Cathay sells $16,000 premium seats for $675 in ticketing blunder

Cathay Pacific tweeted that the mistake was a 'VERY good surprise special on New Year's Day'. – EPA pic

Cathay Pacific tweeted that the mistake was a 'VERY good surprise special on New Year's Day'. – EPA pic

Passengers scooped first and business class seats for bargain prices after Cathay Pacific messed up its pricing.

Cathay Pacific accidentally sold first and business-class tickets for a fraction of their normal prices.

Cathay Pacific Airways said it would guarantee thousands of first and business-class flights sold at huge discounts after a ticketing error, calling the mistake a surprise special on New Year's Day.

Gary Leff, a travel and loyalty-programme blogger who writes on View from the Wing, noticed the first class fares being offered for $675 for travel in August 2019. "I even called the Cathay customer service in the U.S.; they told me that it was canceled by the company in Hong Kong", Lee said.

Gary Leff, a travel and loyalty-program blogger on View from the Wing, wrote on December 31 that the Cathay business-class round-trip from Da Nang to NY started at $675 for travel in August.

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The Hong Kong-based airline said on social media on Wednesday that it would honour the bookings. "We made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued". Although it sold the ticket for around $675, prices for the same route in July and September cost around $16,000. The discount ticket gaffe comes after the carrier's computer system was hacked a year ago and exposed the personal data of more than 9 million customers in the industry's biggest airline data breach.

Twitter users who said they had bought the cheap tickets lined up to welcome the news, though at least one questioned whether it was a publicity stunt - something an airline representative denied. In 2014, Singapore Airlines made the same mistake and honored those fares as well.

The cause of the cheap flights was a computer glitch and has been blamed on a person who entered the wrong fares into the system, the South China Morning Post reports.

Cathay had sold tickets to the United States and other destinations from Vietnam in a promotional offer that ended on December 31, according to its website. It sold business class tickets for HK$4600 ($875) for return flights from Los Angeles to both Shanghai and Bangkok.

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