View Full Version : A sting in the tail with $49 Tiger Flight

FFG 02
17th Sep 2009, 11:06
From The Age

Hadn't seen this on the TV show but wait with baited breath for the second season! Just love the last para!

A sting in the tail with $49 Tiger Airways flight | Fees | Fine print (http://www.theage.com.au/travel/traveller-tips/a-sting-in-the-tail-with-49-tiger-flight-20090909-fgu4.html)

Tony Wilson is thrilled with his $49 plane ticket but encounters some unexpected turbulence.

I'd like to get all the demurring "well, you get what you paid fors" out of the way right now. I'm especially thinking of older readers who remember when air travel wasn't just a luxury but an impossibility and it took six weeks to get to England by boat and everyone passed the time on deck playing quoits against Don Bradman, who was actually quite nice, if a little reserved and more than handy with quoit in hand.

Then, for a while, air travel became a luxury. The cutlery was heavy and the slippers white and soft. A beaming brigade of hostesses called men "sir" and women "madam" and because everyone was paying a small fortune it was only fair that passengers were offered the keys to the mini-bar. For those not old enough to benefit, it was all-you-can-drink lemonade and all-you-can-colour colouring books. Everyone was friendly and the seats were clean and the whole experience was just as pleasant as can be – for the tiny sliver of the population who could afford to fly.

Now we get handed an apple in a paper napkin. It's only as you're hovering over that tantalising first bite that you realise that the apple costs two bucks and the napkin a further $1.50. Not that I'm complaining.

We're in the post-luxury window between air fares becoming affordable and oil running out on October 24, 2016 (it's time somebody had a crack at naming a date).

For the family holiday from Melbourne to Maroochydore I pay $49 a ticket. Forty-nine dollars! A taxi to the airport costs more. A set of quoits costs more. Budget airlines are getting us there and just because they're getting us there with biscuit crumbs all over the seat doesn't mean this isn't a great leap forward. It's democratic pricing. It's an end to the bad old days of domestic duopoly. It's a few hours of discomfort as a means to a sunny end.

We decide to fly Tiger and read the ticket to learn that we have to be there a full hour before. The late arrival is the first trap for the budget-airline debutant. The carrier figures that as customers are paying less than the cost of a taxi to fly, it's only the cost of another taxi home if they're one minute late. We're 20 minutes early, which means we are in good time to find out the flight is running two hours late.

We are nevertheless invited by a grim-faced female employee to check in. My wife, Tamsin, has a handbag and a wheelie case. I have a laptop computer and a wheelie case. My two-year-old daughter, Polly, has a nappy bag and a case we are making her lug around like she is a chimney sweep in the Industrial Revolution. We also have a pram because my sister has told us that infant transportation won't count towards our 45-kilogram weight allocation. My sister should have read the fine print.

"You're over the weight," the woman at check-in murmurs. "She's two, so she's a normal paying customer. The pram counts."

We stare at the budget stroller. At $15 a kilogram, it weighs about the cost of a trip to London. We empty our bags on to the floor of the check-in lounge. Do we really need a litre of blackcurrant juice? One kilo back. Am I actually going to read the Penguin Classic edition of David Copperfield, or will I sneak a couple of peeks at Tam's Stephenie Meyer? Another kilo back.

Eventually, we come up with the masterstroke of transplanting half our luggage into our carry-on bags and, like saddle-laden jockeys tottering towards the scales, present ourselves again.

Our bags make the weight limit and after some last-minute name-tag scribbling, drift into conveyor-belt oblivion.

The next hour is largely unproductive time, during which Polly scoffs Vegemite sandwiches and I conduct clandestine searches of airport bookshops for copies of my own books. Eventually we spend half an hour trying to convince Polly that the Thomas the Tank Engine ride doesn't move, until another parent arrives and inserts $3 and gives the game away. Defeated, we give our screaming child a go and then another go and can happily report that Thomas is whirring around at the airport at the rate of 18 cents a second.

I hug Polly, trying to smooth over a further 15-minute delay with some nursery rhymes. We do Baa Baa Black Sheep. We do Mary Had a Little Lamb. We do Puff the Magic Dragon and do it with such sad conviction that nobody in the seats around will be forgiving Jackie Paper in a hurry.

Our plane is late because of fog. We aren't angry, we just want to get on the plane.

