Tigerair Australia has upped its game in recent months, announcing new partnerships with Flight Centre and Booking.com, debuting new uniforms, and officially taking off from Melbourne's new T4 terminal; the low cost carrier also just unveiled the first of three B737s to be branded in Tigerair livery, with the planes to be based at Melbourne Airport ahead of the airline’s first nonstop services to Bali, launching end of March 2016. But how does the carrier rate where it matters most: in the air? MARK HARADA finds out.
Date: 10 Jan 2016
Scheduled duration: 1h 25m
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Formation: 3-3 (180 total seats)
Seat: 1C (aisle)
Check-in: I’m a little excited to be departing through Melbourne’s new Terminal 4 for the first time, which from the outside looks great.
Although Tigerair’s check-in counters lie at the far end of the terminal, there’s a separate self-service area a tad closer, which helps just that little bit when you have a lot of luggage.
Inside, the security area opens up to a large retail zone which includes the usual fast food outlets as well as a couple of cafes and bars and the ubiquitous Boost Juice. There’s also ample seating including some funky looking stools.
Boarding begins in the main building but then winds its way down what appears to be a makeshift external corridor. Given the slickness of the rest of the terminal, I expect this is a work in progress.
Luggage Allowance: To the irritation of some, Tigerair will preselect 20kgs of checked luggage for all flyers at a cost of $17. However, the carrier does offer a wide range of other options ranging from $14.50 for 15kgs to $42 for 40kgs. Passengers are allowed up to 7kgs of carry-on luggage, which can be increased to 12kgs for $18.
Seat: A front row aisle seat is the best seat in the house, so I’m super comfy on this flight. For just $20, it’s not a bad return on investment either. The soft fabric seat has a pitch of 30 inches and width of 18 inches. The guy next to me is not wrong when he says there’s “loads of room”.
Onboard Catering: Passengers can purchase meals online or one in the air. My Rowie’s Cakes vegan toastie is a real treat, which I savour to the last bite, while some accompanying pringles and a juice goes down well too.
Inflight Entertainment: BYO. Or the Tiger Tales magazine, which is a fine read.
Service: Speaking confidently and clearly, the well dressed flight attendant asks me if I’m travelling to Sydney. It may sound obvious but I guess it ensures no one gets on the wrong flight. Between bending down to greet kids and assisting elderly passengers, the crew member even manages to help those in the front rows get their luggage into the overhead bins.
On-time performance: We take off late, but touch down ten minutes early.
Favourite thing: Once again, Tigerair Australia’s service really stands out. Not only is the crew great with passengers, but it’s clear to see they’ve a great rapport with one another too, which is always nice to see.
Flight tip: Tigerair has a strict carry-on policy, so be sure you’re under the 7kg cabin baggage limit to avoid extra charges at the gate (and provoking the ire of passengers who may be looking for overhead space).
Tigerair’s Express ticket allows flyers to jump the boarding queue and choose from an upfront or standard seat.
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