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Cathay Pacific / Very misleading advertising and many disappointed and furious Cathay passengers

1 United States Review updated:
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Dear Cathay

I travelled with your airline Sydney to Hong Kong Business class Friday evening 15 Feb 2008 on CX 138 I was in seat 12H. I had booked on Cathay as I needed an evening flight and I needed to get a good sleep on the flight to do business the next day after a further flight to Beijing. I had paid full business class fare only to find an OLD plane which did NOT live up to the "Flat out to Hong Kong " advertising slogan. The seats were awful, the trip consequently a very unpleasant experience, and business the next day went poorly because of lack of sleep.

ALL the business class passengers on that flight complained to the senior stewardess that they all had paid top dollar for the pleasure of a flat bed to Hong Kong. We were told we had the option of not flying on that flight and we could opt for another airline. The stewardess said only once per week or LESS did a more modern plane fly the Syd Hong Kong route and passengers like us in business class were often complaining about it.

I completed my flight and my business and returned Hong Kong to Sydney on Tuesday evening 19 Feb 08 on CX 161, sitting in seat 12 C, business class, only to find again an old plane, nowhere near a flat bed and again a very miserable bunch of travellers in business class. Again we were told we could complain !!! or choose not to go on the flight !!

I have decided not to travel Cathay again. I was a friend of the late Sir Edward Scott, a senior executive with Cathay based in Sydney a few years ago and I know he would have been disgusted be the performance of Cathay in this instance ; a once great airline that now advertises one thing, takes passengers' money, and then provides a poor quality substitute service and then says " So Complain " ! I talk frequently to my patients about airline travel, as my interest is venous thrombosis, including travel-related thrombosis, and believe me the poor standard of Cathay now frequently comes up in conversation.

I hope things improve in your airline and that truth may reappear in your advertising. If not you will have a large number of disappointed and angry former clients.

Yours faithfully Dr G Mark Malouf Surgeon 236 Edgecliff Rd Woollahra. 2025 Sydney


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  • Li
      29th of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    Dear Sirs:

    I am writing this letter as a warning to others who may be traveling now at the beginning of the summer rush.

    Despite my busy teaching schedule, I had to return to San Francisco for a week for my father's memorial, May 18, and to clean up his personal papers.

    Seats were only available on Cathay Pacific, through Hong Kong, and on Eva, but the former was much cheaper and the time convenient, so I booked Cathay Pacific for May 13 and 19. Due to family activities, I wanted to stay for one more day ? and lost my
    confirmed seat. I thought I would get on within another flight or two by waiting at the airport, and Cathay Pacific had two flights a day. There was no future waiting list; you had to get to the airlines check-in counters about four hours in advance to put your name first on the waiting list for that flight. Finally, in the middle of the night, the check-in desk admitted that it was useless to wait, they had overbooked the flights by 35-55 passengers for every flight (about 380 passengers per plane) for at least the next
    ten days! The next confirmed seat available was 20 days hence! Cathay Pacific also refused to make other travel arrangements such as re-routing, or to endorse the tickets over to airlines such as United or Eva that had open seats.

    I also met several other passengers who had come from the Midwest or from Texas via other airlines without confirmed seats on Cathay Pacific, who were likewise stranded. One of my
    acquaintances from Taiwan that I ran into in the waiting line, Christina Tang, was after waiting a day given a new booking and route through Seattle on Eva by her connecting airlines, American Airlines, with no help from Cathay Pacific. Those overbooked with confirmed seats were, however, given US$400 compensation and seats the next day; from observation, it seemed about a dozen people were thus compensated each flight.

    Overall, it seems to be extremely irresponsible and in fact probably fraudulent for an airline to sell tickets for many more people than it can carry. I had no choice but to finally buy a ticket on another airline to return to Taipei for my work, and save the
    Cathay Pacific ticket for another trip within six months. It would have cost me over US$2700 to buy the round-trip Eva ticket at the airport, but fortunately my stepmother was able to call around the Chinatown travel agencies and buy the ticket for me for US$1475, just a little more than it would have cost me to buy the Eva ticket in Taipei to begin with. At least it was a direct flight home to Taipei. I'll look forward to seeing my stepmother again in August, but not to seeing the Cathay Pacific check-in counters

    Linda Gail Arrigo
    Humanities, Taipei Medical University

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