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

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.


  • So if I’m flying with my 4yo daughter, does that mean I need to pay extra to be assured I’m sitting next to her? That would be bullshit!

    • Oh no, how dare they charge you extra for an unaccompanied minor they have to get a staff member to be specifically looking after…

  • The trouble with this kind of reporting is that the reporters have no idea how much it costs to run an airline! Passengers have utterly failed to understand just how cheap air travel has become and keep demanding lower and lower fares, while airlines like Tiger and Virgin keep losing money at enormous rates.

    In the years after WWII it cost more than a years salary to fly from Australia to England. Or more than the cost of a family sedan. These days you can fly on Qantas on the same route for $846 if you bother to seek out the fare. And I am talking economy airfares, not business, premium economy or first class.

    With fuel costs increasing, the imposed safety maintenance procedures and salaries it is ridiculous to expect airlines to keep reducing airline fares except that they will keep reducing them in real terms as newer technologies replace the old, as engines become more reliable and fuel efficient. Something that could further reduce airfares is a change-over to biofuels but the airline industry is so marginal that it cannot afford to make this change by itself; the community at large needs to demand that governments create the conditions for this to happen and enact legislation to make it happen.

    So cut the whingeing and start agitating with your MPs and get Australia to the forefront of new aircraft fuels.

  • If you read the conditions, and why don’t you, there is no deceit; if you are “deceived” it’s your fault. Otherwise you can report them to the fair trade authorities.

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