In flight: Taming Tiger Airways


In my efforts to explore the LCCs of SE Asia I did what I could to mix up my flights a bit. This meant picking a different carrier for my return from Kuala Lampur to Singapore and the fares and times suggested that my trip would be on Tiger Airways. Tiger is one third owned by Singapore Air and operates a decent collection of routes in the region on their fleet of Airbus A320s configured with 180 seats in an all-coach configuration. My trip, KUL-SIN, was relatively short but also rather typical of their operations from what I could tell.

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For the most part the flight was just another quick hop in a metal tube hurtling 500+ miles/hour through the skies 6 miles above the ground. Really nothing particularly spectacular, either good or bad, about the experience. The plane was clean inside and, while a bit tight, the seat pitch wasn’t completely horrid.

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That said, there were a few things that I found interesting or surprising about the experience.

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First up, the flight departed from the LCC terminal in Kuala Lampur. Similar to Singapore, the LCC terminal at KUL is actually a separate building on the other side of the airport. Unlike SIN, however, the process of getting there was way more difficult. I took the bus from KL Sentral and it was fine in both transit time and cost, but it was still a bit of a pain relative to the main terminal. Also interesting about the LCC terminal in KUL is what a dump it was relative to SIN. It did have a lounge (two, technically, split across the immigration/security barrier) which I got in to with my Priority Pass card. Nothing particularly amazing in the lounge and I wouldn’t pay out of pocket to get in, but I took advantage of the free to me access to grab a couple beers before the flight.

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Next, given that they were selling seats on the flight that morning for only ~$25, I expected that it meant loads were low. Nope. The plane was packed. I had my window seat thanks to checking in relatively early so I wasn’t particularly affected by the loads, but it was crowded. Fortunately the crowds didn’t translate to lines at immigration at either end.

On arrival, once again, it was a bus ride back over to the main terminal in Singapore to catch the MTR into town. Much easier here than in KUL.

Overall, I enjoyed the flight that morning on FireFly more than the evening flight on Tiger. The airport facility at Subang was nicer than the LCC terminal and the flight was a bit more pleasant. Plus, there was no silly "convenience fee" for booking that I still don’t know how to avoid through any channels. Still, the Tiger flight met my expectations in terms of being clean, cheap and easy.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .
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