I have often said that mistake fares are like refundable lottery tickets: when you win, you hit the jackpot; when you lose, you get your money back. You do have to pay to play though — and those who took a spin on Monday did in fact hit the jackpot as Cathay Pacific has announced that they will honor the unbelievable first and business class fares that we reported on New Year’s Eve (See: [Expired] Crazy Cathay Pacific biz / first class fares: $680/$988 RT from Vietnam to North America). Cathay Pacific must have sold a ton of these tickets. Many of these first class flights would ordinarily cost north of $10,000 round trip and were discounted to less than $1,500 or in some cases even less than $1,000, with business class going as low as $675 (all round trip prices). This is a huge win for those who got in.
Confirmation came via Cathay Pacific’s twitter feed overnight when they announced that this was a mistake but they look forward to welcoming those on board who purchased tickets:
Personally, I’m pretty surprised. While my personal opinion is generally that airlines should hold themselves to the same standards that they hold passengers (which is to say that if we can not cancel without penalty they should not be able to do so either), it has become a crapshoot as to which airlines will stand by what they have offered for sale online. With this sale widely reported and lasting for hours — and meaning that much of Cathay’s potentially lucrative first class capacity from Hong Kong to New York is now sold out months in advance — I’ll admit that I thought there was a low probability of this being honored. However, I also often say that you hit 0% of the balls at which you do not swing, so it’s worth taking a crack at something like this when opportunity knocks. Sometimes, you hit a home run.
Overall, I’m really glad that a number of readers have reported successfully booking trips that might represent the deal of a lifetime in terms of premium cabin airfare. This should amount to a very pleasant journey and a nice quantity of miles earned. Hopefully it also results in a great deal of goodwill for Cathay Pacific.
H/T: One Mile at a Time