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COMPLAINT: Cathay Pacific Nightmare - Mechanical Problems on 2 aircrafts on connection flights.

 
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  #1  
Old May 31, 2011, 5:12 AM
yslivia yslivia is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4

Hello, help please.. I need some advice on dealing with Cathay Pacific flight delays due to mechanical problems on 2 aircrafts that delayed our arrival to Singapore for 2 days. Cathay offered to compensate US$75/person for the agony my family went thru.
Here is my story:
Considering my daughter had very short school break and my wife had to be on dialysis everyday, our short trip was very well-planned to leave San Francisco for Singapore on April 14, 2011; Singapore to HongKong on April 19 and leaving HongKong back to San Francisco on April 23, 2011. However, due to Cathay Pacific’s mechanical problems on ‘two’ planes, our plan became a disaster.

On April 14, 2011, not long (10 minutes or so) after CX879 took off, the plane shook like it’s falling apart and my wife saw a spark of fire on the wing. Then, the Captain told us, “We’ve some mechanical problem, it could be the bird….” We’re so scared, holding our breath until the plane stabilized. A few hours later, after the first meal, we heard a loud noise coming from the plane and the plane suddenly dropped to lower elevation. I started to sweat, held on to my wife’s and daughter’s hands. The Captain announced the plane had mechanical problem, must be diverted back to Vancouver (B.C, Canada) which would take about 1 hour; one of the engines was shut down and fuel must be released. Upon arriving in Vancouver, all passengers were stranded in the congested plane for 1 hour, waiting for the ground engineers to assess the mechanical issue. Then, another bad news was announced, it couldn’t be fixed immediately and we all had to stay overnight in Vancouver. After we claimed our luggage, we joined the crowd like as-seen-on-TV refugees waiting in line for food and a place to stay. After waiting for over an hour, we’re told we’re in the wrong line, there’re hotel line and information line. So, we had to change line and the wait started all over again. It was such a kiosk.

By now, my wife and daughter started to cry as they worried they might not get to see my mother in law who had last-stage of cancer for the last time (we’re told before we left, she’s in very critical condition). Since I took a late night flight from Vancouver to HongKong before, I knew there’s a flight we could be on waiting list. I asked CX representative and was referred to the ground supervisor, Lori . I explained our situations to her:
  • The primary purpose of our trip was to visit my wife’s mom in Singapore. She’s in critical condition, on her last-stage of cancer. We must see her soon. If we didn’t get to see her because of this CX flight problems, we’d regret for the rest of our life.
  • My wife had to be on dialysis everyday and it was inconvenient to check in and out her dialysis liquid (6 luggage). Also, the hotel room needed to be very clean for her to do the dialysis and that’s why we could only stay at 5-star hotels.
  • I had a business meeting with a big client on April 16, 2011, at 8 a.m. My client made a special trip flying from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore just to meet me for a few hours.
In the past, I had give up my seat when CX was overbooked for someone who was more desperate to fly . So, I was hoping, this time, some people would be kind enough to let us fly. However, the ground supervisor, Lori, had no compassion at all. She wouldn’t even try to put us on waiting list. Then, I offered to pay for an upgrade to business or first class. She told us arrogantly, “Even you’ve a million dollars…. You can’t get on the plane (CX889)!” She also confirmed she talked to the pilot and it wasn’t the bird that caused the mechanical failure. This led us to believe, it wasn’t an accident at all, it’s Cathay Pacific’s failure to service its plane. She, then, arranged the next day flight, CX829, at 2:50 p.m. to Hongkong, but, we had to stay another night in HongKong to connect to Singapore the next day at 8:30 a.m. ; I asked if there’s a late flight from Hongkong to Singapore and again, without any attempt, she replied, “It’s also fully booked!” We had no choice but to accept her flight arrangement. After checking in the hotel, I immediately checked on the internet and discovered there were several seats available on the connecting flight from HK to SIN at 8 p.m, so we didn’t have to stay overnight in HongKong and my wife didn’t have to disinfect the room again for her dialysis. I called the Cathay HK office directly and we’re put on the 8 p.m. flight.
As we’re on another plane, CX 839; after all passengers were on the plane, the door was locked, surprisingly & unbelievably we heard the Captain announced, there was some “mechanical problem” (again!), there’d be about ½ hour delay when the ground engineers checked the engine. Again, we’re stranded in the plane for ½ hour. I asked the in-flight attendant if we’d miss the connection flight to Singapore and was told, “Don’t worry, that plan will wait for us.”
However, when we got to Hongkong, we’re told the flight had left and we had to stay overnight in HongKong. Then, the agony started all over again; we’re put on the afternoon flight the next day and not the morning flight. We had to ‘beg’ the CX representative in HK to put us on morning flight. We couldn’t be in suspense any longer as the worry about my mother in law’s being grew more intense. Finally, we’re put on the morning flight to Singapore. Thanks God, when we got there, my mother in law was still breathing.
Never in our life, we had to go through this agony, were put in a long emotional- suspense (strained for 2 days) and treated like refugees. We didn’t pay close to US$10,000 for this trip (flight, accommodation (paid hotels), food, dog-sitter, lost of work days) to ‘suffer’. Our whole trip was ruined, tired and stressed out and we're all sick when we got home. We told Cathay about our bad experience/service and the reply was to compensate us for $75/person. Isn't it an insult? Need your input please.

Thanks.
Yslivia
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  #2  
Old May 31, 2011, 1:28 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

I think $75 is insulting and you should write again to CP, outlining the degree of problems you faced and the lack of cooperation by staff. Mechanical problems are not necessarily de to lack of maintenance and you were very unfortunate to have this happen twice on one short trip. I would avoid any implication they are unsafe... But instead focus on their failure to help you, particularly given your wifes medical condition. You may argue that the airline failed to provide sufficient accommodation for this under the Air Carriers Act, which would apply in this case because your journey originated in the US. In particular, the availability of seats on the late flight out of Hong Kong, when you had been told there were none is just poor service, as was the attitude f Lori. That is where I would focus my fire..
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  #3  
Old May 31, 2011, 10:46 PM
yslivia yslivia is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4

Thanks, Jim, for your input. Greatly appreciated.
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  #4  
Old Oct 5, 2011, 3:46 AM
yslivia yslivia is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4

Hi Jim, please..help... again..

Guess what? After a long battle with Cathay, I took them to small claim court, spent $500 on attorney's advice but we lost. Now, we're $1300 in a hole for all the expenses incurred due to Cathay's delay and the judge wouldn't even see the boarding passes we had, proving they lied that the flight was full on the change flight.
That's so crazy; airlines can be so irresponsible.
In the meantime, I've lost my mom; she passed away a few weeks ago and my worst regret was not spending the extra 2 days with her because of Cathay's mechanical problem delay. Gash... I can't sleep over this. Is there anything I can do? I feel like going to the media.

Thanks, Jim.

yslivia
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  #5  
Old Oct 5, 2011, 5:32 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Hi ysilvia,
I am sorry to hear of your loss and the terrible way your were treated. To be honest, if you have taken it to court I am not sure there is much point in taking this further. All you can do is spread the word and let people know how badly Cathay Pacific treated you, but you may just need to put the ordeal behind you and move on.
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  #6  
Old Oct 5, 2011, 9:37 PM
yslivia yslivia is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4

So true, Jim. I need to move on before Cathay consumes my health too.
Thanks for the wisdom. Enjoy life!
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