Having seen Cathay Pacific’s advertising for their premium economy seats I decided, in February, to purchase return tickets to London for July 4th 2012.
One week before my travel date I received an email advising of a flight schedule change – the change was that they have moved me from premium economy to economy for my return leg. No explanation, no mention of a refund, nothing.
I called the reservations number from the Cathay website, and was told they were not able to help me and that I needed to speak to Customer Relations so I asked to be put through. They told me that was not possible because they do not have phone numbers?!!? Great customer service if your customers can never contact you!
Eventually I was told that someone from Customer Services would call me back immediately….. two hours later I get a call. The gentleman tells me that yes the seats have been changed as Cathay have decided to change the plane for fuel purposes (obviously to save money) and there is no premium economy section on that plane. I asked him what possible solutions he had for this problem and how much of a refund I would get. He told me that he would check with his finance department to see if I ‘could have’ a refund!!! As to solutions, his sole response was that I could cancel the tickets. Clearly this was not acceptable to me and so I asked to speak to his manager. He told me that was not possible but he would look into the possible solutions and get back to me by 2pm the next day.
I was still waiting at 3.45 and so I called a number in customer relations and eventually, after speaking to three people, I got back to the man I spoke with yesterday. His response was that I could have a refund of $2430. That was all he offered. No offer of an upgrade, no offer of a premium economy seat on another flight on the same day, nothing. After more discussion he promised that someone in Customer Relations would look into it and call back before 5pm so I hung up. At 9.45pm I called again and was told Customer Relations went home at 5pm and as it was a holiday weekend they would not be back until Tuesday, the day of my flight, too late to do anything.
So a word to the wise, never book premium economy seats because Cathay Pacific can and will cancel your seats at the last minute. They are happy to take your money and hold onto it for months for seats that do not exist. They also seem to delay and delay with dealing with complaints until the flight has passed or the customer has cancelled because as I was told by Vicky Wong, Duty Manager in Charge “the best option Cathay Pacific can give you is for you to cancel your flight and have a refund”.
People. They make an airline…..but only as long as you have passengers flying with you.