Cathay makes another ticketing blunder

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airways had a pricing error on Sunday (Jan 13), with first-class tickets from Portugal to Hong Kong being sold at a fraction of the price. PHOTO: REUTERS
Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airways had a pricing error on Sunday (Jan 13), with first-class tickets from Portugal to Hong Kong being sold at a fraction of the price. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • Less than two weeks after saying it had a ticketing error that sold premium seats at huge discounts, Cathay Pacific Airways has done it again.

This time, some visitors to its booking site got lucky on flights from Europe to Hong Kong.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that the carrier offered first-class seats from Portugal to Hong Kong at a tenth of its original US$16,000 (S$22,000) price. Since Cathay Pacific does not fly directly from Lisbon to Hong Kong, the tickets included a leg to London, Zurich or Frankfurt through partner airlines, the newspaper said.

"We are aware of the error on some fares from Europe on our website because of an input issue," a spokesman for the airline said in a statement yesterday, adding that the sale of such fares was stopped immediately and is being probed. "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."

The repeat of the glitch adds to the embarrassment the carrier faced last year when a sophisticated hack on Cathay Pacific's computer systems exposed private information of 9.4 million passengers in the world's biggest airline data breach.

Asia's largest international carrier is in the midst of a three-year turnaround programme after losses in 2016 and 2017, with last year's earnings due to be announced in March.

Around New Year's Day, Cathay Pacific sold discounted round-trip business-class tickets from Vietnam to Canada and the United States, and later said it would honour the fares.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2019, with the headline 'Cathay makes another ticketing blunder'. Print Edition | Subscribe