Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why I Hate Tiger Airways

Here are the reasons why I hate Tiger Airways and tell people to NEVER fly with them:

1. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority suspended Tiger Airways flights for over a month starting at the beginning of July. This meant that Zack and I didn't get to spend our third anniversary together, because he was working in Sydney, and I was booked on a Tiger flight to meet him there. I should have taken the hint and learned my lesson then and there to not fly with them.

2. After the suspension was lifted, Tiger Airways started cancelling some of its routes. That meant that the flights I had already booked for my family from Melbourne to Cairns no longer existed. Thankfully, rebooking on Jetstar was only a bit more expensive, and we got there with no problems. It also meant that Morgan's and my flight to Alice Springs was cancelled. We ended up flying Jetstar to Sydney and then Virgin to Uluru, which meant that we ended up directly in Uluru instead of having to drive there from Alice Springs (that was good). It also meant that we paid double the price of our original tickets (that was bad).

And the one that really "gets my goat"...

3. Several months ago, I purchased my family's November 14 flights from Sydney back to Melbourne through Tiger Airways. Not knowing how many checked bags we would have, I didn't pay ahead for those. I knew I'd have to pay a bit more by not doing it then, but that was okay. We ended up having two, so a few days before the flight, I got online to add the baggage to our reservation. Well, Tiger Airways has no way to add it online except for when you book the flight. Instead, you have to call a phone number to supposedly get it added. The problem is that when you call, all you get is a menu of four options. No matter which option you choose or what button you press (I tried everything), the recorded voice just keeps repeating the menu options. You never get a human being, and there is no way to add your luggage.

So we headed to the airport with our two bags weighing less than 25kg each. Stupidly, I assumed that the Tiger Airways employees at the airport would be understanding and not charge us the at-airport fees, because the problem was with their system. Not only are there NO Tiger Airways employees anywhere in the airport (they contract out their work with some other company), there was no understanding. I was polite, nice, calm, etc., but nobody cared. My dad tried to reason with them as well, but it didn't work. With the at-airport charges, our two bags cost us $257.50!!! When you pay for it there, I forget how much each bag costs, but each kilogram over 15kg costs you $20. Yes, $20 per kilogram! Ridiculous. Oh, and of course there was an extra charge for using a credit card. Yeah, like I would have had over $250 in cash just sitting in my wallet for this. So maddening.

The cost of those two bags was more than the price we paid for all six flights combined!! Just to make things even more frustrating, the flight was delayed over an hour. They even got us all boarded, found out something was broken, and made us all get off because the air conditioning unit couldn't be turned on and it was sweltering in there. So we got to Melbourne two hours later than planned and had to change our itinerary all around. It ended up okay, but I'm still mad about the luggage bill.

4. Tiger Airways makes it basically impossible to contact them. The phone number gets you nowhere, they don't have an e-mail address, there are no employees at the airport, etc. Yes, I will be mailing them a letter, which may have to go to Singapore (where they are headquartered). Yes, I will fight fight fight until I get the luggage costs back. And no, no matter how cheap their flights are (and they are pretty darn cheap-you get what you pay for!), I will NEVER fly with Tiger Airways again. Long live Jetstar and Virgin Airlines! When I get to the posts about Uluru, I will tell you why those low-cost airlines are SO much better.

By the way, if you think my experience was unique, just try Googling "I Hate Tiger Airways." I am definitely not alone. I'll admit it; I was one of those sucked in by the cheap prices and thinking that nothing bad would happen to me. Wrong! I hate Tiger Airways!

P.S. If you know any secret to contacting Tiger Airways or have had experience with actually getting money back for something like this, let me know!

P.P.S. Sorry, none of my own pictures to go with this post...I was too upset on that day to take any! I copied the one at the top from somewhere else.


  1. You forgot to mention that the guy at the ticket counter was also the guy checking people in as they boarded the plane. I wonder if he was the pilot as well. It was a very shady ordeal. In your labels, or tags, to describe this post, you need to include the word 'evil.'

  2. Tried to put this on the Tiger Airways facebook page which they hid away from the public. Now trying to spread the word about their dodgy service all over the internet until i get my refund!

    Dear Tiger Airways,

    Just thought I would drop you a message on your FB page to say that I have all but given up on receiving my refund from you and will no longer be flying with Tiger Airways. The refund I am referring to is the one owed to me for the hotel accommodation I was forced to take when the Tiger Airways flight from Melbourne to Perth last June was turned around halfway and sent back to Melbourne due to safety concerns with the plane. Through no fault of my own, I endured several extra hours of flying and extra costs.