We eventually do board and we are greeted with a mashed sandwich under the seat. Still, you take the good with the bad. Someone's failure to clean the cabin also means that a Play School sticker book is stuffed among the safety brochures and that proves to be a lifesaver.

The plane behaves exactly as a plane should – taking off, landing, flying – doing the sorts of things that even the tightest of tightwads would have to admit is worth $49. We arrive in Maroochydore to blue skies, warm breezes and the exhilaration that comes from believing the travel ordeal is over and the holiday is beginning.

We don't so much mind Tiger losing our pram. It really is just an overblown pusher and it would have been a much greater disaster had they lost one of our other bags. And they are good at saying sorry. The amiable attendant on the service desk – let's call her Annika – apologises profusely and promises a nationwide search.

It will be returned to us, Annika promises. "I'll call to update you tomorrow," she says brightly. "Monday at the latest."

She calls on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The pram hasn't been found but she is so nice and attentive that it seems wrong to make a fuss. By Thursday she has become such a part of our holiday that we wonder whether to ask her over for dinner.

Annika is doing her best. Tiger is doing its best. "If we don't find it," Annika smiles, "you'll be able to make a claim. Just give it 21 days. You have to give it 21 days to see if it turns up."

A week later, we return home pramless but relaxed and happy and buoyed by the prospect of hitting Baby Bunting and getting Tiger to shout us a newer, sparklier pram. Another week passes and we hear just once from Annika. Still no pram but she is sending us a claim form.

When the form arrives, I learn that our incident number is LA70302 and that a loss adjuster called Charles Taylor Aviation has been appointed by Tiger to take over our case. The form seems to say that instead of waiting 21 days for our property to turn up, a claim has to be made within 21 days to be eligible for any compensation. I fill out the form with a sense of dread. Our notification of loss is more than two weeks late.

Did Annika make an honest mistake, or are Tiger staff being trained to encourage people to sit on claims until they expire? We send the form and wait for the inevitable.

"Dear Mr Wilson, We are sorry to hear of the loss of your pram and on behalf of Tiger Airways, we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. We note that your pram was lost on 31 May 2009 but your notification of loss was sent on 9 July 2009 ... blah blah blah ... Clause 14.2 ... blah blah blah ... We trust that the position is clear but please feel free to contact us if you require any further clarification. Yours sincerely, Charles Taylor Aviation."

I pick up the phone to call Annika then realise I don't have the energy. You'll start off chasing the Tiger, revelling in the burst of adrenalin that comes from seeing that special low fare but then they'll find ways of making you pay.

another superlame
17th Sep 2009, 12:44
I know with tiger you get what you pay for but I reckon that some of the crap they make customers put up with is downright illegal. Just because they have most inconcievable situations covered in fine print doesn't make it right.

17th Sep 2009, 20:47
couldnt agree more... if you pay $49 you get $49 dollars worth...

Travel insurance is the way to go...

17th Sep 2009, 20:50
that was just bloody good reading... quite amusing. thankyou for posting it

I'm not laughing at said persons bad experiences... i'm laughing at how rediculous this operation called 'tiger' is!!!! :ok:

18th Sep 2009, 00:55
I had one bad experience with Tiger and I will never fly with them again, if you add up all the extras, you may as well travel with QF or VB.

compressor stall
18th Sep 2009, 02:00
I remember Tony always had a good way with words when we were in English class together at high school. :ok:

18th Sep 2009, 02:07
The result of that story is that I am in the wrong business! I Should be in the Thomas the Tank Engine ride business! 18c a second!! Get one of them running all the time and you are making $15K PER DAY.

ahh the possibilities.....

18th Sep 2009, 06:13
Hopefully, Singapore will eventually give up wasting their money on this airline in OZ and close the Aussie base down. I think even the ferals will eventually give up on them.

But, if any traveller, even without the slightest clue about airline travel thinks for one moment that an airline like this is not going to screw you, you are a fool. My God, who in their right mind gets on an aircraft worth $70+ milion dollars, and thinks $49 is a reasonable and fair price to pay and thinks they will get any sort of service at all is insane.

Flying Ninja
18th Sep 2009, 09:38
Surprised that people still think the lowcosts are cheap and offer service.
When I did try them, I found the other two just as bad. They always look for alternative revenue sources! Traps for the unwary ,stings in the tail all around.
Remember being conned by one over a unused ticket to the point where it had expired."Sorry, that one has now expired.Would you like to buy another?"
"Yeah,but, what about the airport taxes on the expired one? Are you going to keep those as well? Isn't that illegal? "
One told me that they were full and that if I wanted to bring an extra carry on with me I would have to buy a seat.So they charged passenger/terminal taxes as well and it ended up sitting alone in the row behind as the flight was less than half full. Was the bag listed on the GD as a passenger?

