Cathay Pacific Honors New Years Mistake Fare

Happy new year! How did you spend your new years? I spent mine counting down with a friend, getting home at 12:30 AM, and getting knocked out until 10 AM the next morning – the perfect night, if you ask me. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the guys at Cathay Pacific didn’t have as sweet a night as I did.

Cathay Pacific ran a mistake fare sale a couple of days ago when flights from Vietnam to the U.S. ran for ~HK$5,290 in business class and ~HK$8,000 in first class. Obviously, they probably left out a 0 or something, since a typical Cathay Pacific ticket can barely take you to Hong Kong from Vietnam for that price in a premium cabin.

IMG_0580Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin

The fare itself was gone when I woke up, so I couldn’t do any useful reporting on it. Instead I’m just a speculator at this point, and will talk about how I think Cathay Pacific handled this fare.

Spoiler alert: Cathay Pacific honoured the fare

Back last year Hong Kong Airlines ran a mistake fare from the West Coast to Southeast Asia roundtrip in business class. They decided it was the right thing to do by honouring the fare, and many people were able to take advantage of the deal.

Read more: Cathay Pacific vs. Hong Kong Airlines A350 business class

I guess Cathay Pacific worked by example and decided to honour the fare as well, as reported by SCMP this morning. Unfortunately, at least one person found their ticket from Danang to New York cancelled (as Danny Lee reported); nobody I’ve personally heard from has had their tickets cancelled, though there have already been several mishaps.

Oops, you can’t direct turn in Danang

My friend Dom from HKTravelBlog booked himself five roundtrips from Danang to New York in first class (more on that later). This morning he embarked on his first journey, only to be questioned in Danang. Apparently you can’t do a direct turn in Danang…fortunately he was able to grab hold of a Cathay Pacific station manager, who pleaded for the immigration department to give him an exception. Don’t make any plans that involve a direct turn in Danang on this fare – if you can’t stay a night, contact the airline ASAP (they’ve already honoured the fare at this point, so there’s not much they can really do in terms of cancelling your fare).

img_3104I wouldn’t make a same-day turn in Danang

Most flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi that worked with this fare were on Vietnam Airlines. Vietnam Airlines runs exclusively narrowbody products to Hong Kong, which feature inferior products to Cathay Pacific, even in their regional configuration. I don’t think the same issue with direct turns applies for either airport, though.

HOW MANY flights did people book???

I’ve been in bed the past couple of days, but I’ve still kept up to date with other reports – particularly in comment sections. A commenter said on One Mile At A Time’s post on the situation:

Just booked 9 round trips from HAN to BOS for < $1,200 each. Thanks Lucky.

I’m not worried about these fares not being honored because the Chinese business culture is based on honor, integrity and fairness.

NINE roundtrips – that’s 36 flights, 18 of them being in a longhaul Cathay Pacific premium cabin! All of you know how much I love flying, but I’m not sure if I’d be up to camp in a Cathay Pacific 777 for a total of 10 days (it’s not even the end of 2019 yet, so there might not even be WiFi on his flight).

Someone just booked to spend, um, a cumulative 10 days and 16 hours in this cabin

Bottom Line

I haven’t yet been fortunate enough to book a mistake fare (though I do keep on guard more often than before), though a mistake fare is a good time to get my popcorn out. Airlines handle fares differently, though I admire the integrity Cathay Pacific took, since they’ll probably be losing quite a bit of money on this mistake fare. Or they’re just trying to fill their planes (apparently the Hong Kong to New York inventory is filled until March).

Did you manage to book any Cathay Pacific premium cabin mistake fares out of Vietnam this New Years?

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