Tiger puts dampener on party

Sam Upton, 15, and sisters Stephanie, 21, and Zoe, 18, were forced to rethink travel plans back to Melbourne when their Tiger Airlines flight was cancelled on Sunday.
Sam Upton, 15, and sisters Stephanie, 21, and Zoe, 18, were forced to rethink travel plans back to Melbourne when their Tiger Airlines flight was cancelled on Sunday. Warren Lynam

A MELBOURNE family has been left angry and out of pocket by the third Tiger Airways flight cancellation on the Coast in as many weeks.

Stephanie Upton flew to the Coast with boyfriend Christos Pattas and siblings Zoe and Sam Upton to celebrate her grandmother's 100th birthday at Marcoola.

The party was just winding up about 6pm Saturday when they were sent a text message from the budget airline, informing them their flight home at 2.30pm yesterday had been cancelled.

Ms Upton said the message offered no explanation and provided a number for them to call to find a solution, was unprofessional and had caused a lot of confusion.

“They never gave us a reason why it was cancelled in the first place,” she said.

“I felt it was rude they didn't make a proper attempt at contact and simply said, ‘If you want to make other arrangements, you can contact us'.”

After two phone calls and more than half an hour on hold, the family was given the option of transferring to another flight of their choice free of charge, a full refund or credit to fly at another time.

With both Christos and Zoe due to be back at work this morning , they were devastated to learn the earliest available flight was at 2.30pm today.

Unable to pay the extra $900 to get home in time on another airline, they were forced to stay an extra night and cop a loss of income.

“My boyfriend will lose $200 because he is only a casual and doesn't get holiday pay,” Ms Upton said.

The drama comes just five days after Coast man Brad Morgan missed out on being at the State of Origin game in Sydney last Wednesday when his flight was bumped due to low demand for services.

To add to Mr Morgan's frustration, Tiger Airways' alternative arrangements had him arriving in Sydney at 11.55am Thursday and departing at 12.25pm.

The week prior, a Caloundra family missed a wedding in Melbourne when they were informed of a cancellation just four hours before they were due to fly.

Meg Olcorn said she and her partner Nathan Woulfe had packed and were just about to bundle their infant son into the car to get to the airport when they received the computer-generated text message.

“It took me five attempts to get through because I kept getting the engaged signals and then I was on hold for 15 minutes,” she said.

“We ended up going for the refund, but were told it would take a minimum of 21 days before they could credit the money back into our account, which is just ridiculous.”

A Tiger Airways spokeswoman yesterday avoided questions relating to the number of cancellations of Coast flights.

Instead, she said the airline apologised to passengers affected by yesterday's cancellation “due to operational reasons”.

“Tiger Airways attempted to notify all affected passengers as soon as possible once the cancellation was confirmed yesterday (via phone) to inform them of their options,” she said.

“As always, the priority is to get affected passengers to where they want to go as soon as possible or to assist them with their preferred alternate travel arrangement.”

Topics:  flights tiger airways

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