For those who missed it, on December 31, there was a fare sale for travel from Vietnam to North America on Cathay Pacific in First and Business Class. The deal is unfortunately gone now but tickets were as cheap as ~$650 in Business Class roundtrip, and ~$850 in First Class roundtrip. The deal is being referred to as the NYE Miracle or the Bahn Mi Fare. The fare was live for around 6 hours before Cathay Pacific zeroed out all its premium cabin inventory to North America, and it’s unknown how many people got in on the deal. Everyone has been wondering if the fare was a mistake and if Cathay would honor the tickets that they had sold.
At 12:01 am Pacific time Cathay sent out the following tweet and posted to their Facebook page
Happy 2019 all, and to those who bought our good – VERY good surprise ‘special’ on New Year’s Day, yes – we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued. Hope this will make your 2019 ‘special’ too!
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) January 2, 2019
In their announcement, Cathay wished everyone a happy new year and acknowledged it was a mistake. The Cathay social media representatives have also begun responding to questions from customers who booked the fare, reassuring them that the fares would be honored as long as the ticket is already confirmed.
I truly thought that this fare would be honored, but for business class only, similarly to what Hong Kong Airlines did. Considering there are only 6 First Class seats that can each be sold for around $20,000 USD, I can imagine Cathay Pacific is taking a pretty substantial loss here.
With Cathay choosing to honor the tickets, the speculation is that Award redemptions will take a hit to cover for the losses. So far, award availability looks diminished but not depleted as I am still easily able to find Business class seating for up to 3 and even a first class award seat for April. If you were waiting to book an award, I would book it now, as Cathay could zero out the availability.
For those of you looking to make positioning flights, it has already been reported that Da Nang airport will not allow direct turns. That means you can not fly in and out with the same airplane! You will need to clear customs before getting back onto your flight so please plan accordingly with a long enough layover.
What an amazing start to 2019! Truly #promisemadepromisekept from Cathay Pacific!