Happy New Year! I went to bed just after midnight last night in Germany and woke up with a flood of texts, tweets, and emails about cheap Cathay Pacific business and first class fares out of Vietnam. It was already too late for me, but did you get in on it?
As I write this now, at around 10:00A.M. in Germany, the fare is long gone. The fact that Cathay Pacific has zeroed out all business class and first class transpacific space suggests the carrier took drastic measures to stop more people from booking the fare. After all, it is difficult to resist such a great fare even if it requires a positioning flight to Vietnam…
Cathay Pacific’s actions do suggest this was a mistake fare, but I am not willing to rule out this was just a particularly sweet fare sale. Let’s not forget Qatar Airways’ Golden Sale which also originated out of Vietnam. I was able to enjoy Qsuite business class for $672 round-trip on that fare and Qatar made no indication that it was a mistake fare. There were no sudden currency fluctuations with the Vietnam Dong.
I maintain that consumers should not have to ascertain whether a fare is “real” or a mistake. As a public policy compromise, I would give airlines the same cooling off period that consumers have: up to 24 hours as long as travel is more than seven days away. Under current U.S. law, airlines can cancel tickets they deem a mistake but must reimburse travelers for any non-refundable travel costs made in reliance upon the cancelled booking.
It will be interesting to see what Cathay Pacific does with this. The fact that so many major travel blogs picked this up yesterday suggests that a lot of tickets were booked.
My prediction is that Cathay Pacific will honor the tickets booked. Should that not be the case, we will have some fun analyzing the reasons Cathay Pacific provides for trying to wiggle out.
What a nice New Year’s treat! Congrats to those who booked this. I hope Cathay Pacific will honor the fares.
Should Cathay Pacific fight you on this, are you prepared to fight back?