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Carfield flying Tiger Airways from SYD to MEL

Carfield flying Tiger Airways from SYD to MEL

Old Feb 9, 10, 9:51 pm
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
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Carfield flying Tiger Airways from SYD to MEL

Just a short trip report on Tiger Airways!

This report originally is going to cover all the three major LCCs here in Australia, but due to the weather in Gold Coast and the four hours delay on my first leg, a Jetstar A330 flight from SYD to OOL, I have to cut my complete plan, but at least I get to fly Virgin Blue (but no report because I was not preparing to do one till today on the Gold Coast to Sydney segment on the Blue Zone) and fly a new airline, Tiger Airways. Virgin Blue is still very good and Tiger Airways, despite all the horrible comments, is acceptable. It is no Virgin Blue, but I definitely like flying an A320 over Boeing 737-800 even I got the same exit row window. However, Tiger Airways is undoubtedly a low cost airline with bare bone amenities and my personal view is to fly it when it is the cheapest, but if QF or Virgin Blue is only 10% more expensive, I will go with them other than Tiger Airways.

There are two links:
One is just a link towards various plane shots I took during the past few days here in various Australian airports.
Second one focuses on the Tiger Airways flights!
TT report - http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...8QbNHDNy5bqQNA
Planes – http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...8QbNHDNy5bqQPI

February 8, 2010
TT 675 SYD-MEL Lv1555 Arr1725 Airbus A320-200 VH-VNC

Tiger Airways’ website is very user friendly and I actually find it very easy to book tickets, reserve the exit row seats and all those extra amenities. They have no issue taking my US credit card. I got 13A and am more than happy with the website.

Tiger Airways has a very strict check-in policy. You can only check in two hours prior to the flight, but check-in closes right at the 45 minutes mark. Compared to Virgin Blue, similar policies but the cutoff is much later and the staffs are not there to deny you boarding and tried their best to make sure you get on the flight. That is a big different that I notice. DJ has staff managing the queue (of course DJ’s operation is larger) and constantly calling out passengers on flights departing soon. TT has one single queue, as it has no priority line. Three staffs are manning the counters at Melbourne and they are not really rude, but rather robotic and straightforward. Polite, but very indifferent, is the theme here and not like the cheerfulness you get from Virgin Blue. The check-in agent printed my bag tag, boarding pass, checked my carry on bag (making sure I am not carrying too much), and I was addressed by my first name. The agent was not smiling, but was polite.

The inbound aircraft landed early, but VH-VNC had to wait for a Virgin Blue’s Boeing 737-800 heading to Cairns pushed back first. The turnaround time was very short in Sydney. The aircraft parked at gate 39 at 3:19pm, and boarding started ten minutes later. They use both the front and rear stairs to board and deplane. That definitely saved time and I also think a very strict carry on bag policy saves much hassles. Bags were delivered timely and that is the different on why most people check their bags, except here in the USA (except Southwest, which is stellar when it comes to bag delivery). Everyone board at once and there was a second staff directing passenger to use the front or use the rear stairs. Exit rows were almost all filled and there was a briefing. Very detail and another interesting cultural footnote, most Asian and US airlines permit you to store bag in front of the seats even in exit rows, but in Australia, both DJ and TT require you to store your bags on the overhead bins, not even a laptop bag. Door was closed early at 3:48pm.

Flight information:
Really nothing much to report because the pilot just gave the usual boarding and pre-arrival announcement! I don’t know our cruising attitude or anything like that. Flying time is an hour and fourteen minutes. We pushed back slightly late due to congestion in the alley. After a long taxi towards R/W34R, we took off at 4:12pm.

Seats and Service:
The aircraft is in a spotless condition, as the plane is obviously very new. The seats are all cloth upholstered, not leather seats like Jetstar or Virgin Blue. The seat pitch looks alright for a short flight and the exit row of course gets more legroom. The F/As are definitely not as enthusiastic as Virgin Blue, and you can tell the different, as they greet you in the door. Virgin Blue F/As try to address you by your first name when you board, but the Tiger F/A just says hi and gives you functional information. The lead F/A saw my exit row seat, and immediately tells me to store everything overhead. The male F/A is nice and try to make exit row briefing a bit less bored and play with the baby a few rows behind. The other three F/As are there to do their jobs and nothing more. Smiles are perks. Virgin Blue F/As the day before were more cheerful and enthusiastic about selling food. The BOB in Tiger Airways is a bit weaker with mostly light bites and usual drinks. Not many takers, unlike Virgin Blue on a MEL-SYD late afternoon flight, and the F/As went through the cabin very quickly. The cabin service was rushed and after the short BOB time, they closed the curtain and stayed in the galley till the descending point with trash collection.

