Cathay Pacific messes up first-class ticket prices — again

Just a couple of weeks after a ticketing error saw Cathay Pacific sell $16,000 first-class seats for less than a tenth of that price, the airline has gone and done it again.

Customers searching Cathay Pacific’s website on Sunday, January 13 for return flights between its Hong Kong hub and Lisbon, Portugal (via another European city) found seats for just $1,512 instead of the usual $11,000.

As with the first blunder, the international airline has promised to honor any reservations that were made at the absurdly low price.

In a statement reported by local media, a spokesperson for the carrier said that Sunday’s error was down to “an input issue” on its website, adding, “The sale of such fares was stopped immediately. We are looking into the root cause of this incident both internally and externally with our vendors.”

The spokesperson added: “For the very small number of customers who have purchased these tickets, we look forward to welcoming you on board to enjoy our premium services.”

Honoring the bookings is certainly a smart public relations move by the company, as some airlines end up canceling seats booked at the wrong fare. United Airlines, for example, canceled first-class reservations after an error on its website in 2015.

The airline said at the time that “several thousand” seats for flights between New York City and London were snapped up for as little as $74 each, instead of around $5,000, before the mistake was put right.

So what kind of service is in store for the lucky handful of buyers who managed to snag a super-cheap ticket? Well, for the roughly 11-hour flight between Hong Kong and Europe, the superior treatment begins well before you even step on the plane. According to Cathay’s website, you’ll be able to make use of additional luggage allowance and “speed through security” shortly after check-in. Flying first class also gives you access to Cathay’s premium lounges where you can relax prior to boarding.

Once you’re in your seat — one far comfier than those back in coach — you can enjoy the in-flight hospitality, which includes menus developed by Michelin-starred chefs that offer “an authentic taste of Hong Kong and China,” all washed down, if you like, with champagne and award-winning wines. In-flight entertainment comes via a whopping 18.5-inch display, with controls provided on a tablet-like handset.

The long flight means you’ll almost certainly want to get some shut-eye along the way, in which case your seat can be quickly transformed into “one of the widest fully flat beds in the sky.” A flight attendant will even hand you a “cosy sleep suit” for the best possible slumber at 38,000 feet.

If you’re looking for a cheap flight ticket but can’t find an airline with a malfunctioning website, here are some great tips on how to find the best fares.


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