Old May 29, 2017, 5:19 AM
runningdog runningdog is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1
Angry Cathay Nightmare


Original booking
I, and my wife were scheduled to fly out of JFK New York at 09:00 am on 1st January 2017 on flight CX841. We had already checked in the day before and reserved our seats.

1st Flight cancelled due to sickness of two pilots
When we arrived at the airport at 06:00 am to check in our bags we were then informed that the flight had been postponed until the following day, because two pilots had called in sick at the last moment. We were told that if we needed to leave today, however, arrangement would be made to book us with other airlines. Prior to that, there had been no attempt to inform us of the flight cancellation. At about 06:20 am Cathay Pacific did send messages informing them of the delay. My wife received a message on her phone. I was sent an email but I could not see it because there is no Wifi in the airport.

No water or refreshment provided
At that time there were about twenty people in front of us in the line. The line, however, moved at a snail’s pace. No food or drink was provided to those lining up. After about one hour, I approached the staff and asked them if we would be provided with any food or drink, or even a bottle of water. I was abruptly told no such arrangements would be made.

2 hours standing in line waiting to be given alternative flights
We waited in the line for another hour until 08:00 am when we finally got to see a staff member. He told us that he could arrange another flight for us on Korean Air KE 082 leaving at 12:00 noon. We were then told to go to get our tickets at the Ticket Counter. At this time, I was not given any physical record of the Korean Air flight details. I again asked if we would be provided with any refreshment or other compensation and I was again told that there would be none. I was told that it was now Korean Air’s responsibility to take care of me.

We then went to the Ticket Counter where there was a queue of about 8-10 people in front of us. I thought it would be a simple matter of picking up the tickets. The line, however, moved very slowly.

It soon became clear that other travellers had problems with their onward travel arrangements. At around 09:30 am, fearing that there was a problem with my onward flight, I went back to the check-in counter and asked the staff to confirm my flight. The staff member checked it again, told me it was confirmed and I then used my mobile phone to take a photograph of the flight details as shown on their computer screen.

Again I asked Cathay staff on several occasions if we could just be provided with water. One male staff member told me “no”, one female staff member said that she would see what she could do but nothing came. I finally approached the staff member at the ticketing counter and asked her to arrange water. This lady picked up the phone and said to someone on the other end that passengers are asking for water and could arrangement be made, but nothing ever came.

2 more hours standing in line for tickets
We continued to wait in that line until around 10:00 am when finally we were called over to the Ticket Counter. Throughout these 4 hours waiting, no food or water was provided to anyone.

2nd flight not reserved due to Cathay Pacific staff incompetence
When we finally got to the Ticket Counter I showed the record of the flight details to the female staff member there but she then informed me that the staff at the check in counter had failed to save the information in the computer system and so we now had no such reservation. At this time, we had been lining up for four hours. I was then told that the only flight that could now be arranged for us is on China Eastern Air MU 588, via Shanghai, leaving at 15:25 pm, which is nearly three and a half hours after we would have departed on the Korean Airlines flight.

The Duty Manager
At around the same time I finally got to speak to the duty manager, Mr Mudi Khan, who agreed to give my wife and I food vouchers. These vouchers, however, could only be used at one specific branch of Starbucks which had no tables or seating, or even the ability to heat up any food. In the circumstances, we were forced to eat cold sandwiches, standing up in the Arrivals Hall.

After returning to Hong Kong we heard nothing from Cathay. When I wrote to them to complain, we were offered US$100 each as compensation, which was later raised to US$150. This is a fraction of what we would have saved if we had booked with China Eastern in the first place.

Dishonest explanation
I later received a “Flight Certificate” from Cathay stating that I “was unable to connect the original flight due to staff rotation”. This explanation was simply not true. Not only was the delay not due to “staff rotation”, I was not on a connecting flight.

The treatment that I and other passengers received in this case was appalling. It was rude, arrogant, incompetent and dishonest.

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