people cutting in from every direction
Boarding Passes were checked by a very causal looking person who did not appear to be dressed in any sort of uniform! From gate to plane was a very long walk. This has been a consistent complaint with the Tiger arrangements.

The airline operates a single-model fleet. All of their planes are Airbus A320s with eating for 180 passengers. They are only one class: Economy.  The seat pitch (distance from the front of the seat in one row to the front of the seat in the next row) is approximately 72.5 cm (28.5 inches) for standard rows and 97.5 cm for the exit row (Qantas and Virgin Blue give an extra 7cm+) so I was very glad I had grabbed a $30 exit row seat  even on this short haul.

Boarding is from the tarmac with passengers directed to one of two doors depending in seating. I boarded at the front door where I got a warm welcome from the Flight attendant checking Boarding passes. Tiger allocates seats- some discount carriers its a free for all.  

We departed ten minutes behind schedule with a fully full flight consisting of many football fans. The Pilots sounded competent and reassuring. Safety briefing was done thoroughly and properly. 

There is of course no meal service on Tiger and any snacks and drinks must be paid for with a debit card.

We landed slightly ahead of schedule in what was one of the most beautiful landings I have ever had. 
Overall I gave them 3.5 out of 5 until the highly professional landing which got them to 4 out of 5! If I had checked in luggage, I suspect this would have made the experience a 3! If anything went wrong, then I would not have had a good time at all.

A friend described a Tiger flight is like a bus-ride.  The trouble is, I generally hate buses! I wont be back. Click here for my list of worst airlines I have flown. Click here for my current top airlines.
19 Responses
  1. Steve Jasper Says:

    Tiger is indeed a bus with wings. The wings work, I ask for no more.

    I caught a Tiger flight from Hobart to Melbourne -- it was a funeral, so no planning in advance, and the day before the Melbourne Open. To fly Qantas I would have been gouged $614. I don't think so.

    I compare flying Tiger Hobart to Melbourne to catching a train Geelong - Melbourne or Frankston - Melbourne. It gets me there, no more. I shudder to think what flying long distance with Tiger would be like though -- catching a W class tram to Adelaide? Something hideous like that.

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