Cathay’s ‘right strategy’ does not fly with frequent fliers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 10:55pm

As a frequent flier, I was puzzled to read Cathay Pacific Airways’ chief operating officer Rupert Hogg’s comment that he is “confident that we have the right strategy going forward to allow the Cathay Group to survive and thrive” (“Cathay unveils business review”, January 16).

The company’s message to me and to all other frequent fliers is that we now have to fly 30 per cent more simply to retain that status. And as if that isn’t bad enough, we now have to pay substantially more for our tickets to help the company claw back some of the HK$13 billion wasted through failed fuel hedging. When did their problems become our problems?

Given the above, the other throwaway quote from Hogg, that “at the end of the day, it all comes down to the customer”, has a very hollow ring to it.

Why waste hundreds of millions of dollars rebranding Dragonair? Which Cathay executive dreamed up that crazy idea?

I tried to pay to upgrade to business class for my wife and I on a recent trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong, but was told that, as the aircraft also had a premium economy section, we would only be able to upgrade to that particular class.

As there was only one seat available in premium economy, we had to abandon the idea, despite business class being half empty. Clearly the company did not want my hard-earned cash for larger seats that would have seen us travel home in a little more comfort.

I have lost count of the times my flights in and out of China have been delayed or even cancelled, and I would prefer never to think again of the four hours I spent sitting on the tarmac recently at Hong Kong International Airport in a plane the size of a crop sprayer, with zero in-flight entertainment to help while away the hours.

And didn’t I read a report recently about cramming even more seats into cattle class?

Yes, Mr Hogg, it all comes down to the customer, and many of us are becoming customers of other airlines that actually do “have the right strategy going forward”.

Richard Castka, Tai Po