Airline review: Tigerair Australia economy, Melbourne to Denpasar, Bali

Our rating

4 out of 5

THE ROUTE

Melbourne to Denpasar

THE PLANE

Boeing 737-800 (B737). Tigerair Australia has three in their fleet. 

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

You can't earn points flying Tigerair. You can, however, use Virgin Australia's Velocity points to book Tigerair flights.

CLASS

It's all economy. I've got aisle seat 3C – one of 18 extra legroom seats. The seat pitch is a huge 34 inches (86 cm), three inches more than the standard economy seat. 

DURATION

Five hours and 50 minutes. We leave a few minutes late and arrive a few minutes early.

FREQUENCY

Denpasar is a brand new destination for Tigerair Australia (and its only international destination). The Melbourne to Denpasar flight is a new daily itinerary and the international launch also includes daily flights to Denpasar from Perth and five weekly flights from Adelaide. 

THE SEAT

The reconfigured plane (it's a former Virgin Australia aircraft and the business cabin has been transformed into extra legroom seating) contains 180 economy seats in a 3-3 configuration. Thirty of the seats have extra legroom space – 12 exit row seats and 18 extra legroom seats – all bookable for an additional charge ($40 on this route). 

BAGGAGE

All Tigerair Australia tickets come with 7kg carry-on baggage, and for a fee this allowance can be increased to 12kg. Flyers can also pay for checked-in luggage – anywhere from 15kg to 40kg. 

ENTERTAINMENT

Passengers need to download the Tigerair AU app before flying (it's an app system, so it only works on phones and tablets). A Bali guide, various music selections and TV shows are complimentary and for $9 you've got movie access too. 

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COMFORT

From July 2016 passengers will be able to purchase comfort kits on board. The concept is cute. For $20 you can go the 'cosy kit' option, which includes a blanket, socks and an inflatable pillow. Alternatively, the aptly named 'sky to sand' kit contains a pillow, eye mask and a sarong. Comfort kits aside, the extra legroom seats are the biggest economy seats in this market and the additional space is noticeable. My one gripe is that the tray tables don't extend beyond the standard position, so when the passenger in front of me reclined I couldn't keep using the tray table for laptop work.

SERVICE

The service on the inaugural flight was top notch. Balinese dancers greeted guests upon check-in in Melbourne and on arrival in Denpasar, adding to the festive feel. Check-in staff ensured the queue (full flight) moved quickly. On board it was smiles all round and nothing was too difficult for the crew.

FOOD

The Tiger Bites menu has been revamped and now there's greater choice (the new menu is also available on domestic flights). I'm a sweet tooth so started with snacks – a white chocolate and raspberry muffin (good amount of raspberry bits and white chocolate chunks) and the hand-cut rocky road (decadent… but chocolate in the morning always is). For lunch I managed to get my hands on a three-flavour beef sandwich (they ran out later) and a Mexican quinoa salad. The sandwich was tasty; the quinoa salad was more like a risotto – a pre-packaged dry mix with hot water added.

ONE MORE THING

The three new services add over 6800 seats to the Tigerair network per week. Bali continues to be one of the most popular destinations for Australians and these new flights provide more access.

THE VERDICT

Low-cost carriers sometimes get a bad wrap, but if you think about it rationally you get what you pay for. If you travel with no checked-in luggage and eat prior to flying, it's one of the cheapest fares around (a standard Melbourne to Denpasar fare is $189 and sale seats can be snagged at an even cheaper price). And even if you go all out and get all the extras, it's still one of the cheapest options around. Win win.

Tested by Tatyana Leonov, who flew courtesy of Tigerair Australia. 

See also: People, stop whinging about budget airlines
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