Categorized | Blog

Notice to TigerAirways: babies = business

I’ve learnt a lot about babies since my son was born, and about
business, and how profitable babies can be.  Really profitable.  So how
much money can a baby spend, you ask?  Loads.  Any mum will tell you
this – if you bother to ask them – and I’ve really come to learn how
little businesses do ask or know about this. Especially companies like
TigerAirways.
Now we’ve all read the studies about how expensive it is to raise a baby
(it’s been imprinted on my mind since the first article landed in my
email box from a friend who was about to embark on the parenting journey
– upward of half a million dollars, depending on which article you
read.)  But there’s so much more than the nursery items – the childcare,
the car choices, holidays and so much more change once you have a baby
on the scene. 

Which makes me wonder why companies like TigerAirways hate babies so
much.  I’ve come to this conclusion myself, but it’s a fairly well
founded one based on the $247-20 excess baggage they slugged me
yesterday to bring my baby with me on a business trip to Adelaide.  Fair
dinkum, this is what it cost me to check in my son’s bag (even after
I’d dumped the stroller because there was no allowance at all for that)
because my assistant had failed to check the fine print about travelling
with an infant on TigerAirways.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever traveled with an infant before, but for
relative newcomers for me it’s still a logistical challenge that I
haven’t quite mastered.  I’m not sure I ever will – and in winter, when
your bub has a tummy bug and requires 2 separate changes before you even
get ON the plane) let’s just say you’re not exactly able to travel
lightly.  Qantas understands this.  Virgin Blue understands and even
Jetstar gets it… they let you take a stroller, they understand that
despite all good intentions you sometimes have to pack in extra Huggies
and clothes and Baby Bjorns and toys for entertainment on the plane
(lest the entire surrounding passengers go insane with the unsettled
tots around them).  Everyone gets it except for TigerAirways.

TigerAirways is already acknowledged as the worst domestic airline,
but apparently the problem with flying with a baby on Tiger comes about
when you tick the box for extra baggage – the standard option for Tiger
being 15kg – but it only allows for one passenger.  Yes – I forgot to
book extra baggage for my son at the time of booking – I acknowledge
that I was having a bad day which happens regularly and as I’ve
travelled with my son on all the other domestic carriers it simply
didn’t occur to me to book extra for him.  So my mistake.  But does that
really warrant a $247-20 penalty for one lousy bag?

When I asked if I could buy another ticket for my son so I could take
his 15kg as well I was told that wasn’t possible, because he couldn’t
travel on his own ticket (only on mine) and as it was my mistake, the
attendant politely told me to choose whether to pay the excess baggage
or forfeit my flight which had already closed by this stage because I’d
been kept waiting 25 minutes in a their queue (had I not been waiting in
their queue with baby in arms all this time, the latter option would
have been appealing, however by this stage I just wanted to get on with
it and save my mum an inconvenience at the other end if we didn’t turn
up.)  It’s a revenue model that must be very lucrative for Tiger –
except for the fact that almost every mum I’ve spoken with tells me
they’ll never fly with them again.  Pity I didn’t know that before I
tried it!

So the long and the short of it is this: I’ll never travel TigerAirways
again, and when I’m speaking with women across Australia as I regularly
do, I’ll discourage them from flying with Tiger if they have small
children.  I’ll post it on my blogs and my LinkedIn profiles and I’ll
mention it to the journalists I frequently speak with about the
challenges women face in juggling work and family.  I’ll remind everyone
that women control 70% or more of household spending and they simply
don’t have the energy to deal with companies like TigerAirways who don’t
want our business.  Because there are plenty of organisations that
understand how profitable babies can be.  TigerAirways just happens not
to be one of them.

P.S. for the TigerAirways attendant that checked me in, and told me “I’m
sorry, we all hate working here as much as you hate having to deal with
crap like this” – I believe you and I hope you get one of those 3 jobs
you told me you’d applied for!

PPS. I think TigerAirways could save us all time and effort by amending their FAQ page to simply say “To save us inconvenience, please be advised that the answer to all your questions will be a resounding NO.”

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