How many were duded for taxes as well as fares when thay turned up late and lost tickets?
Don't forget that the service carriers have reduced fares to fight the lowcosts.
Soon the lowcosts will attempt to provide some service to fight the service carriers because they can't lower fares anymore.Then they'll raise the fares!

You want service, fly a service carrier.
You want Loto...fly.....

Ascend Charlie
18th Sep 2009, 09:57
Well, we had a great return trip with Tigger between Melbourne and Maroochy, with no problems and no delays.

As long as you don't mind riding with ferals, the price is about 55% of Jetspar and Urgin' Spew.:8

Union Jack
18th Sep 2009, 10:02
FFG 02

Oops! You seem to have missed a bit from the original article, so there really is a sting in the tail:

Tiger responds:

In Tony Wilson’s case there was a procedural error as he should have been given a claim form on the day his pram went missing, not at a later date. Given in this instance it was a genuine error on our part, we have contacted Tony directly to apologise again and have offered to compensate him for his missing pram.:ooh:


PS Heard a buzz that you were due to be scuttled this month - hope you're OK!:ok:

18th Sep 2009, 10:03
Rumor is that Tiger crew will be required to grow mullets in the near future to further enhance the airlines image ....

FFG 02
18th Sep 2009, 10:30
PS Heard a buzz that you were due to be scuttled this month - hope you're OK!


I knew it was coming eventually. Makes me feel old but will be nice to dive on the old war canoe 02!

FFG 02

18th Sep 2009, 11:13
What I'd like to know is what happened to the missing pram and how many prams (on average) go missing on Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue flights?

18th Sep 2009, 11:19
Hopefully, Singapore will eventually give up wasting their money on this airline in OZ and close the Aussie base down. I think even the ferals will eventually give up on them.

I think thats a bit harsh mate. In the end, it's aussie jobs on the line, alot I'm sure of ex-Ansett crew as well...it's never nice to see anyone lose their job.

They seemed to have opened up a whole new market for airline travel in this country, be it alot different to what we have ever seen, and although a lot of people don't agree with the way they run their ship, in the end people aren't forced into buying tickets with them.

Eastwest Loco
18th Sep 2009, 11:25
If you travel regularly on domestic and international services, take out an Annual Frequent Traveller policy.

It covers you (and spouse + dependant kids under 21 when they are travelling with you) for unlimited medical, cancellation, luggage to a limit and up to $4000.00 excess on rental cars. The last alone will save its cost if you only travel within Australia. It also covers a bucketload of other stuff too.

Using LCCs ona regular basis, you would be mad not to have a cover.

Give me a yell if you need one.

Blatant touting, but something that is not well known. PPRuNers get at 20% discount off book value which brings it at $625 for the year.

Best all


Oh Me Oh My
18th Sep 2009, 11:39
Age old adage yes but still on the money I despise LCCs as they have destroyed what used to be a thoroughly worthwhile experience.

Union Jack
18th Sep 2009, 12:35
Makes me feel old but will be nice to dive on the old war canoe 02!

FFG 02 - I know what you mean - very few of mine are still afloat, and one as a museum! - but, looking on the bright side, you should have squatter's rights.

Good wishes


18th Sep 2009, 13:55
FFG 02. You have a new toy to play with!!! I saw ex HMAS Canberra tied up near the Anzac bridge looking rather lonely. When they sink it FFG 02, put on your Jstar sluggos and go for a dive!!:ok:

21st Sep 2009, 06:10
Tiger must have got their staff from ex Telstra employees!

21st Sep 2009, 07:02
Bogdan, one of my favourite characters out of the radio of old, although somewhat dim in the memory. Orphan boy, I think, adopted and raised by Bulgarian turnips. Sort of a Soviet-block Tarzan.

As regards (relatively) cheap air travel, I have not been able to fault DJ. And that's over a significant number of flights in the past 4 yrs. I used to fly Ansett and still would if they existed. Defaulted to QANTAS but, after they lost my bags three times on the trot on the same sector (eventually recovered - to be fair), I thought bugger this and tried VB. No complaints at all.

