Cathay Pacific glitch gives fliers 95% discount on first class tickets

Cathay Pacific glitch gives fliers 95% discount on first class tickets

Cathay Pacific Airways on Wednesday (Jan 2) acknowledged that it had made a mistake after customers managed to buy tickets at huge discounts over the New Year period, but said that it would honour the purchases.

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific has said it will honour first- and business-class tickets mistakenly sold to travellers for the price of economy fares.

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

However, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday that a New York-based professional who bought two first-class tickets between Da Nang and the USA city had his booking cancelled without receiving an explanation from the airline.

Travel blogger Gary Leff wrote Monday that, for example, a Cathay business-class round-trip from Da Nang to NY started at $675 for travel in August, but on Wednesday, the same trip cost about $16,000 for July and September.

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.

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Cathay is aware of the pricing issue and will provide more details later, a spokeswoman for the carrier said by phone.

Passengers scooped first and business class seats for bargain prices after Cathay Pacific messed up its pricing.

Cathay Pacific is attributing the snafu to a "ticketing error", and hasn't elaborated further, though it's possible the glitch was caused by something as simple as an airline employee typing in the wrong number.

In October, Cathay Pacific was the subject of a data breach in its IT systems, jeopardising the personal information of up to 9.4 million passengers.

At least two airline blogs, One Mile at a Time and View from the Wing, pointed out the dramatically reduced fare on New Year's Eve, suggesting it was a mistake by the airline and would not last.

And even though the carrier could cancel the tickets, it announced that the fares would still stand.

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