Why Cathay Pacific first-class ticket did not fly so well with one passenger
- My advertised 18-hour flight to New York took 30 hours, and that was with me taking the initiative
I have followed with interest the many and various commentaries regarding the dramatic decline in service standards offered by our “national” carrier, Cathay Pacific. As a passenger who has flown some 3 million miles with Cathay over the past two decades, I too have observed the obvious lowering of standards and clear cost-cutting.
But nothing had prepared me for the travesty last month. I was scheduled, as a first-class passenger, on CX 888, Hong Kong to New York via Vancouver early on Sunday, October 21. The flight was uneventful until an hour from Vancouver when we were advised that due to “aircraft rotation”, those passengers due to fly on to New York were likely to suffer a delay. This was nothing more than airline-speak for the fact that Cathay in its infinite wisdom had decided to commandeer our perfectly serviceable New York-bound aircraft, send it winging back to Hong Kong, and cancel the onward flight to New York.
This resulted in the many New York passengers being left stranded in Vancouver. A surly member of Cathay’s ground staff presented me with a hotel voucher and informed me that I was being rebooked on an Air Canada flight the following morning and thus would reach New York some 12 hours late – she further advised that I would receive an email confirming my onward flight details later that evening. No such email was forthcoming, and I learned – from the hotel, not Cathay – at 5 o’clock the following morning that my stay had been extended in the hotel until Monday. I vainly tried to contact Cathay in Vancouver – their office was closed on Sunday with nobody at all in the airport itself – as well as Cathay in Hong Kong which told me the issue was being handled in Vancouver.
As I needed to be in New York on Sunday, I went to the Air Canada airport desk where I was able to purchase a business class ticket to New York without difficulty – so why could Cathay have not done this for me?
Watch: The declining fortunes of Cathay Pacific
My advertised 18-hour flight to New York took 30 hours, and that was with me taking the initiative – left to Cathay it would have been at least 54 hours.
If this is how passengers in first class are treated I shudder to imagine how other travellers fared in this nightmare. Cathay’s total disrespect for customer relations and support is becoming ever more commonplace.
Bryan Carter, Pok Fu Lam