In air travel you pretty much get what you pay for.
First class, Business class or Economy? Direct or connecting flights? Maximum baggage allowance or carry-on? Premium or no frills airline?
Tiger Airways prides itself on being a budget carrier, catering to a broad market who are prepared to cut a few corners for the sake of saving a few bucks.
On the back of its success with Border Security, and noticing the format built around the UK carrier easyJet in Airline, Seven has equally opted to go for a cheap, if broadly appealing, factual on Tiger.
Like Airline, the show pivots around the exchanges between customers and staff. With emotions already high on making a flight, farewelling a loved one, having a fear of flying, training a new staff member, or negotiating baggage issues -it’s rife with the possibility of drama.
In the first episode the stories profile a large group of 40 whose plane is cancelled, leaving them with a ten hour wait. Making it worse, they are mostly senior, and English doesn’t appear to be their first language. Yup, this is a show made by the people behind Border Security.
A second story sees a couple angry that they are being charged for a pram for their two year old -just five days over the infant threshold that allows free transport of prams. A third sees a young man sleeping through his boarding call, resulting in the staff having to offload his bags. The sole optimistic story features a man who proposes to his wife in the terminal (classy) as they head off on a holiday.
Narrating the series is Corrine Grant, a curious choice given her background in comedy. But here she plays the straight role, drily linking the set-ups in a post-production voice-over. A narrator is also very necessary when the structure of the series includes such stop-start storytelling. Thanks, Border Security…
The show doesn’t shy away from criticism, with plenty of passengers irate at either Tiger’s customer service or derailed travel arrangements. It’s hard to know why anybody, or indeed any airline, would agree to be filmed for this. Luckily for Seven they have.
Airways feels like its ‘cast’ have all been shipped in from Fountain Lakes. With short tempers, couched by dramatic music, shaky cameras, and lively, working class characters this makes for tasty voyeurism.
That said, it will be very entertaining to those who eat up this genre. Angry passengers, frazzled staff, fly on the wall, rinse and repeat.
Personally I always found Mile High a pretty entertaining dramatisation of a budget carrier. Even old reruns of Skyways could make for nostalgic fun. But beware, this is a show ripe for broad appeal, especially in this timeslot.
As one of the staff says at the end of a testing day, “Sometimes you bite the Tiger and sometimes the Tiger bites you.”
I presume there’s something in that for all of us.
Airways premieres 7:30pm tonight on Seven.