I will now only fly QANTAS if there is no alternative; wouldn't touch Jet with a barge pole - never have, never will. I've found a product that, while it's a compromise when compared with Ansett, delivers pretty good service for the dollars shelled out. It's a balance - I don't expect the earth (Ansett), but get reasonable value for the dollars spent. I really can't ask for more.

Maybe that's the problem with Tiger - I don't know, as I've never flown with them. If it's too cheap to be true, then maybe it is too cheap to be true.

Whiskey Oscar Golf
21st Sep 2009, 13:34
As an aside, it is important to note that while you have lots of fine print in contracts from these people, who will like to quote it ad nauseum, civil law will often overrule some of the more unjust/unreasonable clauses and when tested they'll run a mile. Don't be put off by "the fine print" if it's unreasonable then it's unreasonable to the courts too, and judges fly as well.


22nd Sep 2009, 01:49
I reckon the pram was nicked off the baggage conveyor by one of the onboard mullets on the same flight.

22nd Sep 2009, 02:29
There are some good things about Tiger. Their A319s are all brand new and super quiet compared to some of the old Jetstar ones 320s. Do those things autoland, or are the pilots super good? Because everytime I fly Tiger I dont even realise when the wheels touch the ground, but with Jetstar its alwayus a fair thud.

I wonder how the singaporaians percieve Jetstar Asia...

22nd Sep 2009, 04:54
Jetstar Asia is 51% owned by a Singaporean businessman (a Qantas proxy) and 49% owned by Qantas. For all purposes and intents, it is an Australian airline using a Singapore AOC to operate. Obviously Singapore's civil aviation authority realises this and accepts it. It was Temasek Holdings that sold its stake in Jetstar Asia to the Singaporean businessman anyway, so the Singapore establishment at large accepts this.

Jetstar Asia has already been competing with SIA for rights given to Singapore carriers. As a Singapore carrier, Jetstar Asia can use Singapore's very liberal rights to Europe, including operating unlimited frequencies to Stansted or Luton or Gatwick or Manchester if they so wished. Jetstar Asia's CEO said they're looking at operating medium to longhaul services from 2011 using A330s.

The average man in the street in Singapore probably doesn't care who owns Jetstar Asia, and will be pleased with the cheap fares that competition brings.

Qantas through Jetstar Asia has far more to gain from Singapore than SIA through Tiger Australia. Qantas through Jetstar Asia gets all of Singapore's rights to the EU (nearly open skies except France and Germany), soon-to-be ASEAN open skies, and nearly unlimited third and fourth freedom rights to China. That's India, China, South East Asia and the EU - more than half the world's population.

SIA through Tiger Australia gets...... 21 million people spread across a vast land mass.

Go figure who got the better deal!

Mista Uzi
25th Sep 2009, 14:39
Tiger must have got their staff from ex Telstra employees!

No try retrenched employees from Qantas and Ansett trying to make a living back in the industry in the GFC

26th Sep 2009, 04:03
Figure out who got the better deal? Jetstar operating A330s to Europe is all in the future and may or may not be a licence to print money. Australian traffic to Southern Europe has already switched to flying on Emirates and now Etihad - I think Jetstar has been scratching their head about how to serve Southern Europe for so long that they are leaving it too late. Routes to India already have so much capacity. There are new Indian carriers flying to SIN all the time - Kingfisher and Jet adding services. Jetstar tried Bangalore. I think current Qantas group policy is not to duplicate Qantas exisiting services, so not even into Stansted. Surely, even the 787 is not the right aircraft for a low cost operation to London, even if it has the range?

Meanwhile, Tiger has been in Australia for five minutes. On SYD-MEL they have come from nowhere to nine times a day. If they make friends with Brisbane Airport, they can start to build up the daily frequencies on the important short haul routes in SE Australia. If they start to sell day return business trips to people who travel at short notice, they will make money now, not in a few years time. If Virgin Blue feels the need to reinvent their inflight service, guess what, Tiger can do that as well, accepting that they want to keep things simple. Remember Easyjet is now an accpted way of travelling for business meetings.

Australia may be a country with only 21 people. It happens that Adelaide (1m), Brisbane (1m), Melbourne(3.5m) and Sydney (3.5) have 9 million of those people within an area the size of France. The distances are just a bit too far for Very High Speed Trains to be competitive. So, once Tiger have got the frequencies between those four cities, and add in Perth they should be happy. If they keep their fares at a nice price, there will be some cost conscious business travellers who will be able to fly more often.