Tiger Airways’ Massive Customer Service Fail
It’s official. My luggage is lost.
It’s only taken Tiger Airways 41 days to let me know.
Given how frustratingly uncommunicative Tiger has been up until now, the email to let me know that the bag is lost was a bit of a surprise.
Ironically, four minutes after I read the lost luggage email, another email from Tiger arrived in my inbox. This time advertising super-cheap “pack and go” fares. You can imagine the unladylike snort of derision I gave at that. Because everything I so carefully packed 41 days ago is lost. Some things are irreplaceable, like my trusty Swiss army knife that I bought in Switzerland, the groovy silver rings that were to be gifts for my sisters, the running shoes my usually tight-fisted dad bought for me …
It’s only stuff and losing it isn’t the end of the world. But still … trying to wring information out of Tiger Airways over the past five and a bit weeks has been truly agonising.
I am, to put it politely, one very pissed off Tiger customer. And that is unusual for me because I’m usually pretty laid back.
Here’s what went down.
On February 9, Miss M and I excitedly arrived at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport for our arduous-but-cheap journey to Australia. At the boarding gate we hear an announcement saying the flight will be delayed for several hours. I immediately tracked down a Tiger staff member and asked about our connecting flight. I was assured everything would be OK.
But everything was not OK. We missed our flight to Sydney, we were told that Tiger, as a budget airline, takes no responsibility for missed connections, not even code-share connections booked through Tiger’s very own website. So Miss M and I slept on the floor of Singapore Airline’s Transit Lounge E. At 3am with a tired three-year-old it seemed to be our only option.
When we woke up I tried to deal with the luggage situation. Because I missed the flight I was supposed to go find my luggage and re-check it. Problem was … in the rush to get off the plane as fast as possible I somehow lost my baggage tags. So I was told I had to go down to the lost luggage desk and identify my luggage from the towering stacks of unclaimed suitcases, backpacks and rolly-bags.
But it wasn’t there. I was sent out the back to a room filled with more lonely luggage. Not there either. I was allowed to fill out a lost luggage form. All while trying to control a tired-yet-overly-energetic three-year-old who just wanted to run, jump, scream and expose my underwear to the world.
Just before I began hauling Miss M through the wastelands of Singapore’s Changi Airport again, I thought to ask for a phone number for the lost luggage desk so I could organise where to collect my bag when someone finally found it. Because I had been rebooked on a 2am flight to Sydney and I was pretty sure wrangling Miss M past midnight for a second night in a row was going to be rough.
I scrawled the phone number across the top of my missing luggage form. And I had a point of contact. Because there is no phone number on the form and no phone number on Tiger’s website. And Tiger apparently never checks its emails or its Twitter feed. Tiger, it seems, doesn’t like dealing with its customers at all.
I called this precious Tiger lost luggage phone number repeatedly from Singapore and from Australia. When someone deigned to pick up the phone I was told that I would be emailed when my luggage turned up. That was the answer to all of my questions: What happens if you can’t find the luggage? Where could it be? What went wrong? And the ultimate question: what do I do without my luggage???
“Madam, just wait for the email,” the people on the phone said. “We will email you when we find the bag.”
There’s been no email.
I mounted a social media campaign, backed by travel bloggers from around the world, who bombarded
@TigerAirwaysSG with tweets about my lost luggage. There was no official response at all but after a couple of days I received an obscure email from Tiger’s underwriter, Charles Taylor Aviation, requesting various documents and a list of all the items in my luggage, as well as the cost and weight of each item.
And now the mysterious Farhana from Charles Taylor Aviation has emailed me to say the bag is now deemed lost. There’s no mention of any compensation from the airline or how I could go about claiming it.
It is SO UTTERLY FRUSTRATING. And that’s before I even start the process of making a claim on my travel insurance.
It’s interesting to note that about a week before our fateful flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore, Tiger was named Australia’s most complained about airline. And I really can see why. Dealing with the airline is maddening. The customer service protocols appear to be non-existant and no one seems to care that this particular customer is hopping mad and substantially out of pocket from what was supposed to be a cheap trip home to see family.
Shame, Tiger Airlines. Shame.
11 years ago