Cathay Pacific makes good on first-class ticket blunder

Andrew Cummings
January 3, 2019

Cathay Pacific did not specify how many tickets were sold at the heavily discounted price.

A passenger walks to the First Class counter of Cathay Pacific Airways at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong, April 4, 2018.

"To those who bought our good - VERY good surprise "special" on New Year's Day, yes - we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued", the airline wrote in a tweet.

Despite the costly error, the airline says it will honour the tickets sold at the discounted price.

"Hope this will make your 2019 "special" too!" it said, adding the hashtags #promisemadepromisekept and #lessonlearnt.

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific confessed on Wednesday to a technical blunder that briefly allowed customers to purchase a round-trip business class ticket from Vietnam to NY for about $675, a more than 95 percent discount.

An airlines blogger told media that he got a first-class ticket from Vietnam's Da Nang to NY for $842 (Rs. 58,983).

A business class return ticket to NY from Vietnam's Da Nang costs around US$16,000 (S$21,900) for travel in July and September, according to Cathay Pacific's website on Wednesday. A return trip from Hanoi to Vancouver on first-class will cost $988, according to travel blog One Mile at a Time.

The next day, another travel website The Points Guy reported seeing business class flights from Danang to NY selling for less than US$700 - "cheaper than a coach ticket".

Cathay told the paper that it appeared that Lee's travel companion had canceled the ticket, not the airline.

It isn't necessarily unheard of for airlines to unload otherwise exorbitant tickets at extremely low prices, and there's a variety of contributing factors that could ultimately cause mistake fares to occur.

In October, Cathay Pacific acknowledged hat its computer system had been compromised, exposing the personal information and travel histories of up to 9.4 million passengers.

One person who seemingly managed to snap the ultra-cheap fare up was Mac Jaehnert.

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