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Full-fare C ticket / involuntary downgrade / no reason, no comp / CX829 YYZ-HKG

Full-fare C ticket / involuntary downgrade / no reason, no comp / CX829 YYZ-HKG

Old Nov 18, 2017, 5:56 am
  #1  
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Full-fare C/involuntary downgrade/no reason, no comp/CX829 YYZ-HKG/ now what?

Seeking advice from the knowledgeable folks here. Significant other just had a terrible experience trying to deal with CX at YYZ, while I tried to deal with MPO on the HKG end.

Facts as they stand:

1) Full-freight cash ticket in C
2) HKG-YYZ end flown without issue
3) YYZ-HKG, OLCI @ t-minus 48h, but cannot pick a seat
4) Showed up at YYZ counter to be told flight oversold and if SO wants to get home, *must* take downgrade to PEY. I get involved on HKG end with MPO line trying to figure out what's going on. MPO shows one open J being sold. Outport manager says nothing can be done, offers a few hundred CAD as compensation, and to "Waitlist" SO.
5) MPO and outport claim no OLCI shown, and no seatblock was done - only record is SO having a PEY ticket. Repeated questioning at outport and via phone to MPO gets scripted Hongky CS answers. Escalation at MPO gets more scripted answers and "sorry, you must deal with customer relations." When pushed for a case number, MPO claims they cannot give one and that customer relations with make contact within "14 working days."
6) Result: forcible downgrade on a full cash fare with no compensation, medical condition with SO's back exacerbated from not being able to lie flat (reason for paying cash fare in the first place).

Questions to the forum:

1) What is SO owed?
2) What the hell happened to result in a full-cash fare being forcibly downgraded with no answers and no comp? I flat out asked MPO whether some VIP was on board and they said no. SO asked if others had bought tickets after and checked in after, to which outport manager said yes.
3) What do we do from here? CX is teetering on losing my/our business.

Last edited by Neat0; Nov 18, 2017 at 6:42 am Reason: clarify question in title
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 6:04 am
  #2  
 
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This sounds like a horrible story, I'm so sorry to hear that.

If you hold a confirmed itinerary with e-ticket and booking reference showing J/C class booking, why would they show record of a PEY ticket?

I probably won't be very happy if I'm downgraded like that. I think there is a priority list though, in cases like these, in that they will first approach everyone for voluntary downgrade (or a later flight). And under these circumstances there are usually some leeway in bargaining for return taxi fare and hotel costs. What you get is to travel one or two days later in the same class, but they also give you an A card for future upgrades at counter (to be used whenever you'd like.) Only after such measures if the J cabin is still overbooked, they will involuntarily downgrade folks based on membership tier. It is usually irrelevant of booking class (in this case, J/C/D/I) or if it was a revenue or redemption booking.

But I suppose if the schedule is not flexible for your partner, it wouldn't help much.

And if it already happened, chances are, they won't really give more than they offered in the first place. Is your partner also MPO member? At what tier?

Based on the descriptions, the "no reason, no comp" part of your thread is more of a hyperbole though, because they are 1. overbooked, 2. a few hundred CAD respectively.

Last edited by ashsong; Nov 18, 2017 at 6:28 am
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 6:04 am
  #3  
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If your partner was offered the difference in fare one-way between J and full-fare PE then I'm not sure there's much else you can do. Overbooking and involuntary downgrades happen all the time.

EDIT - having said that, the difference between a one-way Business Flex and a one-way PE Flex is about CAD4000, so rather more than the "few hundred" offered. I believe that you should be able to push for the CAD4000 difference if the original ticket was Business Flex (which I see costs about HK$57,000)

Last edited by christep; Nov 18, 2017 at 6:11 am
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 6:18 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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SO = Significant Other

A number of years ago, flying KLM, VCE-AMS-JFK, we get to AMS only to discover my SO (wife) and I had been bumped to tomorrow's flight. We normally returned to USA on a Saturday because we had to be had work (both teachers) on Monday, thus no harm done.
We were told by a friendly KLM that since they don't issue boarding passes at VCE for the second leg, we would always have this issue. However, the fix was to order a special meal, as KLM would not bump someone who had ordered a special meal. We did that as long was we flew that route.

