How Cathay Pacific is once again losing it mind
At Cathay Pacific, it’s « dumpling on dumpling ». Once again Cathay Pacific is in the news and is the joy of some happy Internet users. Last Sunday, on the 13th, for a few hours, before the company noticed, Cathay Pacific’s website put on sale First Class Lisbon-Hong Kong tickets for only 168 € while the normal fare reaches 13,500€ (A-R).
This is the second incident of its kind at Cathay Pacific because already at the dawn of New Year’s Day, some Internet users who were not in bed had discovered unthinkable fares for flights in First from Vietnam to North America.
The news had gone around the bloggo-sphere and in less time than it takes to say many Hong Kong residents had been shopping at incredible prices: Cathay A-R tickets from neighbouring Vietnam to the USA in First at US$870 and others in Business at US$670 (the normal rates being respectively $20,000 and $15,300).
A first incident at a few million
Some have purchased several AR tickets to North America from Vietnam.
Among them, the Hong Kong blogger Dominicus took no less than 6 AR tickets to New York in a few hours from Da Nang to the United States because the sales period lasted until November 2019.
On his blog HKtravelBlog, Dominicus humorously recounts how he unfortunately missed his first flight to the United States.
Having bought a Hong Kong-Da Nang ticket in addition, he thought he could wrongly remain in the transit zone of Da Nang airport and immediately board the Da Nang-Kong Kong-New York flight. He had not foreseen that Vietnamese law would require him to first enter Vietnamese territory before he could return to his original destination.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of a visa, he was held back for a few hours and missed his flight to Hong Kong and New York. For his other 5 flights, he has already planned to have a visa and for security reasons to make a one-night stopover in Vietnam.
Because if Cathay Pacific, the « handsome player » version announced on January 2 that it would honour all these discounted tickets, specifying that it wanted to welcome these unlikely passengers to discover the premium services of its First Class, it still ensured that any even minor modification of the tickets issued would oblige its regulator to pay the difference between the price paid and the list price.
We can understand the company, because this computer incident will cost it a few million dollars, as reported in the local press. Cathay had then tweeted « #promisemadepromisekept » (promised thing, due thing). Tired of the company, Cathay should have turned her tongue 7 times in her mouth before sending this last message « #lessonlearnt » (we learned the lesson), because ten days later…
« Bis Repetita Placent » as the Romans said
This second incident, fresh from last Sunday, concerns flights from Lisbon to Hong Kong with a stopover in London, Zurich or Frankfurt because Cathay Pacific does not serve Portugal.
These intra-European flight segments are operated by partner airlines British Airways, Swiss and TAP. And then Cathay Pacific will have to pay them a rather high bill for these First Class flight sections. Cathay’s misfortune will probably make others happy.
In front of this second mistake Cathay could only confirm that she would once again honour these tickets at strange prices. To do otherwise would have tarnished his image, making him lose face, which in Asia is unforgivable. In such circumstances, acknowledging a mistake and assuming it completely is a guarantee of seriousness, giving back panache to the company.
For Cathay Pacific, it will be necessary to review its computer system because it will be difficult for her to incriminate once again a human error. Not twice in such a short time.
And then it should be remembered that not so long ago, only a few months ago, Cathay Pacific had to admit that it had been targeted by hackers and that the confidential information of more than 9 million of its customers had been hacked, and that Cathay had announced that it was investing no less than $130 million to improve its computer security.