Ire of the Tiger: Why Tiger Airways Sucks

ire-of-the-tiger-why-tiger-airways-sucksI decided to do something romantic for The Future Husband and like all romantic gestures, it was a little bit selfish. I have always wanted to go to Melbourne for a weekend of window shopping, laneway strolling and gastronomic overload, preferably whilst wearing a ball gown and chasing a large ball of red wool (the ad campaign really worked on me).

In keeping with this whimsical notion, I booked some flights.

Rather than going with the ever reliable Virgin Blue, I decided to be a total cheapskate in the interests of ‘research’ and book flights with Tiger Airways … $37 flights, to be precise.

What a disaster.

The $37 flights (once you add the astronomical airport fees) amounted to $230 in total. Not so cheap but oh well, we’re going to Melbourne. Huzzah!

Oh no.

It turned out that there was a family reunion on the weekend I booked our trip. After much whining, I went back to keyboard and tried to change the dates.

Oh dear.

Tiger Airways charged me $181 to change weekends. The exact same flights, just on different days. Furthermore, it was going to cost $50 per passenger to transfer the names or $50 per passenger to cancel the flights.

I rang their so-called customer service line to see if there was anything that could be done. The (Indian call centre) voice on the other end of the line told me that there was nothing she could do to help and that she was the manager. Hmph.

Tiger Airways ended up costing $411 for two return flights to Melbourne. Virgin Blue charges $378 for the exact same flight times, including tax.

I have heard terrible things about Tiger Airways and yet I stupidly decided to travel with them anyway.  I already regret it and I have yet to step on board the plane.

Moral to the story: Do not travel with Tiger Airways unless you are a cashed-up masochist.

Have you ever had a bad airline experience? Spill the vitriolic beans, dear readers…

13 comments on “Ire of the Tiger: Why Tiger Airways Sucks

  1. Tiger Airways seems like the Fawlty Towers of airlines, can’t wait until that TV show that exposes them in all their rude, inconsistent, obnoxious glory is back on.

    I’m not a fan of Jetstar either after being messed around, they cancelled my flight and wanted me to pay extra to book a new one! But Virgin had always been great, thanks Richard.

  2. Generally, the cheaper the fare, the more restrictive the rules are unfortunately. That’s how all these cheapies make their money. Charge for everything.

    My least fave airline experience was on Delta international (SYD-NYC), where they moved my pre-booked seat to the one right next to the toilet. After complaining to everyone I could about it, they refused to move me back saying the plane was full. So I had to sit for 14 stinky hours next to the toilet, watching people come in and out, have them hovering over me. I hated it, but the flights were cheap. By the time I arrived in Kennedy airport, I realised my bags were missing, and the were somewhere in Minnesota. Without even an apology, they took my address and sent me out intto a freezing NY winter night without my coat. It was in the North of the US, somewhere. I was still wearing my Sydney November-apropriate clothes. I was not a happy camper, but luckily I have great friends in Ny who dressed me and fed me pizza, and a little shopping trip the next day till my bags arrived let me forgive and forget.

    Flying is always frustrating. I always get defensive before I even get to the airport as I always feel that I will be wronged somehow. Be sat between 2 large people, have a pervy man leer at the immaculate Japanese cabin crew, my seat back entertainment will break, it will be too hot or too cold on board. I always feel like I want to be able to control what happens over the duration of the flight, but I have learnt that you just need to let go. Eek.

  3. I cannot believe Tiger Air’s attitude to customers, especially when they are still trying to make head way into the Australian market. Their “government charges” are excessive and they have the most appalling customer service from a call centre I have ever experienced. I will not be surprised if our flight gets cancelled on our day of departure, make us pay for another two tickets and blame the passengers for the broken down plane.

  4. What terrible service! You poor things. Love ‘Ire of the Tiger’, by the way – really caught my eye. 😉 I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single good report about Tiger.

    Lisa T

  5. A friend of mine recently paid double for his Tiger ticket from Melb because he arrived at the airport a couple of minutes too late for departure — apparently Tiger are more strict than many airlines about how early you have to arrive at the airport. He had to wait around until the following flight.