The point of this tale is that S... happens, all the time. It could have been worse.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 6:37 am
  #5  
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Thanks for the constructive, and not-so-constructive answers. "It happens all the time" is as useless and scripted as CX CS - I'm seeking advice from knowledgeable flyers on a course of action, and your not internet shrug. If you have nothing constructive to add, with your unrelated anecdote, please move on.

Answers to above:

Partner was not offered full fare difference. I challenged MPO on the phone while SO was at the desk at YYK. MPO's limp answer was, "They don't have that much cash." Then write a check, I said. Greeted by silence. CAD <1K was offered, with a scripted HK CS "we can't do anything else, talk with customer relations" answer. Do conditions of carriage state that a full fare difference must be compensated? For the record, truly full-freight c-fare ticket was issued <t-minus 7d, so it was full flex fare, which was 70k+ HKD / 11.5K+ CAD. Currently, there's been ZERO comp in any form.

SO is MPO GR, previously SL for many years, but flying pattern is now down to 1-2 TPAC/year.

"If you hold a confirmed itinerary with e-ticket and booking reference showing J/C class booking, why would they show record of a PEY ticket?"
That's a great question, particularly since HKG-YYZ leg was flown in C - I assume some engineering on the outport's part, to prioritize whoever got SO's seat. I also assume that this way, it shows SO "voluntarily" took the PEY because MPO kept insisting they didn't see a seatblock in J and that "nothing can be done; it's all in airport control."
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 6:48 am
  #6  
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OK, so, as noted I think you're entitled to about 4000CAD in compensation, being the difference between the fare you paid and full-fare PE. Your ticket was ex-HKG so is governed by HK law. I'd put in writing a claim for the fare difference and start mentioning "Small Claims Tribunal" as a possibility if it isn't forthcoming.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 7:28 am
  #7  
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It happens all the time. Cabins are overbooked and sometimes wind up oversold. Crusading against a practice which has existed for 60+ years and is practiced by most carriers worldwide is not worth your time.

At this point, the terminology matters. All CX owes is a refund of the fare difference. That is not compensation, simply a refund for a service not delivered. Over and above that, CX owes nothing. It may, however, in its discretion offer a customer service gesture (sometimes referred to on FT as compensation) as a goodwill matter. These are two entirely different things.

OP's SO, not the OP, ought to rewrite her complaint into a short and direct note asking for the refund of the fare difference to be credited to the original form of payment, e.g., credit card and over and above that the CAD 400 gesture offered.

As a separate note, if your SO has specific medical conditions which require a given service, make certain that those are communicated between her physician and CX's medical team well in advance.

Leave out everything irrelevant and the judgmental stuff. CX could care less about it and all it does is focus away from what she wants.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 10:08 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by christep
EDIT - having said that, the difference between a one-way Business Flex and a one-way PE Flex is about CAD4000, so rather more than the "few hundred" offered. I believe that you should be able to push for the CAD4000 difference if the original ticket was Business Flex (which I see costs about HK$57,000)
Agreed. Or take 50% of a return ticket and refund the fare difference like what they do for redemption downgrades (e.g. C$4,200 below).

I believe the few hundred is the extent of the YYZ manager's comp authority (or petty cash balance). It's certainly not what OP's owed.

Two ways of "enforcing" a refund if communications with CX failed:

1. Credit card chargeback: e.g. Visa Chargeback Reason Code 53 "Not as Described or Defective Merchandise" or Mastercard Chargeback Code 4853 "Cardholder Dispute-Defective/Not As Described". Write a letter to your card company explaining you are owed fare difference, or if that's too hard for them to do, chargeback the whole fare.

2. Small claims court in the jurisdiction of your residence for the same.

Still, am disappointed such measures have to be taken, for a non-error fare and against an airline that's not Scoot-like.


