Cathay Pacific sells $16,000 tickets at economy prices - again

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airways had a pricing error on Sunday, with first-class tickets from Portugal to Hong Kong being sold at a fraction of the price

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airways had a pricing error on Sunday, with first-class tickets from Portugal to Hong Kong being sold at a fraction of the price

The tickets, which included a leg to London, Zurich or Frankfurt through partner airlines, are available for just US$1512 (NZ$2213) - normally it is US$16,000 (NZ$23,417).

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.

Testifying to lawmakers in Hong Kong, Cathay's chairman John Slosar called it "the most serious [crisis] the airline has faced".

Once again, customers of Cathay Pacific landed first-class seats at bargain basement prices, in the second fare blunder by the Hong Kong airline this month.

But, while some of the tickets were at the usual full fares, others were sold at huge discounts.

"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.
A flight departing early in the morning was listed for $16,000 (£12,450) but taking the same route at midday cost only $1,512 (£1,175).

Around New Year's day, Cathay sold such discounted round-trip business-class tickets from Vietnam to Canada and the USA, and later said it would honor the fares.

A Cathay spokeswoman said a "very small number" of customers had been able to buy the fares at the vastly discounted prices and it looked "forward to welcoming you in board to enjoy our premium services".

"We are looking into the root cause of this incident both internally and externally with our vendors", a Cathay spokesperson, who attributed the error to an "input issue", was cited as saying.

In a statement on Sunday a spokesperson again promised to let passengers who had benefited from the mistake board their flights.

The error continues the string of Cathay Pacific's woes.

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