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Tigerair officially axed: What this means for you

Posted: 11 September 2020 3:15 pm

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Farewell cheap flights – but Virgin Australia travel credits are on their way.

Low-cost airline Tigerair has publicly announced its closure by emailing its customers a thank you and farewell.

In the email, the airline states: "There is no denying these are tough times for everyone in the travel and tourism industry. And sadly, after nearly 13 years of operation we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Tigerair Australia brand."

Tigerair's flights have been suspended since March due to domestic travel bans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And on 5 August, Virgin announced that it was officially dumping the carrier.

While Virgin Australia is retaining Tigerair's Air Operator Certificate (AOC), sparking hope that the carrier may return in the future, the focus right now is to support the Virgin Australia brand.

"Our initial focus will be on investing in the core Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international operation alongside our 10-million-member strong Velocity Frequent Flyer program, continuing to offer an extensive network of destinations, a domestic lounge network and value for money for customers," said Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah.

So what does this mean if you had a Tigerair flight booked?

Tigerair Australia is contacting all customers who still have flights booked to offer them travel credit with Virgin Australia.

Credits must be redeemed by 31 July 2022 and can be used for any travel from 23 September until 30 June 2023.

The amount given will be of equal value to the amount you paid for your original Tigerair flight. This includes ancillaries and taxes but not fees.

Unfortunately, upgrading from a low-cost airline like Tigerair to a full-service carrier like Virgin Australia is likely to mean that your voucher won't get you as far.

Or, if you're intending to fly the same route, you'll likely have to cough out a little extra cash to make up the difference in flight costs.

Anyone currently holding credit for flights cancelled during the pandemic will also have its redemption date extended to 30 June 2022.

Sadly, refunds are not being offered for any flights purchased before or on 20 April 2020.

Does travel insurance cover my flight?

Travel insurance only kicks in if you haven't been properly compensated.

As Virgin Australia is offering credit, your insurer may view this as a reasonable alternative to your flight and likely not honour your claim.

If you had other non-refundable elements to your trip, such as accommodation or tours, you may be able to claim these on your insurance if you purchased your policy before January 2020. This is when COVID-19 became a known event.

Those who didn't may still be able to get their money back in some form. Contact your accommodation or tour provider to explain your situation and see what compensation they can provide.

If you're lucky, they may honour a refund. Otherwise, many large companies are waiving change and cancellation fees or are providing equivalent credit for future bookings.

Note: We updated this story on 11 September with Tigerair's official closure notice.

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