Why is Cathay Pacific rewarding loyal customers with worse service?
- If Hong Kong’s flagship airline can’t deliver better service, perhaps the government should take it over: it can’t be much worse
Raise your hands, those who used to be proud of Cathay Pacific, our Hong Kong airline. And raise your hands, those who still are. The once “premier” airline is now downgrading customer services in a bid to cut costs, and thus putting themselves in competition with lower-level airlines.
On January 21, my son returned to UK for university on the 1.30am flight (CX219); around midnight they were told the flight would be delayed for 15 minutes. Thereafter, they were told almost hourly that the flight would be delayed for yet another hour. At 3:45am, staff said they were taking parts from another plane and, if that didn't work, they would get another plane. As my son observed, why didn't they just get another plane immediately?
The answer, of course, is cost. The priority is not fulfilling your obligations to your customers but, rather, saving money. The final cut was that I received an email from Cathay at noon (Hong Kong time) saying “Welcome to Manchester – how did we do?” At that time the plane was still in the air, around six hours away from Manchester.
That is not customer service, that is computer service; I filled out the questionnaire and, naturally, heard nothing further from the company. Or the computer.
Like many other Hong Kong residents, I used to be fiercely loyal to Cathay. This last two years they have shown absolutely zero loyalty to their customers; they have reduced their Marco Polo benefits, they have curtailed in-flight services, and they have executed some monumental management gaffes this past few months. So, as a suggestion, let the government take over the airline and make it Hong Kong's official carrier – even the government couldn’t make a worse job of it than the current management.
Dave Osborne, Wan Chai