I’m sitting in a queue waiting for a Tiger plane from Melbourne to Perth. There’s a good chance you’ll not get on the plane if you don’t arrive 45 minutes early. They’re a budget airline you see. Well this is all very well, but in a thin market like ours when they often have flights at convenient times that others don’t, they could make plenty of money by selling me some right to express treatment and an ability to turn up with 30 minutes to go. My preferred airline Virgin is very good for this, while Qantas is a bit dodgy – you can miss a plane if you get to check in 29 minutes before departure.
Anyway, what really pissed me off was turning up to this barn in Melbourne with a huge queue. Now it is now Tiger may be a budge airline, but it’s also a BIG airline – a big airline travelling to a whole lot of cities around the world. So I’m finding it hard to believe that it is anything but bone stupidity that leads them not to invest in a system where I can print my boarding pass out at home and walk on board when the plane boards. This won’t just save me time, but it will save them wages (trust me it will). So would those little stations where you put in your credit card and it ferrett’s out your boarding pass and prints it out for you – with nary a human, and nary any wages getting between you and your boarding pass.
Right now it seems like a lottery. I turned up with an hour to spare and ran into a queue of about a hundred people with three people checking them in. There was another queue moving faster so I moved into that – having looked around for signs telling me what was special about it – there were none. It turns out it was a queue for Adelaide – but if you weren’t there for the announcement you had to find out by osmosis. Anyway, when I got to the front I refused to go back to the other queue and soon enough Perth started becoming an urgent queue. Meanwhile both the Adelaide and Perth planes were delayed anyway. I generally like to save money for clients – in particular the government – but I’m afraid we all have our limits. Only when I have to will I do this again. The waiting around is bad enough but the stupidity is more than I can bear.
I saw some figures showing that Tiger does radically worse than other carriers on customer complaints. If that’s for being a budget airline how come the other budget now budgetish airline – Virgin Blue – does a fair bit better than Qantas? As with cars a long time ago, higher quality can lower costs. It certainly can with customer printed boarding passes.
PS: this was my last Tiger ticket. It was a return ticket. The return trip is 2 hours late.
PPS: The return trip being 2 and a half hours late by the time people had been loaded, it was discovered that as many as seven passengers had had enough and were no-shows. So that meant we waited another hour while about three not very highly motivated baggage handlers dawdled around until the seven sensible passengers’ luggage was removed from the hold. I got home at 4.45 am. Like I said, never again if I can avoid it.