Tigerair Australia’s Bali blight

VH-XUG Tigerair Australia Airbus A320-232 via CC/BY2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/30782077205/in/photolist-nHGUeQ-nHrSin-qgiWJb-NU7c84-bwq7e9-rtRMve-qgoPD4-r3sENs-r7iDcy-kgmwZ8-PCRkJJ-qvqkEd-9GNEeQ-qbeuVd-bwq7zq-pnVw33-qVDRJA-qWy8WZ-poabrR-HKMWKt-Jgg8LL-JCXpr3-rbFR49

Update: Shortly after the original story published Tigerair Australia bailed on the efforts to resume flights. Original below.

Tigerair Australia is in trouble with Indonesian regulators again. After a moratorium on flights from Australia to Bali last month service was expected to resume on 3 February 2017. Just before midnight local time the airline announced that it would not be resuming flights as previously announced. The move sent thousands of travelers’ holiday plans into chaos. It also raised further questions over just what is going on with respect to regulations and how the airline chooses to sell seats on the flights.

The Tigerair services from Australia to Bali are run under a charter license rather than regular commercial license. This requires that the carrier sell only return tickets (no one-way flights); Indonesian authorities accuse the carrier of ignoring the charter ticketing restrictions. It also seems that the flights were operating under Virgin Australia’s license (VA is the owner of the Tigerair Australia operation) while awaiting a permanent license from Indonesia to operate its own services. For its part the airline is claiming a “decision by the Indonesian government to impose new administrative requirements” caused the problems. Indonesian authorities are vehemently disputing that the regulations are new. The two parties were negotiating towards an agreement to resume flights but apparently that didn’t end so well.

And in between are thousands of travelers. After the initial cancelations in early January the carrier was permitted to operate “rescue” flights (Virgin Australia operated some of the flights) to bring passengers stranded in Bali home. Other travelers rebooked on other airlines or were carried on scheduled Virgin Australia flights. And, as it typical for airlines canceling service – particularly those in the LCC space but even some legacy carriers; I’m looking at you, BA – the main offer from the airline is simply a refund of the fare paid, not accommodation on other airlines. It is a terribly one-sided system in many ways.

And, as an added bonus, after three weeks of cancelled flights the carrier waited until the very last minute to notify travelers that the trips would not fly.

Bad form.

Header image: VH-XUG Tigerair Australia Airbus A320-232 via CC/BY2.0

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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, and LinkedIn.


  1. It has one of the worst airlines in the world. They have as far as I know they have never made a profit and there customer service. This come from people who I know that have flown with them is just awful. They cancel flights all the time and then you wait months for a refund. I know Singapore airlines used to own them. Why Virgin keeps giving them money I have no idea.

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