How do Tigerair’s Melbourne-Canberra flights compare with Qantas and Virgin?

Angus Kidman 25 August 2016


Tigerair will offer "free" flights in a launch promotion.

Having announced its plans to offer flights between Melbourne and Canberra earlier this week, Tigerair has now released full details of its schedule.

Once-a-day flights between the two cities will commence on Thursday 8 December. Here's what the full schedule will look like:


The flights will go on sale at 11am today (25 August). The first 2000 seats are being sold at $59 each, though as usual that doesn't include the standard array of Tigerair extra charges for seat selection, baggage and payments. As a further sweetener, Tigerair says the first 200 seats booked will be "free", with the cost of the seats refunded after booking. (Again, this won't cover extras.)

$59 is cheap for a Canberra flight, but not super-cheap by Tigerair standards; its sale fares for other cities have been as low as $19. There will be "regular" deals for $69, officials say, but it looks like we're not going to see super-low fares, at least initially.

It's certainly a cheaper option than its rivals, but it's also a less flexible one. On Tigerair's launch date, Qantas has 13 direct flights between Melbourne and Canberra, with services from 6am through to 8pm. The cheapest available seat on any of these services is $125. Virgin is slightly less broad, with seven services on that date. It's also a little cheaper, with the lowest-priced seats being $115.

On the whole, this confirms the standard positioning for each of these airlines: Qantas has the most comprehensive options and charges accordingly, Virgin tries to match Qantas as much as possible but doesn't run quite as many services, and Tigerair is a lot cheaper but a lot less flexible. I don't imagine we'll see Jetstar or Rex entering the fray any time soon, but at least Canberrans now have a little more choice.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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