Result! My Tigerair flight was upgraded to Virgin
From discount carrier to full-service glory.
I regularly take Tigerair flights from Sydney to Coffs Harbour to visit family. Both Qantas and Virgin operate on that route, and by making that choice I'm missing out on the chance to earn points and status credits. However, Tigerair offers such cheap flights, with regular sale fares at $30 or under, that it makes more sense than paying $200 or more on Qantas.
However, earlier this week I received an email from Tigerair. "We regret to inform you that your flight has been rescheduled. We sincerely apologise for disrupting your travel plans and we've arranged a new flight for you with Virgin Australia."
Now this I did not expect. Virgin Australia owns Tigerair, but I've learned from bitter personal experience that when a Tigerair flight is cancelled, being shifted onto Virgin doesn't happen automatically. Often all Tigerair will offer is a refund or a flight on a different date. If you urgently need to travel, you're expected to buy another ticket yourself (and hit up your travel insurance to redeem the cost if you can).
For me, this change is an easy win. The altered flight sector is the Sydney to Coffs Harbour route, which means I can use the Sydney Velocity lounge on the way out. It also means my hand luggage won't be policed as strictly (though I'll still need to keep it under 7kg for the return leg, as Tiger remain super-narky about that).
The obvious downside? I can't check in online for the new Virgin flight. "To check-in for your flight please visit the Virgin Australia check-in desk at Sydney (SYD) airport and present your Tigerair Australia flight confirmation, web check-in will be unavailable." That's a hassle, but I'll take the upgrade (and hopefully the points, once I get my Velocity details added at the check-in desk).
The other issue is that this suggests that Tigerair is cutting down on its Coffs Harbour to Sydney service. Rationalisation is a fact of life with discount carriers; just last week, Tigerair dropped its Melbourne to Townsville service. So I'd better enjoy the cheap trips to the Big Banana while I can.
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 regularly on finder.com.au.