Tigerair getting tougher on baggage rules

Angus Kidman 21 November 2017 NEWS

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Even backpacks can't escape scrutiny these days. Plus: does Tigerair's in-flight entertainment actually work?

I've written before about how you shouldn't assume that you can just flout the baggage rules on a discount carrier like Tigerair or Jetstar by stuffing your carry-on to the gills and get away with it. Just because you've checked in online doesn't mean you won't get scrutinised at the gate. Chances are your bags will be weighed, and if you're above 7kg, then you'll be slugged with some very hefty fees. On Tigerair, you'll pay $75 to have your bag shoved in the hold.

It seems Tigerair are getting stricter about that policy. In the past, when Tigerair staff have circulated with their mobile scales, they have mostly gone after people with wheeled suitcases. That makes sense: they're likely to weigh more, and the people toting them often have a handbag as well. (Reminder: the 7kg is the total across everything you're carrying, not just the main bag.)

However, on a flight I took last week, everyone was asked to pop their bags on the scale, including people like me who only had a single backpack. In the past, the backpack crowd have tended to be ignored, unless their pack is obviously outsized. Not anymore.

I didn't get caught out because I'm paranoid to the point of strangeness, so I knew that my bag weighed 6.5kg. (For me, that's on the heavy side.) Other passengers weren't so lucky, and ended up queueing (again) for the privilege of forking over $75. Not a great start to your trip.

I notice the Tigerair restrictions because I'm dangerously addicted to its regular flight sales, but every discount carrier has a similar approach. Back in July, Jetstar also increased fees for checked baggage at the airport. The lesson remains the same: know the rules, stick to the limits, and weigh your bags before you head to the airport.

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Elsewhere in the Tigerair universe, last week I also ended up on one of the first Tigerair craft to have been refitted with new leather seats and new entertainment options. While the refit has introduced six extra seats, you wouldn't notice in terms of legroom: indeed, as someone who is used to my knees pressing into the seat in front, it felt like there was marginally more. So a tick for that one.

No tick, however, for the in-flight entertainment. I downloaded the app and hooked onto the in-flight Wi-Fi, hoping to give it a test run.

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But every time I tried, I ended up with this error:

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A perusal of reviews on the Play Store suggests that this is quite a common issue. So I'll have to leave trying that out until the next time I'm on a Tigerair flight that has the new gear. Just as well I'd packed my Kindle.

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.

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