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Hell Aboard the Tiger: Onboard Australia’s Low-Cost Nightmare Tigerair

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Hell Aboard the Tiger: Onboard Australia’s Low-Cost Nightmare Tigerair

Hell Aboard the Tiger: Onboard Australia’s Low-Cost Nightmare Tigerair
September 03
07:38 2019
  • Flight Number: TT677
  • Route: Cairns-Sydney
  • Aircraft: Airbus A320-232
  • Reg: VH-XUH
  • Dep Time: 1055L original – changed to 1345L – ATD of 1425L
  • Arr Time: 1641L
  • Date: 13th August 2019
  • Seat: 22A

During my adventures in Australia, I got the opportunity to experience and educate myself with Australian low-cost carrier Tigerair. I was hoping that it would be more of a positive element to that in Europe, but unfortunately, I was disappointed.

I checked in to Cairns Airport at 0815L. Due to the airline’s error, they did not notify us that our flight time had changed. Original departure time was at 1055L but then changed to 1345L.

They argued that our third-party hadn’t told us but they, in fact, told us the flight time originally stated by Tigerair. Not a great start. As Cairns Airport only had a coffee shop on offer for T2 Domestic Departures pre-security, it made that wait more painful.

In this case, Tiger had definitely caught me by the tail. Then again, it could have been the third party that went wrong.

Even so, it was a big hitch into what I was hoping to be a good flight. Communication between the carrier, third party and the customer is so essential for things like this.

We checked in at 1145L, after around three and a half hours waiting around in the airport and proceeded through security. At this point, I found out that the flight will be operated by VH-XUH, a four-year-old Airbus A320-200, delivered to the carrier in August 2015. By the time we got through security, it had emerged that the flight would be further delayed until 1415L.

Boarding then commenced at 1355L, after the five-hour wait in Cairns. My seat would be a window seat being 22A.

Legroom onboard was very tight although my bag could be fit underneath just about.

Seats were quite firm so for back comfort, it wasn’t so great. Moreover, I could feel my back being kicked by the child behind me a hell of a lot more than I would on other flights. So even before takeoff, not so great, whether it was in or out of the airline’s control.

Pushback and taxi commenced at 1415L, which was to my delight having been at Cairns since 0800L! The captain then announced that flight time would be around two hours and twenty-five minutes. 

We then departed Cairns at 1425L from Runway 15. It was a powerful departure with us banking left to avoid the mountains after takeoff, providing us with a lovely backdrop of the airport as we climbed out.

Whilst we were in the climb out I took a minute to have a look at the menu, dubbed Tiger Bites. It was a very restricted menu, offering just snacks, soft drinks and alcohol.

One thing that I noticed is that on Tigerair, they do not accept cash for payment. It has to be done solely via card, accepting Visa, MasterCard and American Express only.

For those like me who have cash on them, it was quite restrictive. Just as well I packed drinks and snacks that I bought from the airport with me. On comparison to Ryanair, it was cheaper which bearing in mind the higher expense in Australia, was quite soothing. 

Not long after departure, the attendants came out to begin drinks and snacks service. One thing I noticed was their smiles. In the wake of quite an annoying day before the flight, it was nice to see very smiley attendants who seemed very enthusiastic about their jobs.

They also gave support to my mum, who suffers from travel sickness a lot so that was a nice point in the flight. Their presentation as attendants seems very laid back, with uniforms appearing to look very casual featuring a dress with a jumper.

Before we knew it we were on the cruise at 35,000 feet, where there were some stunning views of the Australian outback. Service had concluded for now, with those onboard trying to entertain themselves.

Obviously, with Tiger being an LCC, there was no element of in-flight entertainment, which for a three-hour flight can be a little boring. Luckily I had purchased a book, being David Baldacci’s Long Road to Mercy to entertain me as the flight dragged on.

This airline takes a very Ryanair approach to the way it seats people. No toilets were in the middle of the aircraft, just front and back. Seating was placed in a 3-3 single class configuration offering around seats.

The menu is even more limited than that of Ryanair, which is somewhat surprising. However, I do like the aircraft’s livery, featuring the logo of the company on the fuselage followed by the colour of tiger skin on the tail sections and wingtips.

The flight cruised on very smoothly, with little hints of turbulence every now and then. During this cruise, I came to notice a little hygienic issue.

Looking into the seat pocket, I saw that there was an array of tissues and other wastage that had been shoved to the bottom. This must have been the case of cleaners and flight attendants missing this. Pictured above, it is something that the airline should be paying attention too. Not good at all.

Before we knew it, it was time to descend into Sydney. The initial descent provided an awesome view of the Sydney marshlands and forestry, offering symmetrical satisfaction to the brain.

This descent commenced at approximately 1620L from FL350 with the captain estimating arrival before 5 pm.

Descent occurred smoothly and before we knew it, it was approach time, with us knowing that thanks to the stunning views of Sydney’s Opera House and the Harbour Bridge on the final stages.

We then touched down into Sydney at 1641L on Runway 16L to conclude the flight! As imagined, I was itching to get off after a long day of waiting around!

In-all, as someone who hadn’t come across Tigerair before, I was expecting to be somewhat impressed. But from start to finish, as a European, it most definitely gave me the vibe to that of Ryanair.

From lack of legroom to uncomfortable seats, Tigerair is, unfortunately, an airline I will be wanting to avoid should I have the pleasure to fly in Australia anytime soon.

To say I had better experience flying with other LCCs like Ryanair and EasyJet compared to this company is something that should be taken considerably seriously.

But for those with less disposable income, the model itself works and can get you from A to B domestically should you need to spend less.

But for me, I will try to fly the more legacy carriers such as Qantas and Virgin Australia in order to avoid such discomfort again. 

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About Author

James Field

James Field

James is a passionate AvGeek based in Manchester, U.K who has been actively spotting for years. James has been an Aviation Enthusiast for 8 years and has a fond likening to Concorde! James hopes to grow in the aviation industry with journalism being his primary focus.

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