    It’s a shame that I need to post this message. I have been trying for the past 5 months to get my refund from Tiger Airways. I sent off all the necessary paperwork including a copy of my receipt and reclaim form given to me by the Tiger Airways staff. I have called the Tiger Airways call centre numerous times (when I could actually get through to an operator but after being on hold for over 20mins at a time listening to a message about how you ‘appreciate my patience’) and leaving feedback on the Tiger Airways Customer Support Portal on the website, but still no refund.

    As I fly twice a month, I have many people at my worksite of 600 employees ask me who I prefer to fly with and why. I used to say Tiger Airways and watch people recoil in horror probably because the 6 week grounding of the Tiger Airways fleet last year due to safety problems and poor service was still fresh in their mind. Now it feels like Tiger Airway’s service is slipping again due to the way I, and many others have been treated.

    Anyway, now that Virgin is hopefully taking a controlling share in Tiger Airways, the customer service will improve. Unfortunately it will not be soon enough to sway me back as a customer of Tiger Airways. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Tiger Airways representative deletes this message from the Tiger Airways FB page and I would be highly surprised if I received a reply trying to resolve the problem. No reply would just confirm the notion that Tiger Airways customer service is sub standard!



    1. So frustrating! As an update, I did have a little bit of success with contacting Peter at After a few e-mails back and forth, he offered me two $100 vouchers for flights on Tiger (of course!), but we did use them for our Gold Coast trip, and everything went okay. Good luck to you!

  3. Dear Aubree,

    It's really nice to know at least that they returned you some money (despite is voucher instead, but better than never.)

    I have the same painful experience with TR since I made the booking with them and and be automatically add on the luggage charges, which I don't need it at all.

    Their customer service care line is engaged-forever, and online "customer support" program also sucks.

    Now, I almost give away to ask my SGD 64 back, and I feel extremely upset, the reason we chosen a budget airline is because of the cost saving, now, added this SGD 64, their price is not attractive at all.

    Thanks for your sharing about your experience and thanks for the email address you given, I will try to contact them, if I am lucky enough to get their response, I will keep you posted.

    Your sincerely,

    Kai Fang

  4. Hi guys,

    I can sympathize with your situations, I literally just got back from the Tiger terminal and felt the need to post my anguish as soon as possible seeings as the tiger staff didn't want to empathize.

    I live in Perth, Australia, the new domestic airport conveniently has very minimal signage so I ended up at the other airport terminal with time to spare for check-in. To my surprise the terminal I needed was way back down the road, round a round about, to the left to the right and further back down the road.

    So when I hurriedly walked into the domestic check-in with only my carry on baggage but a minute late, I was told to talk to the tiger airline employees who were currently walking to security only a few meters away from me. I then got held up at the security check point, meanwhile tiger employees being only 2 meters away from me on the other side of the security gates.
    By the time I could get to them to them to explain my story (with 40 minutes until boarding time mind due) they straight face tell me to wait until the next flight to pay $85 to get on the flight. I had no baggage to weigh or get into the planes carrier, all my carry on luggage checked at security, all they had to do was print me a boarding pass which I've seen them print at the boarding gates for others on previous flights.

    While waiting with a group of other people in the exact same situation, to purchase a ticket to get on to the next flight, we were greeted with no empathy and no politeness from the same employees I'd previously spoken to.

    Tiger airlines are the only airline that has no internet check in for carry on luggage and no employees waiting at the check in for possible last calls. I have previously flown with tiger believing that they were the cheaper airline to fly with, but what with having to pay extra for all the standards (paying for your own chair?) and the below standard customer service, I can safely say I will not be flying with Tiger Airlines again. Safely being the operative word, they're so stingy the planes may not stay in the sky!


  5. May be you meet a bad service. In my opinion, tiger airways is cheap and have good service

  6. One minute late for a 45 minute departure call and was declined to get a boarding pass by the automatic machines. The attendant straight away said you can rebook at the desk over there.
    $80 to rebook flight on top of an original price of $59.
    Didn't actually bother to help.. Just wanted more money. I wonder how much extra is made from late arrivals?
    And since when do they need 45 for someone to checkin without baggage.
    Have now found online checkin.. But you MUST print out the boarding pass. Now

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