Flying first class from Vietnam to US and Canada would usually cost you around $16,000 (€14,100) for a return trip with Cathay Pacific. But for several hours on New Year’s Eve, Cathay Pacific was offering first and business class fares for as little as $670. The word spread through social media and travel blogs to buyers across the world.
On Wednesday, the company said the massive discount was a “mistake” but added it would stil honor the sales.
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
“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 Pacific said on Twitter.
The airline did not immediately say how many tickets were sold.
Leather seats, built-in massagers
According to Cathay Pacific’s website, first class includes a series of perks such as leather seats with built-in massagers and a large “private working area.” The seat transforms into a bed which is equipped with a “500-thread-count duvet pillows, and cushions.”
First-class ticket holders also receive access to the company’s premium lounges at airports around the world.
The New Year discount caps a troubled year for the Hong Kong airline, which reported $33 million in loses in the first half of 2018. The premium airliner is struggling to keep up with cheaper rivals from mainland China.
In October, Cathay Pacific acknowledged it had been hit by a massive data hack, with hackers snatching data of some 9.4 million customers. The company apparently knew about the breach for seven months before confirming it in public.
Also in 2018, the company’s plane went viral after the company name, Cathay Pacific, was shown misspelled as Cathay Paciic on its side.
Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!
(Source: HKADB) pic.twitter.com/20SRQpKXET
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) September 19, 2018
The New Year’s Eve glitch is not unprecedented – other airlines have also mistakenly offered large discounts in the past. In 2014, Singapore airlines agreed to honor 400 business class tickets they had offered at economy prices. Hong Kong Airlines also acknowledged a similar mistake in 2018 and pledged to honor the sales.
Air Canada is fighting a class-action lawsuit after refusing to validate the tickets in 2015.