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Tigerair review: Sydney to Melbourne

Get a flying start to the new year.

With no plans for the new year, I tagged on a friend’s holiday (sorry!) and set off for Melbourne for a chill and quiet one.

Even though it was at the last second, there were still numerous flights available for my dates, and being a budget traveller, I chose Tigerair as it offered the most affordable trip: $200 return flying out at 6am on a Monday morning and back by 11pm on the Wednesday.

Here's how it all went down.

Tigerair details

  • Route: Sydney to Melbourne, return
  • Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Flight Number(s): TT207 and TT282
  • Aircraft Type: Boeing 320
  • Dates Travelled: 31 December 2018 and 2 January 2019
  • Class: Economy
  • Frequent Flyer Program: None
  • Points earned: None

Stephanie's review: ★★★★☆

  • Cost: Flights were well priced for peak season dates.
  • Timeliness: Flights departed relatively on time, and if they didn't, an explanation was given.
  • Baggage: Tigerair is more lenient around bag checking than it lets on. Staff didn't weigh bags on my departing flight (it was only a third full). However, they did on the way back where the plane was full.
  • Check-in: The website was refusing to let me change my seat, so I eventually gave in and accepted by fate in the back row. Not the best option, to be honest.

What did I like?

  • Cost: I wasn't sure what to expect regarding flight prices given that I was booking flights two weeks before New Year's, but Tigerair took me for a 3-day trip to Melbourne for $200 return. While that's around double the typical Sydney-Melbourne fare, I feel it's fairly reasonable for the season.
  • Empty flight on the way out: My departure flight was about a third full. I still didn't get three seats to myself, but my fellow row-traveller and I had an empty seat between us, which was pleasant.
  • There was an explanation for our delay: The pilot remarked during our flight that we were going to arrive 30 minutes behind schedule due to turbulence. I don't know if this was a valid excuse, but I do know that we left on time (in fact, we were sitting on the tarmac for a while because we'd boarded so quickly) and there definitely was turbulence in the air.
  • They are sometimes lenient with weighing carry-on bags. As with every Australian airline now, Tigerair weighs carry-on luggage to make sure you comply with their weight allowances. They didn't do this on departure, but I think that's because we were only one-third full so there was no need to be sticklers about it. However, my flight on the way back was full so there was a staff member at the line to board checking those bags. This was done very efficiently, and as far as I saw, only one person got pulled aside so clearly people have gotten the message about the new rules.

What didn’t I like?

  • Legroom: These weren't the roomiest seats I've sat on, but it is a budget airline so it's not a big complaint.
  • Check-in: This was fine on the way in, but might have been because I didn't want to change my seat. On the way back, Tigerair shafted me all the way at the very back in seat 30A beside two other passengers. When I tried to change it during check-in, it kept giving me an error. I finally gave up and accepted my seat begrudgingly.

Would I use Tigerair again?

I have no great qualms with Tigerair. They're budget and they act budget with slimline seats, a strict carry-on baggage policy and charges for any on-board entertainment or food, neither of which I purchased. Would I fly with Tigerair again? At this price and service, sure.


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