Tiger tiger burning bright

Readers will know that I’m not a big fan of Tiger Airlines. Still, sometimes they offer the best time of travel or such large savings that you are tempted. And tempted I’ve been to travel back from Canberra to Melbourne tomorrow night.  Having reflected on how stupid it if of Tiger to ‘cut costs’ by doing things that add to their costs (like not allow people to check in on line) I got to the counter the last time I had the misfortune, and was informed that because I’d not checked in on line (I guess they’d told me to in clause 378 of the contract I’d agreed to, because I certainly didn’t receive any email from them reminding me to) I had to pay them $20 for seat allocation at the airport.  I stacked on a tantrum and was in fact, and I’m speaking physiologically here, completely enraged with the well known hormone enragus totalis coursing through my system. Anyway it made no difference and I had to cough up the extra dough. Now I have got myself my boarding pass for tomorrow night’s trip. So I have a question to ask. Tiger take great pleasure in chucking their passengers off the plane if they don’t turn up an hour before it goes (OK they don’t chuck them off, they just don’t let them on-board). The principle here is that they are a discount airline, so if they can’t make someone’s life miserable, they can’t be doing their job. Anyway, there’s been some relenting, and they now say on the boarding pass and I quote.

We love being on time! To help your flight depart on time, please ensure that you’re through security and at teh departure gate 45 minutes before flight departure.  If you don’t you’se can get stuffed.

OK I added the last sentence.  Anyway, what do you think will happen if I turn up with 30 minutes to go? Does anyone have any knowledge of this brave new world of customer service that Tiger is entering?

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Alexander Sadleir
13 years ago

As it turns out, the airline is strict with its policy of shutting check-in 45 minutes before boarding because the staff that check passengers in are the same staff that board passengers onto the flight.

Re-opening check-in for the late-comers would delay boarding and delay departure, unfairly punishing all passengers.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/travel/tiger-airways-not-so-vicious-after-all-20100331-rdv7.html

The Worst of Perth
13 years ago

I have seen those airline shows where numerous people turn up late and start screaming that they should be allowed on the plane. I always wonder why they don’t turn up on time. A bit like complaining about speeding tickets. Perhaps travelling at the speed limit could be a radical solution to the problem?

When the airline says get there an hour before your flight or you won’t be allowed to board, I tend to get there more than an hour early. I’m not sure what grounds there are to complain if you don’t. Consider paying for another ticket as a “get your shit together tax”.

John B
John B
13 years ago

1. @Alexander Sadleir. OK, so the staff have two sequential tasks to perform. Does it really take 45 minutes to walk from the check-in counter to the plane and get the already-vetted queue of travellers through the door of the plane?

2. @ The Worst Of Perth. If you agree that 45 minute stuffing around is time well spent, then I suppose that your comment makes sense. Otherwise, the correct analogy regarding speeding drivers would be: Driver booked for running a red light. Driver not happy, because the ligt had remained red for 45 minutes, simply because Tiger Air thought that it was a good idea.

13 years ago

John B @ 3,

Sadly, one hears all to often at airports after checkin. “Would passengers Nitwit, Dopey and Slowpoke please proceed to boarding gate X, your plane is ready for departure.” I guess, if one could guarantee that all passengers could be gotten on the plane in fifteen minutes without having to allow for a couple of little late ones then the forty five minutes could be relaxed.

Having said that, I have used Tiger only once in Australia. Service at Adelaide was good, but at Melbourne not so good. Let us say that I would not begrudge paying a bit more to Qantas, Virgin or Jetstar ahead of Tiger out of Melbourne. There is some point at which paying a ‘cheap’ fare is just pointless.

Were Nicholas to make an estimate of the cost to his nerves of travelling with Tiger and add that to the ticket cost, he might find that he is really paying something like the cost of a (so called) business class ticket on Qantas.

13 years ago

I always wonder why they don’t turn up on time. A bit like complaining about speeding tickets. Perhaps travelling at the speed limit could be a radical solution to the problem?

Given that the speed limit in Sydney is about to drop down to 40 (presumably in the hope of shaking out a fine bit of extra revenue) you have answered your own question. People don’t turn up on time because they are traveling at the speed limit.

Forgive me, that’s just Sydney, I do read widely and have it on good authority that there are cities out there with a working transport system.

via collins
via collins
13 years ago

Love to know how you went Nick.

I recently took the Tiger experience, and there is simply no chance I would do it again. Speaking first to the new wording on the “boarding pass”, I like the imposition upon the customer to “clear security”. Never in my life, outside of Heathrow, which is now and forever the exception to any notion of airport efficiency, never have I seen a security line as deliberately slow and disinterested as that I experienced at the Melbourne and Brisbane Tiger gates. They both had two scanners powered up, and they both had one unmanned. The passengers queues were absurd, and only when you actually committed to clear security and enter a line, could you see how long the queues really were. Very canny use of dividers!

I found, as you obviously have, that in the many hours spent being held over by the “airline”, you can ponder long on the actual economy at play – how many services can be removed until the commonly accepted practise of air travel simply collapses. In the early hours of the experience, I was actually admiring the notion of removing things like, oh, windows, customer service, space etc etc from the Melbourne “terminal”. Like you, I was informed that not having checking in on-line, I would be paying $25 per person to check-in. I simply smiled and replied there was no chance of my paying extra, and in any case, as I was travelling with my family, and carrying a large suitcase I needed to check in, why would I checkin on-line? In my case, I had received an e-mail with the option, but I chose to ignore it.

The young lady rattled out some policy for a while until I suggested a little loudly, “NO! I won’t be paying, let’s get my family checked on shall we?”. She capitulated with diginity and grace, which I appreciated. And I wondered to myself, “How the heck does this work when they’re training the poor kids? Are they instructed to hold a company line until the customer looks like combusting?” I never came anywhere near combusting, but was simply firm until common sense prevailed. I felt very sorry for the young lady.

But not as sorry as I felt for myself and my family when we undertook the return flight from Sydney. I’ve not detailed that in writing as yet. If anyone’s interested, please reply, and I’ll roll out the sorry tale…