Date
17 January 2017
Billy Lay (inset) says airlines are selfish in their overbooking policy, adding Cathay would rather compensate passengers than change it. Photos: Facebook, Bloomberg
Billy Lay (inset) says airlines are selfish in their overbooking policy, adding Cathay would rather compensate passengers than change it. Photos: Facebook, Bloomberg

Red-faced Cathay offers compensation after overbooking furor

Cathay Pacific has been forced to apologize and offer compensation after passengers complained about overbooking on a Jakarta flight.

The airline said it regretted the incident and moved to make amends, according to Ming Pao Daily.

It offered affected passengers HK$1,000 cash, free meal coupons, free upgrade to business class and daytime hotel accommodation.

But Billy Lay, secretary general of Civic Party, was not impressed.

Lay and his mother were laid up more than six hours as a result of the mix-up.

They were told by airline staff they could not get on the 9:20 a.m. flight to Jakarta, two hours beforer it was due to depart, according to Lay’s Facebook post.    

Lay and his mother finally boarded a 4 p.m. flight.

Lay said Cathay’s overbooking policy shows airlines are selfish.

He said Cathay would rather compensate passengers than change the policy.  

A spokesman for the airline said overbooking is an industry practice intended to counter last-minute cancellations.

Cathay cross-checks passenger information to make sure the number of seats matches the number of the passengers, he said.

It calls for volunteers to accept later flights if they have been overbooked.

Translation by Charis Heung

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