Descent began at 4:48pm and we landed on R/W16 at 5:26pm. Taxi was quick and we parked at Bay G1 four minutes later. Deplaning took a while, as the ground staff took their times in arranging the staircase, and strangely, we only use the front door. I took a few pictures as I deplaned and nobody stopped me. The lady in front of me definitely struggled to walk down the stairs. Then more walks involved towards a very basic baggage claim area. It is a makeshift open air warehouse. Definitely a very bare bone and simple operation. Bags were delivered rather quickly and that might have to deal with the long deplaning process. Terminal four was definitely unimpressive and rather basic in all aspect. I then headed towards Hilton here at the airport.

Tiger Airways is a very basic low cost airline, and completely different from Virgin Blue. Virgin Blue is a LCC, but runs with a friendlier staff and there is definitely more emphasis on friendliness and fun. Comparing TT with DJ seems to be comparing apples with oranges. As I said earlier, I will fly Tiger again when the fare is cheap, and I will still fly DJ if the price different is 15-25% more than TT. Nevertheless, I love Tiger’s planes and the width and high ceiling on the A320s are definitely better than Virgin Blue’s Boeing 737s. However, I am not sure how Tiger can survive with a definitely better run operation over on the DJ side. I sort of wish I can fly Jetstar as comparison, but my impression is that JQ is LCC, but trying to be more like DJ then the bare TT operation.

Thanks for reading!

Carfield is offline  
Old Feb 10, 10, 12:39 am
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TSV, Australia
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Thanks for the trip report.

TT sounds very different than TR to me. I always find TR slightly more upmarket feeling than AK/QZ/FD.

It's also funny how peoples perspectives on the same thing are so different. The thing I hate most about DJ is the 'mateyness'. It always seems forced and fake to me.

Give me polite but functional any day.
camsean is offline  
Old Feb 10, 10, 6:37 am
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Thanks for the nice report and photos!
sobore is offline  
Old Feb 10, 10, 10:11 pm
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Very good trip reports! I'm glad that you are enjoyable for flying on TT out of SYD-MEL. So why are telling me about bags requirement cutoff time 45 minutes before departed flight? Is that very strict bags requirement? I didn't understand why the situations going on. Is that very extremely overcrowded who is standing wait long lines at ticket counter. You should do yourselves to give more extra time to come at airport early.
N830MH is offline  
Old Feb 10, 10, 10:44 pm
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Great idea to compare economy across the carriers, and 100% agree with the you on the Y comfort factor of an A320 vs a B737.
Maybe1 is offline  
Old Feb 11, 10, 2:12 am
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Originally Posted by camsean View Post
TT sounds very different than TR to me. I always find TR slightly more upmarket feeling than AK/QZ/FD.
Have you been to the Budget Terminal lately? They're doing their best to fix this these days...

At any rate, having flown both TT and TR, I can't say there's much difference between the two: both are acceptable when things go right and horror stories when they don't. If anything, TR's terminal in MEL is even more of a dump than KL LCC, and that takes some doing. (And it won't get any better if they shift to Avalon as rumored...)
jpatokal is offline  
Old Feb 11, 10, 2:45 am
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Good report, thanks!
aurigakb is offline  
Old Feb 11, 10, 5:01 am
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Sydney
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Wow, I couldn't quite believe my eyes to find a trip report on Tiger here on FT! I've been lucky with trips on Tiger, but be warned about the complete lack of service recovery when something goes wrong.
The 45 min check-in rule is a little strange especially when you have to wait in the windowless tin box that is T4 in MEL.
Why they can't implement OLCI is beyond me, but their presence in the Australian market is purely a way to savage JQ and by extension QF. Perhaps payback for denying SQ a place in the Aust US market.
goback is offline  
Old Feb 11, 10, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by Maybe1 View Post
Great idea to compare economy across the carriers, and 100% agree with the you on the Y comfort factor of an A320 vs a B737.
Make that 3 of us. Great TR!
mjcewl1284 is offline  

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