Tigerair Express Fare Is Just Another Way To Gouge You With Fees

Like any low-cost carrier, Tigerair makes a lot of its money from extra fees for selecting seats or being the first to board the plane. Its new Express Fare option for domestic theoretically offers a slight discount if you choose more than one of those at once — but in reality it’s just a way to get you to pay even more fees.

The Express Fare option packages the ability to choose your seat and priority boarding (which Tigerair calls “queue jump”) in a single bundle. Tigerair says this is about 10 per cent cheaper than if you buy them individually.

I’m not actually convinced. Tigerair previously charged $5 to select a standard seat on flights under 1 hour 45 minutes, and $6 for longer domestic flights. (Exit rows or seats nearer the front cost more.) The “queue jump” option costs $3 regardless of flight length.

However, the charge I was offered for Express Fare with a standard seat on a short-haul flight was $10 — which is more than the $8 charged for those items individually.

Even if it was cheaper, I’m not convinced it’s worth it, especially the queue jump option. The main reason to board an aircraft early is to ensure that you can store your carry-on luggage, but Tigerair has strict limits which it enforces with gate checks. It’s also meaningless if you have to get on a bus to reach the aircraft. The plane won’t be leaving without you, so what’s the benefit?

Seat selection is also questionable (unless you’re so tall that an exit row is essential). If you don’t pay for it, there’s a chance you’ll end up in a middle seat — but if you’re travelling in a family group, that might happen anyway.

Bottom line? I wouldn’t pay for those options. Note that they’re now highlighted as the default when you book, so be sure to switch to “Light” if you don’t want to pay for them. If you do fly Tigerair, be sure to be careful with your luggage choices and pay for them in advance — its airport baggage fees are ludicrously high.

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