  6. Tiger Air are the pits it’s about time the ACCC went through them, bogus prices excessive fees / charges hidden until you go to pay and a bloody call centre in bloody India. Jetstar are no better they also employ non English speaking tossers all foreign airlines should be forbidden to operate from Aus

  7. Oh dear. Yes, hidden fees and charges, no customer service… sounds painfully familiar. We had a shocking experience with Tiger too, starting at departure with the delays at check-in as the weight police checked every bag & carry-on; the kilometer long walk to the plane on the tarmac; the detention centre ambience of the arrivals area as we waited for our luggage in the cold on arrival in Mel; on return to Syd arriving early (!) at the destination so no stairs were available, sitting on the tarmac while they tried to find stairs, sniffing jet fuel as they refueled while we were all on the plane so they could make their turnaround, finally having one set of stairs so everyone had to disembark from one set of stairs, and a 50 minute wait for our bags as they decided to leave our bags on the tarmac so they could load the next flight to make their turnaround before finally delivering our bags to the terminal. Would I ever fly Tiger again? Not if my life depended on it.

  8. its funny how people pay $39 airfares and still expect the same traditional services offered by airlines like qantas, air nz ect. did you read terms and conditions before buying your tickets?? they usually advise that changes will incurr fee’s. get a life

  9. Oh Pablo. I have a life; a life that I don’t want to spend in a cattle shed waiting for my delayed Tiger flight. Cheap doesn’t have to mean nasty.

  10. Avoid Tiger with your life, and @ Pablo, YOU get a life, cheap or not, without the customer, they do not exist, its one thing to be herded around like cattle, and no food drinks etc… included, I dont mind that, but these guys are just crooks, and shonks, terrible. and reading the terms etc… i sjust dozens of pages of fine print and dirty tricks to rort and scam you, so you get a life.

  11. I tried to put this on the Tiger Airways facebook page which they hid away from the public. Now trying to smear their dodgy service all over the internet until i get my refund!

    Dear Tiger Airways,

    Just thought I would drop you a message on your FB page to say that I have all but given up on receiving my refund from you and will no longer be flying with Tiger Airways. The refund I am referring to is the one owed to me for the hotel accommodation I was forced to take when the Tiger Airways flight from Melbourne to Perth last June was turned around halfway and sent back to Melbourne due to safety concerns with the plane. Through no fault of my own, I endured several extra hours of flying and extra costs.

    It’s a shame that I need to post this message. I have been trying for the past 5 months to get my refund from Tiger Airways. I sent off all the necessary paperwork including a copy of my receipt and reclaim form given to me by the Tiger Airways staff. I have called the Tiger Airways call centre numerous times (when I could actually get through to an operator but after being on hold for over 20mins at a time listening to a message about how you ‘appreciate my patience’) and leaving feedback on the Tiger Airways Customer Support Portal on the website, but still no refund.

    As I fly twice a month, I have many people at my worksite of 600 employees ask me who I prefer to fly with and why. I used to say Tiger Airways and watch people recoil in horror probably because the 6 week grounding of the Tiger Airways fleet last year due to safety problems and poor service was still fresh in their mind. Now it feels like Tiger Airway’s service is slipping again due to the way I, and many others have been treated.

    Anyway, now that Virgin is hopefully taking a controlling share in Tiger Airways, the customer service will improve. Unfortunately it will not be soon enough to sway me back as a customer of Tiger Airways. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Tiger Airways representative deletes this message from the Tiger Airways FB page and I would be highly surprised if I received a reply trying to resolve the problem. No reply would just confirm the notion that Tiger Airways customer service is sub standard!



  12. Yes Tiger airways seems to suck. They have been unjust and non-compassionate to me and my family. The ticket we bought had stated ‘be at the airport 45 minutes before departure’ or so, and we were at the airport at 45 minutes before departure. However, we were not in the area of the Tiger customer service.. anyways due to finding the parking and reaching the stand, we were 7 minutes behind the 45 minutes in terms of the checkout point..
    long story short, due to being 7 minutes late (maximum of 7 minutes) we were not allowed to go on the plane.. even tho no one had boarded the plane yet, and we saw all the people on the line.. they made the excuse that the paperwork was too hard to manage.. Praise be to God that I am not in need of them sustaining my life, cause those bastards are unmerciful. They ended costing us 450 dollars. People be warned they are scammers and criminals (even if it be justified by the Australian Legal system).

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