Cathay Pacific sells $21900 premium seats for $922 in ticketing blunder

Eagle-eyed shoppers snaffled up first and business class tickets on Cathay Pacific later honoured by the airline

A business-class return ticket to NY from Vietnam's Da Nang costs around $16,000 for travel in July and September, according Cathay's website Wednesday.

Asia's biggest global carrier Cathay Pacific accidentally sold premium tickets at a fraction of their price and plans to honour the discounts.

While Cathay didn't immediately say whether it would honor the bookings, the mistake adds to the embarrassments for the Hong Kong carrier that's struggling to turn its fortunes around while competition intensifies from Chinese and budget airlines.

Cathay Pacific did not specify how many tickets were sold at the heavily discounted price.

The carrier, one of Asia's leading premium airlines, offered return business and first class seats from Vietnam to North America at the very low prices of HK$5300 ($1000) and HK$6,600 ($1255) respectively.

The offer for the cheap business class tickets lit up the internet in the new year with frequent fliers and bargain hunters alike buying tickets quickly as word spread across social media and popular flight blogging websites and forums. "Hope this will make your 2019 "special" too!" the company wrote on Twitter.

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The rock-bottom fares were reported by travel bloggers on New Year's Eve and later pulled by the airline, the BBC reported. A return trip from Hanoi to Vancouver on first-class will cost $988, according to travel blog One Mile at a Time.

Cathay is aware of the pricing issue and will provide more details later, a spokeswoman for the carrier said by phone.

Cathay isn't alone here, other airlines have also made similar pricing mistakes. It sold business class tickets for HK$4600 ($875) for return flights from Los Angeles to both Shanghai and Bangkok.

In October, Cathay Pacific was the subject of a data breach in its IT systems, jeopardising the personal information of up to 9.4 million passengers.

The cause of the cheap flights was a computer glitch and has been blamed on a person who entered the wrong fares into the system, the South China Morning Post reports.

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