Cathay Pacific to honour $21,900 premium seats sold for $922

Cathay Pacific Airways sold business class tickets from Vietnam to Canada and the US at economy prices earlier this week.
Cathay Pacific Airways sold business class tickets from Vietnam to Canada and the US at economy prices earlier this week. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Cathay Pacific Airways has said it will honour first class and business class tickets sold to some passengers for a fraction of the usual price.

All eyes had been on Asia's biggest international carrier after it sold the tickets from Vietnam to Canada and the United States at economy prices earlier this week, according to bloggers.

Return fares in the premium cabin from Da Nang to New York started at US$675 (S$922) for travel in August, Mr Gary Leff, a travel and loyalty programme blogger on View from the Wing, wrote on Monday (Dec 31).

Travel from Hanoi to Vancouver and back in a mix of business and first class could cost less than US$1,000, according to a post on One Mile at a Time.

"Happy 2019 all, and 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. Hope this will make your 2019 ‘special’ too!" the airline wrote on Twitter.

The fares were not available on Cathay Pacific’s website on Thursday (Jan 3).

The mistake added to the embarrassment for the Hong Kong carrier, which is struggling to turn its fortunes around while competition intensifies from Chinese and budget airlines.

The pricing gaffe comes on the heels of a sophisticated hack on Cathay Pacific's computer systems last year that exposed private information of 9.4 million passengers in the world's biggest airline data breach.

 

A business class return ticket to New York 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.

Other airlines have made similar pricing errors previously.

Singapore Airlines in 2014 and Hong Kong Airlines last year honoured business class tickets mistakenly sold at economy fares. Both carriers did not disclose how many people purchased the cheaper tickets.

Cathay Pacific had sold tickets to the US and other destinations from Vietnam in a promotional offer that ended on Monday, according to its website. Round-trip business tickets to Los Angeles were sold from US$2,940.

The airline said it has spent over HK$1 billion (S$175 million) on IT infrastructure and security over the past three years.