Last edited by percysmith; Nov 20, 2017 at 6:51 am
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 10:49 am
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First thing come to my mind is that if you are booked to a J cabin, no matter cash or miles and regardless of status, you should have been able to select seats well in advance. Why don't you choose a seat at day 1 you book the ticket? You claimed you have been silver for years so you should be well aware of this benefit.

In addition, MPC hotline should not be the point to deal with complaints. MPC hotline are out-sourced tele-operator to book tickets and handle MPC related matters. In your case, you should contact CX customer relations which do NOT has a published telephone. They only accept complaints via in-flight feedback form, online form and fax IIRC. I am not sure if CX ticketing hotline will help in this issue but you should give it a try at the time your wife(?) check in.

If I were you, I would had been written to CX customer relations to deal with the issue ASAP. In my previous cases, they will come back to you around 3-5 working days for a real complaint. In your initial contact, I recommend you not to state any "request" which MAY put a upper limit for CX to consider the amount of compensation given to you. Just write what happen and demand their reply. I believe the standard for CX would be (J class cheapest fare-PEY most expensive fare)/2.

Last edited by neofung; Nov 18, 2017 at 11:02 am
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 10:59 am
  #10  
 
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OP, just to get the facts straight it would be helpful for us to know what you paid. "Full freight" is a different number to different people.

CX owes you the fare difference paid. It could be much more than you say...or not.

I agree with the poster above, it just seems strange to me you took this up with MPC. I understand you don't fly too frequently but just fyi this is not the correct venue for a refund.

Anyway, any more details you have useful. How much you paid first and foremost. Fyi, there is a zero percent chance your credit card company will make you pay any more than necessary. Presumably you have a relationship with Amex or someone else. They are always highly sympathetic in my experience if company is blatantly ripping you off. Nothing to worry about.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 3:24 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by neofung
First thing come to my mind is that if you are booked to a J cabin, no matter cash or miles and regardless of status, you should have been able to select seats well in advance. Why don't you choose a seat at day 1 you book the ticket? You claimed you have been silver for years so you should be well aware of this benefit.
It doesn't help all the time. My wife had J a seat about 10 years ago, but lost it about 2.5 days before flight due to equipment change (from a 744 to another 744 with same seat arrangement). I called MPC on her behalf and got a new assignment. When we were at the airport, there was another equipment change (again to another 744 with the same seat assignment) and she lost hers again!!!

On the other hand, as other posters said, CX does owe OP the fare difference but MPC is not the place to contact.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 4:16 pm
  #12  
 
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Cathay seem to be a repeat offender for downgrade without adequate reimbursement or compensation. In the other jurisdictions they would be taken to court or a government authority. Wonder why media in HK has not picked up on it.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by wtcmor
. Wonder why media in HK has not picked up on it.
because HK media or mass public do not sympathize with rich *%$#@. as much as cx is evil empire, one exception is if you have First world problem (like trying to complain for not getting F seat) they just laugh you off
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by neofung
In your case, you should contact CX customer relations which do NOT has a published telephone. They only accept complaints via in-flight feedback form, online form and fax IIRC.
CX CRD is reachable (or at least you can leave a voicemail) at +852 2747-5287. They made this number available (again) a couple of years ago.
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Old Nov 18, 2017, 11:33 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by neofung
First thing come to my mind is that if you are booked to a J cabin, no matter cash or miles and regardless of status, you should have been able to select seats well in advance. Why don't you choose a seat at day 1 you book the ticket? You claimed you have been silver for years so you should be well aware of this benefit.

In addition, MPC hotline should not be the point to deal with complaints. .
Thanks for the reply. If you read the thread, it wasn't me flying, it was my SO. The outport was next to useless, so I called MPO on the HKG end to attempt to resolve the situation/leverage. Sitting around at the counter wasn't doing anything.

If you read the thread again, OLCI T-48 confirmed, but seat assignment was not allowed. Take it up with CX IT.
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