I never realized before that the seats in front of the exit row don’t recline. Well, that was the situation on the Boeing A320 I was on. Not that I would normally choose these seats; they’d been randomly selected for me when I checked in online to my Tigerair Australia flight.
As soon as I mentioned to people I was planning to book with Tigerair, people started sharing stories that they had experienced or heard. Mainly of cancelled flights and the expense of booking on another airline to get home at the expected time. The general consensus: avoid Tigerair, even if they had the cheapest fares.
But I went ahead with my Tigerair booking. For my flight from Sydney to Darwin, it was less than half the price of their nearest competitor (albeit via a stop in Brisbane). I just hoped that a cancellation wouldn’t effect me. Surely many of their flights must still go ahead!
So, did I make it to Darwin?
Neither of my flights were cancelled. In fact both of them departed and arrived on time. And I checked into the airport hotel in Darwin a mere 15 minutes after my scheduled landing.
Beforehand I had came across a potential issue with luggage, as I was travelling carry-on luggage only. With Tigerair, both your main carry-on bag and a smaller bag such as a laptop bag had to fit under the 7kg weight limit. (My later flights with AirAsia only included the main carry-on bag in the 7kg limit, the other smaller bag was additional weight.)
Tigerair conveniently had a product called Cabin+, to purchase extra carry-on luggage weight. For an extra $18 on the flight to Brisbane and $21 on the longer flight to Darwin, the carry-on weight limit increases to 12kg. I had already checked in and couldn’t purchase the add-on online. But by calling up their customer service centre (that I got directly through to), it was easily done in about 15 minutes. I just had to re-do my online check-in.
The only downside to flying Tigerair were the uncomfortable seats. This was especially the case in the non-reclining seats on the longer flight to Darwin, which took over 4 hours. (But how many short-haul economy seats these days are comfortable?) I should have paid the $6 or so to change seats. In regards to food and beverage, I skipped trying any of the food on the flight. Instead I made use of the stopover in Brisbane to eat dinner. However, some of the options in the menu did look appetising.
Reading the inflight magazine, the letter from the CEO shared that in the 12 months leading up to March 2016, Tigerair Australia recorded the lowest cancellation rate of all major domestic airlines in Australia, plus was the most punctual low-cost carrier. Maybe things are finally improving and we should give Tigerair a second chance!
Have you had an experience flying Tigerair Australia? How would you review Tigerair?