Cathay Pacific again accidentally sells first-class tickets for a fraction of the price
Less than two weeks after a Cathay Pacific ticketing error led to premium seats being sold for economy fares, Cathay Pacific has accidentally sold tickets from Europe to Hong Kong for less than a tenth of their usual prices.
- First-class Cathay Pacific flights from Portugal to Hong Kong were sold for deep discounts
- Cathay Pacific will honour the sales, which also included one-way flights to European cities
- A similar error two weeks ago was thought to have cost the airline millions of dollars
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that first-class tickets from Portugal to Hong Kong were sold for $2,103, down from $22,179.
And because Cathay Pacific doesn’t fly direct from Lisbon to Hong Kong, the deep discount also included one-way legs on partner carriers from Lisbon to London, Frankfurt, or Zurich.
A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said the fares were the fault of a website error due to an input issue.
“The sale of such fares was stopped immediately,” she said in a statement.
“We are looking into the root cause of this incident both internally and externally with our vendors.
“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.”
Jeremy Tam Man-ho, a commercial pilot and politician in Hong Kong’s Civic Party, told SCMP that repeated errors like this were “very rare”.
“Human errors can happen, no matter how sophisticated a company is, but if the same kind of errors happen repeatedly in a short space of time, it may indicate a bigger problem,” he said.
Mr Tam told SCMP the airline should investigate why the errors happened, such as whether the input system or procedures had changed recently, or if there was a problem with the system interface that might have been confusing.
The error continues the string of Cathay Pacific’s woes.
Cathay Pacific made worldwide headlines and caused a buying frenzy when round-trip, first-class tickets from Vietnam to North America were briefly discounted from about $23,000 to just under $1,500, and business-class seats were less than $1,000 on New Year’s Eve.
Cathay honoured all the tickets, but SMCP reported that the mistake, which was the product of human error, likely cost the carrier millions of dollars.
In October, stocks plunged when their airline revealed a massive data breach that affected 9.4 million passengers.
And on a lighter note, one of Cathay Pacific’s planes in September was discovered to have been branded with a misspelling of its own name.