Virgin Tiger’s first new route is a country practice
Coffs Harbour wakes to discover it is under siege by dueling airlines, all begging to fly its citizens to and from Sydney for less than petrol money.
Tiger Australia’s first announced route under Virgin Australia’s control is to be Coffs Harbour-Sydney five times a week from 15 February.
The current Virgin Australia service on the route is twice daily returns using a 737-800 and an Embraer E-190, making it a clear choice between uncomfortable and really quite good in that order, while Qantaslink flies up to five return Dash 8s a day, giving a you an opportunity to experience an even higher degree of discomfort than the 737, and for slightly longer depending on the particular model of that turbo-prop family that turns up on the day.
Will Qantas respond to this with a Jetstar A320, which is identically crammed full of tiny seats to the Tiger A320?
We will see.
Virgin Australia’s operational policy for Tiger differs from that of Qantas with Jetstar, in that Virgin will not code share nor display the Tiger options on its website, and run the brand as a totally separate entity intended to give its shareholders participation in the budget airline part of the travel market.
It is a moot point as to whether it is more uncomfortable over a short trip like Coffs Harbour-Sydney to get it over with faster in an 180 seat configured A320 or fly for longer at a lower altitude in a Dash 8, which like the Embraers have no middle seats, but in the case of the turbo-prop, somewhat smaller seats.
Coffs Harbour is going to be spoiled, if not creased and folded, by the choices, but it looks like the most expensive options on the route will be the Countrylink trains or driving your own car.