Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific said Wednesday it would honor first- and business-class tickets from Vietnam to New York that it mistakenly sold online for about $675 — which should have cost as much as $16,000.
“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,” Cathay said Wednesday on its Twitter account.
“Hope this will make your 2019 ‘special’ too!” it said, adding the hashtags #promisemadepromisekept and #lessonlearnt.
The rock-bottom fares were reported by travel bloggers on New Year’s Eve and later pulled by the airline, the BBC reported.
Flights from Hanoi to Vancouver and back in a mix of business- and first-class seats could cost less than $1,000, according to a post on One Mile at a Time.
Several thousand tickets are believed to have been sold during the computer glitch, which has been blamed on a person entering the wrong fares into the company’s system for flights between Vietnam and North America, according to the South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, one customer said his first-class ticket was canceled.
Big Apple-based IT professional Vincent Lee Chun-fai, 42, bought two first-class tickets on Tuesday, but told the Morning Post that his flight from Da Nang to New York — which cost $1,600 — was canceled without explanation.
“They indeed canceled my booking which I paid for. I even called the Cathay customer service in the US; they told me that it was canceled by the company in Hong Kong,” Lee said.
Cathay told the paper that it appeared that Lee’s travel companion had canceled the ticket, not the airline.
The blunder concluded a challenging year for Cathay Pacific, which has been trying to return to profitability after posting its first-ever back-to-back annual loss in March.
The carrier has struggled against competition, particularly from low-cost Chinese airlines covering Hong Kong, mainland China and Southeast Asia.
In October, Cathay Pacific acknowledged that its computer system had been compromised, exposing the personal information and travel histories of up to 9.4 million passengers.
A month earlier, it had to send one of its planes back to the paint shop after spelling the airline’s name “Cathay Paciic” on the side of the jetliner.
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