Lessons learnt from Tiger’s Cancellation Procedure

Tiger Airways has an unenviable reputation of a lack of leg space, strict check-in restrictions, late flights and worst of all cancellations. Although each of these is a risk you take when booking the cut-price flights flying with Tiger is still a test of even the most patient man. It seems like each of these problems should be avoidable by the airline, but even if they aren’t there is one thing they could do to make it the whole process far less painful. Improve their cancellation procedures. This is a valuable lesson on how to handle letting down customers in any industry.

I’m sure each flight is handled on a case-by-case basis but our recent 9:15pm flight from Hobart to Melbourne was initially delayed 1 hour. This was never announced and the only way we were made aware of this was an update on the airport monitors. At the time of scheduled departure a loudspeaker announcement was made that informed us the flight was to be delayed by 3 hours, there would be $5 refreshment vouchers made available and if anyone would like to cancel or rebook on Tiger to contact the gate desk. Immediately a large queue of people formed seeking their vouchers and most people were trying to ascertain wether or not they should rebook or cancel their flight, very little information was given and while most people were quite well tempered there was a growing atmosphere of, “We aren’t getting home tonight”

Tiger Airways Approximately 1 hour later a loudspeaker announcement was made that the flight was cancelled and refunds and rebooking would be handled at the gate. No further information regarding the necessary procedures, the availability of future flights or overnight accommodation options was made available and customer dissatisfaction was now at an all-time high. A huge queue was then formed at the desk, with no-one in the line having any idea what to do or what their options were. Immediately people started booking flights on alternate airlines without waiting an hour in line to speak with the 2 Tiger ground crew. There was another Tiger employee available seemingly wandering around behind the gate desk doing very little.

It turns out there are a few gotchas that weren’t announced which people may not know.

  1. Tiger will not provide overnight accommodation
  2. You must fill out the refund form at the time of the cancellation, not tomorrow.

This is information that could and should have been announced, and a lot more communication provided. Had the extra employee been answering people’s questions in the line, handing out forms and showing a human face to the company the mood of all of these disgruntled customers may have been far better. This would have also made the line move faster, less disputes at the counter and could have improved what was already a bad experience.

This is a perfect case of letting a customer down gently rather than kicking them off the flight and letting them fend for themselves. I understand that flights are cancelled and don’t have a huge problem with it, yet I won’t be booking Tiger again in the near future. This is due more to their apparent lack of care rather than the flight cancellation itself.

Remember, failing a customer sometimes is unavoidable, but you have to let them know you care about the problem. This leaves them with a good feeling in a bad situation and hopefully they will come back next time.

16 thoughts on “Lessons learnt from Tiger’s Cancellation Procedure

  1. I have a booking in January 2010 and asked Tiger if they would honour that booking, OR can I cancel NOW and get a refund….Tiger responded within 2 minutes. Here is the “templated” answer from Roda:

    Please be advise that if passenger cannot take the flight Tiger Airways do not give any refunds or compensate the passenger. The only option on your booking if you don’t want to take the flight is just to rebook it or to transfer the ticket to the other person with applicable charges apply. Changes can be made up to 4hrs prior to the schedule departure.

    Thank you.

    Kind Regards,

    Reservations Team
    Tiger Airways – Australia

    You see, Rado, I AM DESPERATE TO TAKE THE FLIGHT, but can Tiger “MAKE” the flight?????

  2. …youre paying the lowest possible rate for the flight BECAUSE they dont bother with this stuff. YOURE responsible for reading up on the information yourself, customer service is an extra you didnt pay for. if you want customer service, fly another airline.

    seriously sick of reading about people who just flat out dont read the information provided and then bitch when things dont go their way. ignorance is not a viable excuse. and its not even like the cancellation thing is news anymore, people know tiger has a reputation of cancelled flights. why not therefore book a flight that leaves 24 hours before you have to be there? quite sure getting 1 night of extra accommodation is much cheaper and easier than adding additional cost to your flights.

    its funny, people expect the exact same experience with every single airline. they fly planes! they must be the same as qantas! duhhhh i dont have to educate myself.

    learn to read. apply this skill. youll go far.

  3. My flight 10 days ago was also cancelled but the check-in staff, despite the number of passengers were very sympathetic and helpful.

    Surprising someome who writes lecturing people and claims ‘i dont have to educate myself’, could start learning to spell, punctuate and have a little less arrogance.

    Learn these simple rules and, perhaps you will sound as educated as you appear to believe you are already.

  4. sir,
    My emergency oparation will held in spine on 24 may 2011 and there after I will needed to take rest 3 months. so it not prossible for me to go at singapore at present in the medical ground.kindly cancelled my booking and refund the money or to keep the amount for futher used by me.I hope you will consider my case in the sympathetic ground.Nityananda Chatterjee
    My booking No: X459BP on jurney date is 6 july 2011 from singapore to kualumpur.

  5. sir,

    i am carrying 2 months.. so i cant travel by flight. so kindly cancelled and refound the money for my further uses.
    i hope you will be consider my request.

    k.veluswamy sangeetha

    my booking no :R7U1YJ

  6. Sir , can help me to cancell my booking because of visa problem .I didn’t get visa on date I can’t go to Singapore on this date .can help me to redound my money or arrange the ticket to another day . Please reply for me thank u ..

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