There is saving money and there is setting yourself up for trouble. If you fly with Tiger you are going to get fucked.
In late July a trip was planned to watch Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem perform at Festival Hall in Melbourne. The bands were going to play a double headline show and when Perth was left off the touring the schedule the choice was made easy.
Unfortunately when it came time to book the flights my curiosity got the better of me. Sure I’ve heard nothing but complaints from anyone and everyone who has had an experience with Tiger Airways but a flights a flight, isn’t it? My logic was convincing. The extra $100 saved on airfares could be blown on much more rewarding things like alcohol and material possessions. Surely that would be worth a little bit of discomfort?
I imagine the convicts shipped to Australia by the British Empire in the 1800s were treated far better than we were on that plane. I doubt convicts sat around in a waiting area for hours on end with no idea what was going to happen to them next. They would be doing more enjoyable things like being whipped or imagining how they’ll never see their loved ones again.
Quickly the $100 bonus money started to be eaten away. Want to bring a suitcase? There goes $30. Your suitcase is over weight by less than 1kg, take away another $15. Don’t have cash? Sorry, make that $20. So now that $100 bender is a $50 bender, which is still good considering the flights only a couple hours, right?
Sure the scheduled flight to Melbourne is only a couple of hours. What I forgot to consider was the hours we would spend in airport lounges, also known as purgatory for the religious readers out there, or the final season of Lost for those nerdy readers out there.
First there was faulty equipment that caused all of the passengers to have to collect their luggage from the baggage carousel and recheck it back in. This happened when we were scheduled to start boarding. We then sat in silence for another hour with no idea what was going on. Once they attempted to start boarding a security alarm kept being set off, which kept us captive for longer still.
Possibly I‘m being a little bit harsh on Tiger as every airline has computer troubles, what they don’t have are regular Tiger passengers. If you put a group of arseholes together in a confined area and fill them with alcohol it doesn’t take a genius to guess what will happen.
It was raining when we boarded. The metal stairwell proved too much of a challenge for one of the alcoholically challenged passengers who tumbled down face first onto the tarmac. We sat waiting for 45 minutes while the medical crew decided if the man could fly. Once he boarded with his severely bandaged face we were ready to take off.
Well, actually no. We were then informed a passenger was missing. The pilot explained how serious a missing passenger is, though I’m not sure how much mischief they could actually get up to considering the last plane had flown out of Perth hours before. A printed list of passenger names was produced and we were checked off. It turns out we hadn’t lost a passenger, just another 25 minutes. They had printed a passenger’s name on the manifest twice.
The pilot announced we would take off once the final boarding check was completed and a minor cheer went around the cabin. Everyone was ready to go except for the passenger two rows behind me who refused to turn off his iPhone. A shouting match broke out between the passenger and the crew member who was understandably over it as much as we were at this stage. The man was threatened with being dragged off of the plane and he reluctantly relented.
With the final obstacle cleared we took off into the blustery Perth night. As the plane creaked and groaned I started to imagine crashing back down to earth and dying in a fiery explosion. I had mixed feelings as I really wanted to watch Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem but at least I wouldn’t have to endure the return trip back to Perth with Tiger Airways. Sometimes we need to put ourselves through trauma to realise some things are worth spending a little bit extra on. Take my advice if you value your sanity do not fly with Tiger Airways.