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Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

Orlando, FL
posts: 9
Tiger Airways - Really that bad?


I'll be flying from Melbourne to Cairns on December 27... There is a Tiger Airways flight that's $100 cheaper and much shorter (direct instead of a 3-hour layover) than Jetstar. However, I've read absolute horror stories about Tiger, regarding cancelled flights and whatnot... We're all paid for an overnight dive cruise that leaves Cairns at 7:30 the next morning, so if anything happened we'd be in bad shape. Is Tiger really that bad?


76 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 14,296
reviews: 74
1. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?


I don't think so.. But to be fair, I haven't had a canceled or severely delayed flight.. It's my opinion that if you're looking for a 'fail-safe' airline, you're not going to find that, as *any* and all airlines can and do have their issues from time to time..

Also, don't forget that while it may appear that you read only "horror" stories or delays and cancellations, you're really only hearing about the bad experiences and not the good ones-- human nature what it is, far fewer people report on positive experiences as they are to do so with bad experiences... This isn't to discount those horror stories or say that they're not true, but only to keep it in perspective to the totality.

I think what separates these airlines is *how* they respond to these issues when they occur.. I'm not suggesting that Tiger is any better or worse than say a Singapore Airlines, but in the end, I do think that you pay a premium for a better support network with a carrier like SQ, than you will with a budget carrier..

I think that your best and most reasonable protection you can take is to schedule yourself with a "cushion".. Since you have a pre-planned, time sensitive trip on the back-end, I'd be sure that you've left ample time *just in case* something goes wrong, regardless of the airline you choose.. After that, I can't really foresee that you have any more or less control over the experience by flying with a cheaper airline than not.

Best of luck.

Travel Safe,

Edited: 11:13 pm, May 07, 2010
East Sussex, United...
posts: 4,423
reviews: 1
2. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

Only you can decide but this may help....



Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines
posts: 9,009
reviews: 1,497
3. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

Australian travellers do not, so it seems from surveys like the recent 'Choice' (Australian Consumers' Association) poll think much of either Jetstar or Tiger.

Of the two, my experience has been that Jetstar's staff are even ruder than Tiger's.

Tiger's Australia-wide punctuality seems to have improved a little in the last few days.This may be due to good weather, no plane breakdowns or it being May which is a low point (along with November) for passenger numbers and hence boarding and disembarking of passengers often takes a little less time.

There have been previous horror stories where Tiger cancelled a thrice-weekly trip from Melbourne to Rockhampton or Mackay in Queensland and passengers had to wait (say) two days for the enxt trip, with no compensation. Thankfully following pointed print media articles, this appears to be occurring rarely now if at all.

One Tiger Airways problem is that it only has nine planes based in Australia, a far smaller number than Virgin Blue, Rex, QANTAS or the latter's subdiaries QantasLink and Jetstar.

If one Tiger Airways plane suddenly requires unscheduled maintenance, delays are inevitable: of course one way to solve this when Tiger has multiple services a day (say Melbourne to Sydney) is to cancel a rotation (return trip) if passenger numbers are such that they can partly or fully be put on the next scheduled trip. This cancellation 'releases' the plane to say operate Melbourne to Cairns and return although sector lengths vary with further adverse punctuality repercussions likely later in the day if transposal of planes is not possible.

That said, my preference would be to travel by rail on the XPT to Sydney, then to Brisbane on another XPT, joining the 'Tilt Train' or 'Sunlander' in Brisbane to Cairns for a leisurely trip, but given that you are flying, I would have chosen Virgin Blue.

Edited: 7:35 am, May 08, 2010
Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin, Kakadu National Park
posts: 2,287
reviews: 162
4. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

Yes Tiger has had problems and as the previous poster mentioned it has a higher useage of its planes so a problem can have a wider effect on its services. But consider the number of flights it does a week and balance that against the stories you hear. Don't forge that QANTAS had a series of engine and operational problems a few months ago which the newspapers gleefully published. Your main problem might be booking so far in advance, they might change their schedules between now and then.

posts: 2,231
reviews: 119
5. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

Every time we use Tiger we see the staff working just as hard as any other airline to get the flight out on schedule and have never experienced a problem. Budget airlines are not our top choice for flights, but they are a great value and would use Tiger or JetStar, etc. anytime. You could always check to see what the on-time history of your flight is. I say go for it!

Destination Expert
for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
posts: 9,082
reviews: 316
6. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

we just flew Tiger in Dec...sing to Phuket...while making the reso on the internet, the screen went blank, right after putting in our credit card # and then when the screen came back up...it was a different flight. We paid for the new one, taking the son,(who had made his own flight schedule) and had him call from Sing..to try and fix the mess....no answer, so i wrote a letter, and just the other day, got a form letter saying that they do their best. I would still, tho, fly with Tiger!!The new flight was only $50 each and tried not to let that bother us, as we couldn't get ahold of anyone anyway!!!

Hong Kong, China
posts: 2,305
reviews: 138
7. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

Some (by no means all) of the horror stories are from people who brought the misery upon themselves-- checking in late (tiger check-in closes 45min before departure), complaining about being charged for overweight baggage, etc. I've travelled both Singaporean and Australian Tiger airways and had no problems, apart from noticing the general low-cost nature of it all :) I've had more problems with Jetstar Australia.

However, when things go wrong that are out of the passenger's hands, it can be pretty dire. Make sure you have travel insurance! :)

Destination Expert
for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
posts: 9,082
reviews: 316
8. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

we , actually, really didn't care, that the trip cost us more than the sing air price. but is was the frustration..the screen is blank...then 10 minutes later, the wrong flight comes up.... oh, well, the new flight was so cheap, we just didn't let it ruin our trip.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines
posts: 9,009
reviews: 1,497
9. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

In Australia, Tiger seems to be the only airline that often incorrectly reports 'live' how its flights are faring regarding punctuality or lack thereof.

Both at Melbourne Airport (Tiegr's 'Terminal 4')and on the Airport's www.melair.com.au flight status pages, Tiger's incoming arrival times are often not shown, or shown incorrectly. For its departures, the actual time is often never inputted.

I gather that this is some software problem of Tiger's, but it's funny how Virgin Blue, Rex, QANTAS and Jetstar do not appear to have the same problems.

Perth, Australia
posts: 12
reviews: 47
10. Re: Tiger Airways - Really that bad?

I've flown on Tiger four times - return from Perth - Melbourne and then return from Perth - Singapore.

The first flight (domestic) was terrible, as we were delayed at the airport for over 6 hours. Nobody apparently knew anything and just kept delaying the departure time another hour and another hour, so we couldn't even leave the airport. We were given a $5 voucher for some dinner, which at airport prices gained me a bottle of water. At least there was some kind of reparation.

The flight home was only(!) delayed by an hour.

The Singapore flights were much better, with delays of about 20 - 30 minutes on each leg.

I will fly Tiger again since the flights are so much cheaper than the competition, but only if I don't have any appointments within 6 hours or so of the posted arrival time.

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