Is Tigerair Really That Bad?
Tigerair has a poor reputation, but it is not completely warranted

Tigerair has built a reputation in Australia as a cheap and no-frills airline. However, a lot of the feedback and reviews suggest that customer service is poor. Often, there are reports that customers have terrible experiences. Poor experiences include cancelled flights, delayed flights and extra costs at the airport. But what is the reality of Tigerair, and what do you get for your money?

Is Tigerair really that bad?

Tigerair is a basic and budget airline in which you get what you pay for. However, I believe the reputation it has built in Australia does not necessarily reflect the reality. There is no such thing as a ‘fail-safe’ airline, every airline will have its issues from time to time. If you understand what you are paying for and arrive on time at the airport there will be no nasty surprises.

So, let’s break down the causes of this poor reputation. This article will go into depth about how you can avoid a negative experience when flying with this budget Australian airline.

Why Does Tigerair Have Such A Negative Reputation?

With the world of social media we live in, everyone has a platform to voice their opinions. It is human nature to speak about negative experiences, rather than positive ones. As mentioned earlier, every airline is going to have its issues and even the most premium ones are not fail-safe. But there are some big differences.

I believe the biggest difference is the response from the different airlines that results in the negative customer experience. Airlines such as Qantas and Virgin Australia spend a lot of money on customer service and positive PR. Much more so than Tigerair.

Tigerair has a business model built around high volume of customers with small margins on flights and rock bottom costs. This means that they cannot afford to spend as much money on staff such as flight attendants to handle customer complaints in order to turn a profit. This results in lower satisfaction of the airline and customers heading to social media to vent their frustrations.

One poor experience can reach hundreds of people through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This doesn’t include word of mouth, which can cause a ripple effect of its own. This is essentially how Tigerair has gained its reputation over the years.

What You Get for Your Money

White and Yellow Tigerair Airplane
Tigerair is a budget no-frills airline, however there are ways to have a good experience

When booking a flight with Tigerair, it is important to know what you are getting for your money. The airline is notoriously strict with its policies, and not understanding what you are getting can lead to a poor experience.

It’s important to know that the biggest difference between budget and premium airlines is the frills. Tigerair is a true budget airline. As such you are purchasing a seat on the flight and nothing more. You are best to book with Qantas or Virgin Australia if you are after a flight with more added extras.

Don’t expect checked baggage, in flight snacks, entertainment and seat requests for the base price. if you want any of these they will cost extra. It is important to factor these costs in when booking compared to the flights that will have these included. Read my article on saving money when booking travel to get more tips on this.

Personally, I am a light flyer. I like the challenge of fitting everything I need into a carry on bag. This way I can have a cheap flight with an airline like Tigerair and not have to worry about additional costs being charged. Planning is vital to making this work, you really need to be ruthless in your packing. What do you really need in your suitcase?

Having A Good Experience on Tigerair

The biggest complaint I hear with Tigerair is around the check in. Being on time and arriving before check in closes is vital. From the Tigerair website, check in opens 2 hours before departure and closes 45 minutes before take-off. If you arrive late you will not be able to check in and will need to buy a new ticket. You should be at the boarding gate 30 minutes before departure and the gate closes 10 minutes before take-off. Once again, the airline will not wait, and a new ticket will need to be bought.

It is very important to understand these rules in order to have a good experience. If the airline waits around for customers not on time it can delay the flight and will have a chain effect on the ones after. This will cause even more poor experiences for the customers who were on time.

I believe the most of the complaints are due to customers not understanding these strict rules. They arrive late and are denied check in or miss the boarding. This then culminates in a poor experience, and the lack of customer service mentioned earlier does not help resolve the issue. Numerous customers, myself included have had no issues flying with Tigerair.

I flew from Brisbane to Melbourne on Tigerair. My flight was on time and departed with no issues. The service was basic, but I knew this would be the case. The cabin crew were friendly and welcoming. I got what I paid for.

If you know the rules and are punctual, you should not have any issues with Tigerair. Aside from this, a cancelled or delayed flight could cause issues. This is totally out of your control, so here is what to do in this case.

What to Do If A Flight Is Cancelled or Delayed

Cancellations and delays are going to happen. It is frustrating and painful, however Tigerair has a clear policy in place for when this happens.

On Tigerair’s website, the compensation policy states that the number one goal of the airline is to get the customers to their destination as quick and smooth as possible. Cancellations and delays 72 hours or more before the flight takes off will be handled differently. Small time changes will incur a fee for customers to move their flight. Big time changes will have the fee waived.

By law, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides customers with rights as well. Cancellations or delays due to events under Tigerair’s control allow customers to potentially make claims. Events under Tigerair’s control include crew shortages, unscheduled airplane maintenance, overbooking and malfunction of IT systems.

It is important you know your rights under the ACL to allow you to make a claim when entitled to. This will help avoid a poor experience with Tigerair.

Overall, cancellations and delays will happen. It is not possible for any airline to deliver 100% on time flights. Bad weather is a major factor in this. In the latest government report, Tigerair had a 4.3% cancellation rate. This is the highest of any airline in Australia. Be sure to know what to do to make a claim if this happens to you.

How has your experience been on Tigerair? Let me know in the comments below!