Friday, 1 October 2010

No-Frills Flying Experience

There's a no-frills airline called Tiger Airways that is based in Singapore and flies to mostly Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

I booked a ticket online to Singapore and overall the website experience was fine, except that they don't take American Express.

Slightly annoying, but got the ticket via another credit card.

This morning I got to the Airport Express in Central to find there was no counter there for the airline and I'd have to go to the airport first. 

So I hopped on and checked my ticket and it said to go to T2, Terminal 2. I got off and make my way to this relatively new area of the airport. It's basically another area to check-in more passengers and then reconnect them back to Terminal 1 to get to their respective gates.

There's a long line at the check-in counter, but it goes quite fast.

I had already notified the airline online that I didn't have any luggage to check in, as my small suitcase is usually fine for these short-haul flights. Also Tiger Airways slaps a HK$150 fee for checked-in baggage. This is how they nickel and dime you. They also make you pay for making a seat selection too.

Anyway, when I get to the gate to board, a staff member tells me my suitcase is too big and I have to check it in. "Do I have to pay?" I asked.

No was the answer. Huh. Maybe I'll do this every time I fly this airline then.

So I get on board and overall the plane looks fine, but a bit tired, with a few seat covers looking worn down, the toilet seat could do with a replacement.

I should have known this earlier, but there was no food on the plane -- unless you paid for it.

There was chicken rendang, braised chicken with mushrooms, and then beef stew, each for S$8. Sandwiches were S$6. Drinks were S$3 or if you had it with a mean it was S$2. What a deal!

I was totally starving so I caved in and got the beef stew, which was fine, but obviously hardly enough for lunch.

The strange thing was that the flight attendants refused to accept foreign coins and would only give change back in Singapore dollars. 

If you are doing this Hong Kong - Singapore route often, why not give back change in HK dollars? And why this policy of not accepting foreign coins? Seems strange.

So the flight attendant didn't have enough change to give me and said she would give me back the 10 Singapore cents she owed me. And actually after about an hour or so while I was napping, she tapped me on the shoulder and gave it to me.

Did I mention the staff uniform? Being Tiger Airways, they wore yellow shirts and black pants, and the women had a sash around their waists that were tiger striped. And the women wore way too much makeup, as if they were in a sad variety show on TV.

However, I have to say that despite the turbulence, the flight was fine and we even arrived 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. All Tiger Airways flights land in the budget terminal area which is a ways from the immigration and luggage claim area.

I had the unfortunate chance of choosing a line where the immigration officer took three times as long as every other one to stamp and process people's passports... my friend called me wondering where I'd gone and I had to say I was still in line!

But now I'm here and had some chilli crab and black pepper crab which I'll talk about in my next post!


  1. when you pay peanuts, out comes the monkey.

  2. for short haul flights there are no food in flight at all, only drinks if you are lucky. i remember once we flew from copenhagen to paris we had a boxed fruit drink and a sandwich it costed us 11 euros.