Swire Group

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2012, 12:00am

Cathay Pacific's reservation system has let the airline's staff down

We have had several complaints about Cathay Pacific's booking system recently. However, a reader writes with a story that shows the booking system is, fortunately, not all there is to the airline.

He arrived in Heathrow on a BMI flight from Dublin 90 minutes late, leaving him just 30 minutes to catch his connecting Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. After sprinting through the airport, he arrived at the Cathay counter. He says the efforts by the staff to get him to the plane were extraordinary.

'One of the counter staff took me through Heathrow's staff security system [the main security check points had closed] and literally ran to the gate with me, he says. 'I don't think you'll find many airlines where the staff ever runs, let alone runs with a passenger.'

He says the staff were fantastic in helping him to make his connection and concludes: 'I think this is one of these issues where the people are terrific but the reservation and booking systems have let the staff down.'

An offer that can be refused

In another airline distress story, a reader tells us that his Hong Kong Airlines outbound flight was delayed eight hours, and that meant spending the first night on the plane rather than in his luxury hotel.

The return flight was 'cancelled for commercial reasons', and HK Air refused to put our reader on a decent alternative flight.

He says 'after umpteen complaint e-mails, letters, registered letters and filing a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal, they finally made me an offer of compensation, which, of course, is in the form of 'complimentary tickets on HKA'.

This he declined. The matter will be heard by the small claims tribunal next month.

DAB bothered by 'hot spots'

The Women's Affairs Committee of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has completed its annual assessment of the 'peeping hot spots' of Hong Kong. These hot spots, readers may recall, are where those so inclined can watch women in skirts riding up escalators or, even more egregiously, surreptitiously take photographs with their cell phones, some of which end up on the internet. We, of course, do not condone this behaviour which is a criminal offence. However, we feel the DAB's action is somewhat double-edged, in that in their intense detail, its reports serve both as a warning to women and a guide for the perverts as to where to seek their prey. We can report that Times Square appears to have put its house in order and has sanded over the glass panel alongside the escalator, thereby obscuring the view. It is not even clear that this practice is a serious problem in Hong Kong and warrants such attention from a political party. It must surely have better things to do with its time.

Tycoon's car dodges a ticket

We have not commented on illegal parking for some time. This is not because the problem has gone away. Far from it. It seems to be getting worse. Illegal parking is in full swing at all the usual places. We have been sent pictures of triple parking outside Prince's Building in Central. People have to stand in the road to flag taxis outside the Fringe Club on Ice House Street, and on it goes. We have seen teams of three traffic wardens patrolling the area outside the Fook Lam Moon restaurant - the tycoons' canteen - in Wanchai at lunchtime. Others have reported five. We've heard from one reader who reports he had a run in with a traffic warden who refused to book a seven-seater parked, without a driver inside, on double yellow lines. The traffic warden explained his action by saying that as the driver rushed up, a minute or so after the warden appeared, and drove off, that was OK. 'The official policy is just to tell the driver to move on,' according to the traffic warden. So much for the law. Tourists from far, far away

Documents from Britain's Ministry of Defence show staff believed aliens could visit for 'military reconnaissance', 'scientific' research or 'tourism', The Daily Telegraph reports. In a 1995 briefing, a desk officer said the purpose of reported alien craft sightings 'needs to be established as a matter of priority' but admitted there did not appear to be 'hostile intent'.


In a recent piece, we wrote that it would not be hard to predict which way London Metal Exchange (LME) chief executive Martin Abbott would be voting on July 25 - the day LME shareholders vote on the sale of the exchange to HKEx. We pointed out that Abbott is expected to receive a bonus of GBP7.359 million (HK$88.2 million) if the deal goes ahead. However we were incorrect to say Abbott would be voting, since he doesn't own shares in the LME. We apologise for that inaccuracy.