I AM writing in response to Mr Phil Redfearn's letter (South China Morning Post, March 23).
Mr Redfearn was denied boarding on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City during Chinese New Year.
The subject of overbooking by airlines is rather controversial, but I would like to address the issue frankly.
Throughout the world, most airlines have extended their computer reservation systems to major travel agencies.
The agencies or the passengers themselves often make multiple bookings in order to secure confirmed seats.
The situation is further complicated during peak times such as holidays, when some passengers make double bookings or reservations with more than one airline.
Regrettably, it has become essential for all airlines to overbook their flights in order to avoid denying unused seats to other passengers.
The necessity to selectively overbook has now been recognised and accepted worldwide.
On the rare occasions that a passenger is denied boarding, we will ensure that the passenger concerned boards the next available flight; if necessary, we naturally offer compensation and free accommodation.
I must stress that we do not discriminate between passengers on the basis of nationality or origin.
Mr Redfearn asks for an apology from us and we sincerely offer it.
PHIL BURFURD Manager Corporate Communication Cathay Pacific