Clicky

badge

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Flying low cost Tigerair- My experience

Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers
I have written about Tigerair Australia ticket booking experience here. In this post, I am writing about the travel experience with Tigerair Singapore. These points are based on what I observed and experienced during my Tigerair flight from Chennai to Singapore and back.
A Tigerair A320 taxiing in Changi
Onward Journey: Chennai- Singapore
For some reason, web checkin was not available for ex-Chennai and ex-Bengaluru flights. I went to airport at the stipulated time (3 hours before departure), Tigerair counter opened a few minutes after I went inside. I joined the queue and soon my turn came. Check-in was quick n smooth. Dropped my bag, collected my boarding card (Tigerair gives a properly printed boarding card, compared to some rivals who give boarding pass on a thin paper roll) and left the counter. A moment later I realized something amiss, went back to counter as I realize that checked in baggage tag was not attached to my passport or boarding pass. Counter staff said “Just use your ticket” or something like that. I thought it must be a budget way. But later I realized others have got baggage sticker for checked in luggage- I asked ground crew to check on my bag as I was not given the tag, he asked me in which counter I checked in. I said first one and then he said- go check your ticket print out.  Apparently it was there! My bad I didn’t look carefully.

During immigration I had another unique experience. Immigration staff asked me and few other early passengers of tigerair to wait for sometime, as incoming flight has not landed yet. This is the first time I am experiencing immigration staff checking flight availability before approving/denying exit from a country. (May be they had some experience of flight cancellations resulting in re-entry of passengers and they are trying to avoid that?). We waited for a few minutes and then we were let through.
Near the gate I accidentally met Desi Traveler Prasad NP. He was also joining us from the trip but had no idea he is traveling via Chennai (since Tigerair doesn’t fly out of Delhi and one of the objectives of the trip is to experience tiger air hospitality) He took my photo and shared, but since his face is hardly available in public domain I didn’t recognize him by his face. So I got some company while we waited for boarding announcement. I am now one of the very privileged souls who have met the Desi Traveler in person and can recognize him.

Boarding was fine, departure was on time. I was reminded that I had a pre-booked meal which will be served once in air. I was asked for my preference among coffee or tea, which will be served with meal (Tigerair meal actually includes a bottle (300ml) of water and a big cup of tea/coffee, which is very nice and more that what you thought you will be getting). I had Moroccan Vegetarian meal on one flight and Tomato Koora meal on the other. I browsed through their inflight magazine, which had many articles worth reading. No compromise on this front.

Once in air pre-booked meals are served before rest of the guests. The meal was piping hot and steam was coming out as I tore open the cover. Tasted very good too. Meals are not served on a tray like in some airlines but that is fine. Did some reading and slept through rest of the flight. We landed on time and baggage collection was quick.

The return flight- Singapore to Chennai
At Singapore I could do web check-in before 72 hours for the return flight. During check-in you can buy extra baggage allowance or change your seat. I went without printout of boarding pass- there was a kiosk in the airport which I could use to print one.
I had full 2.5 hours which I used to explore the new Social Tree in T1, Sunflower Garden, Orchid Garden, Enchanted Garden, runway view toilet etc. There were some new attractions in T3, for which I didn’t have enough time. In the process I clicked this Tigerair ground crew holding a welcome placard. He was the only male crew and as I clicked his photo rest of his lady colleagues said something and laughed. I don’t know why. I guess they teased him a bit. Changi has discontinued its budget terminal few years ago, so even low cost airlines fly out of full service terminals. (There is a T4 coming up, meant for A380 and such bigger planes). Once done with exploration, I went to my gate. Tiger Plus customers, group with infants etc were allowed to board first. As we were in Aerobridge, I noticed that there were many big bags which passengers had carried as hand bag but airline preferred to check them in. Because Tigerair charges for check-in bag, many passengers prefer to manage with cabin baggage alone, even if it means moving around with a reasonably big size cabin bag. This results in plane’s cargo hold being left empty, while overhead cabins are overloaded with luggage. So cabin crew find it more convenient to collect such big bags and check them in (for free). May be this is Indian customers’ way of paisa vasool and outsmarting the airline in its own game. But this extra process eats up some time while these bags are moved to cargo hold and documentation is done. Boarding passes were returned later to passengers with check-in baggage stickers.
Three Tigerair planes as seen from sunflower garden
A few people bought food on board- they could pay using credit card as crew carry a swiping machine. No need for cash. In flight announcements were informative and standard. Crew uniform is neat with tigerair branding.

Landed on time, but it took another hour to come out of airport, due to Chennai airport's notoriously slow baggage movement.

Wanted to experience TigerConnect, but since mine was direct flight, this will have to wait.

Both onward and return flights were pretty full. I couldn’t locate a single empty seat. Obviously Tigerair is more famous than what I had thought. They advertise tactically at right places-like this one at Mustafa Centre. 
Tigerair connects to several south Indian cities like Kochi, Trichy, Chennai, Bengaluru,  Hyederabad etc. If you book at right time, you can have a Singapore return ticket for less than 10k INR. Overall a very pleasant experience. Looking forward to fly Tigerair again.

5 comments :

Rathina Sankari said...

I too did fly Tiger Air from Kochi to Singapore. A great option for a budget traveler

Rathina's View Space

Debopam said...

Thanks for sharing such a nice and informative post........

Natureram

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Rathina and Debopam

Ashwini C N said...

Mom regularly flies to Singapore in Tiger Air and luckily she hasn't had any problems so far. Once even I had to hand over my cabin baggage for the same reason mentioned.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Ashwini: Nice to know your mom had a trouble free experience all the time.

Best wishes