Tried & Tested

Tiger Airways A320 Economy

2 Mar 2010 by AndrewGough

BACKGROUND Tiger Airways is expanding its low cost model across Asia, spreading into Australia and India. It operates a single plane type, the A320.

CHECK-IN I arrived at Changi’s Budget Terminal at 1515 for my 1635 flight to Hong Kong. The budget terminal is very small compared to the three main Changi terminals, it’s more like a few marble-lined warehouses fixed together! I checked in at one of the two Tiger desks open at the time. There were no queues and I dropped off my pre-booked bag (SG$12.50 (£6) for a 15kg bag, SG$15 (£7) for 20kg rising rapidly to SG$70 (£33) for 30kg) and was checked in immediately.

I proceeded to security. On entering the hall Tiger Airways customers are sent for a hand baggage check.  Here you are checked for maximum hand baggage weight (7kg plus laptop). Anything over this is charged on the spot. Security and immigration were both without queues.

THE DEPARTURE AREA This was surprisingly comfortable with a good selection of food outlets and shops as well as free internet terminals and connections.

BOARDING Boarding takes place 30 minutes before departure so just before I walked to the gate (this is a very short distance). There is no real waiting area at the gate and a large group soon formed. At this point they opened a snaking queue system so we could line up to present boarding passes. The plane was late so once we had shown boarding passes we were put into another part of the snaking queue to get ready to board. Boarding started about 30 minutes late and we walked from the terminal to the steps of the plane.

THE SEAT The cabin is fitted in a 3-3 configuration. You can pay nothing for your seat but you’re given no control over where you sit ahead of check-in. If you want to choose a seat in advance, a standard one will set you back SG$3 while others are available at a premium. The price of other seats varies depending on where it is – the first row is the most expensive at SG$30 (£14) with the exit rows being SG$25 (£12). There is also a SG$6 (£2.80) e-booking fee. I paid SG$30 for seat 1D. As the seats are quite tight (28.5 inch pitch) it was worth the money! The seat had extra legroom and you could stretch your left leg into the galley. The only disadvantage was that the crew made the passengers queue up in the aisle for the toilet.

I was not sure how old the plane was but the cloth covered seats were certainly not new. They did recline and even had audio controls in the arm. However, I did not have a headset to see if there were any channels working.

THE FLIGHT About 30 minutes after our departure we pulled away from the gate with an apology from the captain and the safety demo. We were airborne very soon after.

About 30 minutes after take-off the crew offered a paid meal and drinks service, which in my view was reasonably priced. The most expensive item was a hot meal for SG$10 (£4.70) but there were other options such as sandwiches or a pizza slice for SG$6 (£2.90) and snacks such as crisps or nuts for SG$3 (£1.40) or SG$4 (£2). Drinks were SG$3.50 (£1.70) and alcoholic drinks SG$6 (£2.90).  

The one area that was a let down was the toilet. It felt like it hadn’t been cleaned properly between flights so a large amount of scum had built up under the seat and around the bowl.

ARRIVAL The flight landed about thirty minutes late. It was a reasonable walk to immigration which I cleared immediately, and my luggage appeared within a couple of minutes of arriving at the carousel.

VERDICT Service was good and the food reasonably priced. The seats are small so if you are tall book one with extra space.

Julian Gregory

Fact File

  • Configuration 3-3

  • Seat Pitch 28.5”

  • Seat Width 18”

  • Price A mid-week return in March starts from SG$243 (£115), not including checked baggage and other extras.

  • Contact tigerairways.com

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