In a major blunder, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd sold tickets costing Rs 11 lakhs at just approximately Rs 47,000. Earlier this week, Asia's biggest international carrier sold business-class tickets from Vietnam to Canada and the US at business class fares. After realising the error, the airline company changed the amount to its original fares.
Two airline blogs, One Mile at a Time and View from the Wing, pointed out that the airlines' fares had dropped considerably on New Year's Eve. According to a blog post by Gary Leff, a travel and loyalty-program blogger on View from the Wing, return fares in the premium cabin from Da Nang to New York started at USD 675 (Rs 47,378). Hong Kong Airlines Cathay Pacific Spells Own Name Wrong on Plane.
Meanwhile, One Mile at a Time noted that ticket cost from Hanoi to Vancouver in business and first class could cost less than USD 1,000 (Rs 70,190). Screenshots of the airline's site showed business class tickets for about $16,000 (Rs 11,23,120). Hong Kong Airline Cathay Pacific Ends its Skirts-only Policy Which Existed Since 1946.
As the news went viral, social media users speculated that the airlines may not accept the ticket. People impatiently waited to know if the airlines would actually accept the tickets mistakenly sold at one fraction of the actual price, Cathay Pacific said that they would honour the passengers and let them travel with them.
Here is Cathay Pacific's tweet:
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!
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) January 2, 2019
According to the airlines' website, in a promotional offer that ended on December 31, the airlines sold tickets to the US and other places. Round trip business tickets to Los Angeles were sold from USD 2,940 (Rs 2,06,360).
View From The Wing's Gary Leff said, Oh my goodness this is an amazing fare. "You can fly from Southeast Asia (Vietnam) to New York in Cathay Pacific business class from $675 roundtrip." One Mile at a Time's Ben Schlappig writes, "We don’t know for certain how Cathay will feel about such a deep discount airfare sale, whether they might get seller's remorse. I'd wait a few days after buying additional travel or making additional non-refundable plans around the fare."
Multiple times in the past, airlines have done similar blunders. In 2014, Singapore Airlines Ltd and in 2018, Hong Kong Airlines Ltd sold business-class tickets similarly at economy fares. The airline companies haven't disclosed the number of tickets they sold at the cheaper rates.