fees & conditions

Jan 23, 2013

Tiger tangles with simple english over $1 one way returns

Tiger's latest attack on plain talking when it comes to fares takes it closer to the Ryanair model, except that it is yet to match trickery with the lunatic antics of that carrier's CEO Michael O'Leary.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

If Tiger achieves anything with its latest stunt, the $1 one way return fare oxymoron, it should be to make the ACCC intervene for the sake of clarity to consumers.

Its media statement implies that departing CEO Andrew David has abandoned his initial insistence that Tiger would offer simple, straightforward price offers.

The logic appears to be that people, really simple people, will go “Wow, a $1 return fare”, when it in fact it is an offer of a $1 one way fare if you fly on a certain day of the week and have a holiday without needing to travel with more than limited carry-on luggage.

To be really attractive, Tiger needs to offer a really cheap fare the other way, all the time, otherwise the buyer of the $1 one way but return fare without any checked luggage and only if paying with a Mastercard debit card could end up looking like an out of pocket idiot, and we don’t want that, do we?

As it stands the low fare but high fee gotchas that characterise many of the ‘best’ offers from Tiger and its direct competitor Jetstar frustrate the avowed selling point of low fare travel, which is to have a widely useful and relevant low fare both ways, whether travelling with checked luggage, or going on a holiday with whatever can be crammed into your pockets!

Tiger’s attack on simple English may have its origins in the depth and extent of the fare fight going on between Qantas and Virgin Australia, both of whom offer a much higher standard of service and frequency on many routes than do Tiger or its Jetstar counterpart, and sometimes for the same final fare or close to after additional fees for checked bags or other ancillaries are included.

At the moment this contest between quality and cheap is, if not crushing the life out of low fares with high extras, putting the cheap propositions under acute pressure.

But there is no excuse for a $1 one way return fare.

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9 thoughts on “Tiger tangles with simple english over $1 one way returns

  1. ltfisher

    Be generous Ben: Tiger’s attack on “simple English” might simply be a translation problem, something that LCC travellers should be aware of when dealing with the increasing number of foreign carriers offering Australians ‘deals’ too good to buy.

  2. Roger

    In fairness to Tiger, you can get a REALLY cheap outwards fare (eg $40 from Melbourne to Adelaide) and then $1 fare back (total: $41). Sure, the add-ons get you (luggage, credit card fee, etc). But the return trip is a genuine $1 on top of the cheap outwards fare.
    PS Aldi charge 0.5% credit card fee – I don’t think ACCC will be chasing them!

  3. jeremyp

    I agree with Lt Fisher, this is perhaps approved by Tiger’s Singapore office and they don’t understand the unique Australian connotation that “return” refers to both the outbound and inbound legs of a round-trip ticket. In most other English speaking countries, “round-trip” refers to a ticket with inbound and outbound segments (what Australians call “return”) and “return” refers to the only returning portion, which is the usage in this Tiger ad and is factually correct on that basis.

    Then again, they may perfectly well understand the ambiguity, realizing they can capitalize on this to catch the attention, before people realize they are using the international English meaning of “return” rather than the unique Australian connotation.

  4. Ben Sandilands

    Thinks. Have been ‘gamed’ by Tiger to give coverage to story Qantas centric media won’t touch. Goes away and sulks.

  5. Geoff

    jermyp – so sorry mate but I’m a “migrant” (now there’s a real Australianism) and ever since I was kid in Yorkshire a “return (ticket)to Scarborough” meant just that. The phrase is referring to the ticket not the journey as I have inserted in brackets. That is, I want a piece of paper (used to be cardboard) that gets me there an back. A round-trip would certainly be understood by any native English speaker but is an Americanism.

    By the way there are immigrants and emigrants, migrants are birds that fly backwards and forwards. OK – maybe there is a reason for the Australian idiom!

  6. jeremyp

    Thanks Geoff for clarifying that, it’s been a while since I’ve been to “old Blighty” and clearly mis-remembered that. Since Singapore and Hong Kong use “round trip” and the language there is normally of British tradition, I wrongly assumed the “return” was unique to Oz… my apologies. Nevertheless Tiger should be using the correct colloquialisms in their Australian ads… I’m just saying never assume malice where stupidity will do.

  7. Rais

    After some experiences with sudden cancellation of flights I avoid Tiger as far as possible, though if I needed to go somewhere badly enough and Tiger was all I could afford I’d use them. I’ve found that Jetstar and Tiger, after add-ons, are usually still much cheaper than the full service airlines though Virgin’s cheapest tickets are often very competitive with Jetstar. Offering a return ticket for $1 means, to me, Perth to Melbourne and back to Perth for $1. Having said that, I didn’t imagine for a moment that Tiger meant that. They’re desperate but not THAT desperate.

  8. johnb78

    In the UK ‘return’ is ambiguous – “Return to Blackpool please”, but “Bugger, I threw away my return ticket by mistake” (the railways issue a return/round-trip journey as two tickets, one marked OUT and one marked RTN).

    I flew Tiger Sydney-Brisbane in December, because the fare was about half what QF, JQ and DJ wanted. Was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience, although the lack of any kind of online/mobile/machine check-in was a weird piece of early 1990s nostalgia.

  9. Ken Borough

    Geez, I despair. This is not a traslation problem but cleverly crafted language designed to suck-in the punters! In fact, one could argue that the expression ‘one way return fares’ is a true oxymoron. No wonder Tiger is losing heaps with gimmicks likle this one.

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