OFTEN referred to as Australia’s worst airline, Tigerair says it wants to offer Aussie a better flying experience, with new uniforms, website and booking system.
Virgin Australia-owned Tigerair is counting on an improved check-in experience, as well as a new in-flight menu and aircraft to woo budget leisure travellers back to the airline.
Tigerair boss Rob Sharp claims the revamp will benefit Australian travellers and shake up the industry.
Mr Sharp said a “tiger can change its stripes” and the new-look airline will give Tigerair’s main competitor, Qantas-owned Jetstar, a run for its money.
“We said two years ago that we were going to change Tiger and now we have,” Mr Sharp said.
Passengers would not be forced to pay more for the changes, he said.
“Customers have told us that they want to keep affordable fares, they want flights on time, and they wanted some customer service, and we’re now delivering on all that.
“We’ve been working on this since 2013 and we now have a changed business.”
Mr Sharp said the airline would provide passengers with a much improved pre-flight and in-flight experience.
“One of the first things they’ll notice is an improvement in the website, it’s an easier to use website and there’s a lot more transparency around charges.
“And supplementing that, we also have a new call centre, there’s been enhanced training and we have more flexibility to handle demand.”
But will the overhaul really make flying Tigerair more fun?
In terms of food, Tigerair says the new menu contains a selection of both hot and cold “quality foods”.
Plus a new plane was unveiled as part of the new direction — an Airbus A330-200 — and everyone from the ground crew to the flight attendants will be wearing new uniforms.
“Historically our check-in agents and ground crew were wearing subcontractors uniforms, and they’re very much working for Tiger, so the uniforms now really reflect the brand and personality of the organisation.”
Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of popular travel rating website Airlineratings.com, said it was clear to see the positive influence Virgin Australia had on the Tigerair brand and it was good news for the travelling public.
“Virgin Australia has taken the country’s lowest cost airlines and added a touch of class,” Mr Thomas said. “All these initiatives are a big step forward for the customer experience.”
Tigerair recently stepped into the international arena, with its announcement in August that it’s flying to Bali.
The move will see Tigerair compete hard with Jetstar on the popular route for budget-conscious leisure travellers.
Indonesia is currently one of Australia’s largest countries for outbound resident traffic with more than 1.1 million passengers in the year ending July 2015.
“Those flights are very attractive to Australians,” Mr Sharp said.
Since Tigerair’s announcement of the new routes between Bali, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, Virgin Australia has announced it will axe some flights to Bali and Phuket.
It’s the first time Virgin Australia has used Tigerair internationally, and other short-haul routes are expected to be added in the future.
Virgin Australia will continue to fly to Bali from Brisbane, Sydney and Port Hedland.