TRAVEL | Tigerair Australia operates between eight to ten (depending on the day) flights daily between Sydney and Melbourne (and vice versa). The Tigerair Australia fleet currently consists of 11 Airbus A320-200 aircraft and 4 Boeing 737-800 (“737”) aircraft, with a progressive transition planned to a wholly 737 fleet over the coming years. The plane that is the subject of this write up is the 737.
Online check in using your computer, tablet or mobile is the easiest option when flying domestically with Tigerair Australia. It opens 72 hours prior to your scheduled flight departure, and closes 1 hour prior. If you can’t check in online, the process at the airport is quite efficient as there are self service check in counters. If you’ve checked in online but have checked luggage, you can use the self service kiosks to print bag tags before dropping them off at the bag drop. If you don’t like any of those options, traditional staffed check in counters are also available, but do be aware that the lines can get quite long during peak times.
Do note that seat selection attracts and additional fee – you can pay for it when you buy your ticket . If you don’t want to pay, you’ll be allocated a seat at check in.
Checked luggage is not included with Tigerair Australia Economy tickets when flying domestic, however you can bring on to the cabin one main item and one small item. Basically a small cabin sized suitcase and a regular hand/carry bag. The combined weight of both can’t exceed 7kg.
You can purchase additional cabin allowance and checked luggage, and the best time to do this is when booking, as it is cheapest. If you don’t pay until after you’ve booked, it will increase the cost of the flight substantially, and in most cases will negate the value proposition of choosing Tigerair Australia over a full service Qantas or Virgin Australia flight.
Service is friendly and efficient, and the staff help ensure that all the luggage that’s been brought into the cabin fits where it needs to if space is getting tight.
The Tigerair Australia Economy cabins on the 737 that flies from Sydney to Melbourne features 186 seats, in a 3-3 layout. 36 of these seats are extra legroom seats – an optional extra available at the time of booking. There are enough flight attendants around so getting the attention of someone should you need assistance isn’t an issue. Colour wise it’s white, grey and orange, keeping in line with Tigerair’s branding. Lighting is on the warmer end of the white balance spectrum, and everything nice and clean.
The leather seat has dimensions of about 76cm x 45cm. Like any economy seat, it doesn’t recline that far back, but it’s no better or worse than the competition. It’s a small seat, noticeably smaller than that offered by the competition, but for a short flight like this it’s perfectly acceptable.
There are small armrests, and a plastic sleeve built into the back of the seat in front to place a few things. There’s not enough space to get any productive work done, but the little clip on the back of the seat which acts as a holder for your phone or tablet is thoughtful and handy.
There’s no USB or power sockets so make sure any devices you want to use on the flight have enough juice.
There’s no in-flight entertainment, so make sure your phone or tablet is loaded with something to watch, play or listen to, or bring a book along. There is an in-flight magazine, Tiger Tales, in the holder at the back of each seat with an assortment of interesting articles, including a food column “Feast” written by yours truly.
Food is not included with Tigerair Australia flights, however you can purchase food on board. For a number of meals, you can also order beforehand when you book. Think things like toasties, snacks, chocolate, fruit, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It’s quite expensive for what it is, and given the short distance of this flight, you’re best eating before or after, or bringing your own snack on board.
Being a short haul domestic flight, there are no additional amenities provided beyond the Tiger Tales travel magazine.
Given that the flight is barely more than one hour, when flying from Sydney to Melbourne and vice versa, price is the primary consideration for me – amenities and being supremely comfortable just aren’t that important. Tigerair Australia is a budget airline and, compared to other low cost airlines around the world it does a pretty good job and doing what it sets out to do. The only real problem I’ve ever had with Tigerair Australia is delayed flights, which do occur more than with the competition, but again you get what you pay for.
If one of the other domestic airlines is offering a deal which makes it only slightly more expensive than Tigerair Australia, I’ll generally choose that option, however under normal circumstances with usual pricing, or when can get a great Tigerair Australia deal, I have no issue flying them.