I knew that spending 5 weeks in Singapore was going to be hard before I started loosing my mind. So I decided to head to Bangkok for a couple of days. After checking out the air fares, I found Tiger Airways to have the most convenient times and the cheapest airfare for the days that I was interested in going. I paid S$ 159 (US$ 100) for a return trip. Tiger Airways in one of the low cost carriers that have recently started in South East Asia. Currently they only fly to Bangkok, Phuket and Hat Yai. They are backed by Singapore Airlines.
January 10 2005
Tiger Airways TR102
I reached Changi International Airport an hour and a half before my flight time. Checkin was smooth and quick. It seems like TR does not print their boarding passes at the airport. They has pre prepared boarding cards which they just handed to me (and checked my name on the list). Baggage tags were also not printed but has a hand written number written on them. I guess this is a way to keep costs down.
I was quite surprised to see that a TR flight attendant made the boarding calls and actually proceeded to board the flight. She read all of her pre boarding announcements from a piece of paper. I found out that only food purchased on the flight can be consumed on the aircraft. It seems like a very cheap way to getting people to buy their food.
TR has free seating and I managed to get an emergency exit seat with no real difficulty. There were only about 100 people on our aircraft. It was nice to have all this extra space to myself but I was disappointed to see the aircraft this empty.
Tiger Airways had adverts for their Visa card plastered on the tray table as well as on the overhead bins. It looked really weird to see adverts on an aircraft.
Since I was really tired from the previous night, I fell asleep before push back and woke up just as we touched down in Bangkok. I was really disappointed that I didn’t get to experience Tiger Airways.
January 12 2005
Tiger Airways TR 117
After two wonderful days in Bangkok, it was time to head back to Singapore. I left my friends house (where I had been staying) at 6pm for my 8:30 flight. I was told that due to the notoriously unpredictable traffic in Bangkok, it was necessary to leave this early.
Checkin at Bangkok Don Muang was quick and efficient. The checkin folks would not allow me to carry on board my only bag since it was over weight by 2 kilograms (9 kg). I checked it in and proceeded towards immigration. Passing through immigration was just as simple and I had legally left Thailand by 7pm. I browsed the duty free shops for a while and then headed towards my gate. Bangkok sees a fair amount of traffic during the late evening time and it was quite evident by the plethora of flights leaving at that time.
The inbound aircraft was right on time and we were on board our aircraft at 8:15pm. Once again a Tiger Airways FAs boarded the flight. The load on this flight was even more disappointing than my inbound into Bangkok. There couldn’t have been more than 80 people on this A320. I was hoping that my incoming flight has been a one off instance, but it seems like Tiger Airways is not really managing to fill up its planes. I had no trouble securing the window exit row aisle seat and to my surprise, no one came and sat on my row.
I was determined to stay up this time during the entire flight and check out what TR flights have to offer. Take off was smooth and we were quickly on our way to Singapore. After we reached cruising altitude, the FA explained their buy on board program along with their duty free shopping program. Flight Attendants came down the aisle offering their menus to whoever might be interested. I got one and decided to get a Chicken Sandwich just to try out the quality of the meal. The meal itself cost me S$ 7 (US$ 4.4) and was quite delicious. The portion was along the lines of what is considered normal in Singapore (small compared to US sizes).
I decided to try my luck and see if a visit to the flight deck was possible. The FA told me that she will check with the Captain and get back with me. I was very excited that I might actually get a visit to the flight deck. However, she got back to me saying that their policy is not to allow anybody onto the flight deck during flight. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed but totally understand this policy.
The flight attendants constantly tried to remind us that we can buy food and duty free shop. I felt almost harassed and did not quite appreciate their persistence.
The flight landed 10 minutes early and immigration in Singapore was a breeze like always. I had to wait for 5 minutes for to get my baggage.
Overall, I enjoyed my Tiger Airways experience. They are a new airline that is trying to find their niche in the aviation world in South East Asia. I’m sure as time goes on and they get their name out, their loads will increase. I wish them the best of luck.
I'll try to post a couple of pictures soon.