When Tiger Airways extend it’s wing to Australia, I can see it will be good to the market in general, domestic routes in particular. As you probably know, Australian almost has no healthy competitive market- it’s just between Qantas (and its subsidiary, Jet Star) and Virgin Blue. So this Singapore based airline which only start at 2004, come to Australia 2009, surely will improve the condition. Let us see as I book my first flight with them.

Promotional Bargain

The Tiger Tail <small>Photo: Flicker</small>

The Tiger Tail, photo: Flicker

Tiger start its operation in Sydney with opening the busy Sydney to Melbourne route. Unlike Jet Star that fly to further-away-from-the-city Avalon Airport (although they start to change), Tiger flies to the-closer-more-mature Tullaamarine airport which save you around half hour trip to city. (Small fortune if you ride a cab)

The promotional campaign start with $25 one way Sydney to Melbourne – of course only for limited time. And it happen that I have plan short family holiday there, so why don’t grab this opportunity….

The Good

  1. As above, for Melbourne destination, Tiger fly to Tullamarine instead of Avalon airport
  2. The advertise campaign obey recently-changed regulation from  ASIC regarding misleading price. The breakdown of the price is $0 fare and $25 tax. Yes, that $25 promotional campaign includes tax
  3. Surprisingly, the promotional fare is not applied only to the awkward-hour, I get a decent 8:45am take off schedule.
  4. You can select your baggage allowance individually for each passenger. As you know these days having a checked baggage is a premium that you will need to pay extra, but if you travel with kid, maybe only the parent need to pay that extra and the kids pay just the basic fare. I think this is a great feature.
  5. Furthermore, you can specify the weight of your baggage, start from 15kg, 20kg, 25kg or maximum 30kg with different fee, of course.
  6. You can pre-booked the seat at booking. You literally select your chair on the plane. Tiger call this “Seat Selector
  7. You can easily booked your “Sporting Equipment” for small fee. So, playing golf in Melbourne is not a big deal anymore …

The not-so-Good

  1. You need to pay your convenience, literally.
    I was charged $54,55 described as “Convenience Fee“. This is basically a credit card surcharge if you don’t pay with Australian-issued Master Card
  2. For this promotional bargain, this is the first time that my 1 year old boy pay more ($27.27 one way) than I do ($25 one way). Just a bit funny. As comparison, Jet Star is not charging (read: Free!)  any infant (< 2 years) as long as they sit on adult lap.
  3. For using the Seat Selector Tiger will charge you $5 per passenger. I can understand you need pay premium for special seat with special leg room, but for standard chair, I don’t think it’s fare to be slugged with the fee. The basic fundamental of paying an air fare is basically to get a chair inside a plane on the route you want, so why pay again something that have been paid.
  4. Furthermore, assigning the chair yourself will reduce check-in time or at least reduce the chaos of the rush to get a chair in the plain (I have not fly with them, at this stage I am not sure whether every passenger is given a seat number during check in or just free choice first come first choose basis)
  5. A strict 45 minutes check-in closing time. Tiger even advise to come 2 hours before departure to the airport even on domestic flight. I guess this is the nature of budget airlines who hire limited hand for luggage and check-in handling.

Final Thought

Overall, I believe the existence of Tiger Airways in domestic rout in Australia will bring the price down and this is a good thing for customer. But although it is a budget airline, they cannot claim that it’s a “no-frills” airline as there are so many frills here and there around. I end up paying $40 one way included tax – still very cheap for something that take you to Melbourne within 1.5 hour, but that’s 60% extra from the expected $25 one way fare.

More story when I actually finish the journey!