Cathay Pacific sells steeply discounted premium flights, again

Cathay Pacific’s website sold steeply discounted premium flights on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Cathay Pacific sells steeply discounted premium flights, again

DUBAI: Oops, they did it again.
Just fresh from opening the new year with a seat-pricing snafu, and sparking a frenzy among eagle-eyed buyers, Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific again mistakenly offered steeply discounted premium tickets on Sunday.
First-class tickets from Portugal to Hong Kong were sold for $1,512 instead of $16,000 on Sunday, less than two weeks after a similar error on the carrier’s website appeared, South China Morning Post reported.
The airline also offered one-way flights on partner carriers from Lisbon to London, Zurich or Frankfurt, with connecting Cathay Pacific flights from these stops to Hong Kong. It does not operate direct routes between Portugal and Hong Kong.
But, while some of the tickets were at the usual full fares, others were sold at huge discounts. An early morning flight from Lisbon to Frankfurt, followed by a flight at midday in first class on Cathay to Hong Kong, is usually priced at $16,000, but a midday flight from Lisbon to London, followed by a late afternoon Cathay flight in first class, cost just $1,512.
Cathay Pacific later issued a statement, saying “We are aware of an error on some fares from Europe on our website because of an input issue. The sale of such fares was stopped immediately.
“We are looking into the root cause of this incident both internally and externally with our vendors.
“For the very small number of customers who have purchased these tickets, we look forward to welcoming you on board to enjoy our premium services.”
Cathay Pacific made global headlines on New Year’s Day after selling return tickets from Vietnam to various destinations in North America for as little as $870 in first class and $670 in business class, from original prices of as much as $16,000.
The Hong Kong airline honored all the tickets it sold in error as a gesture of goodwill, and quipped on Twitter about the “VERY good surprise ‘special’ on New Year’s Day.”

 


No politics please for Baghdad bikers aiming to unite Iraq

Updated 20 January 2019
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No politics please for Baghdad bikers aiming to unite Iraq

  • That is why the first rule of his bikers club is: you do not talk about politics
  • The Iraq Bikers — who now number 380 — are men of all ages, social classes and various faiths

BAGHDAD: Roaring along Baghdad’s highways, the “Iraq Bikers” are doing more than showing off their love of outsized motorcycles and black leather: they want their shared enthusiasm to help heal Iraq’s deep sectarian rifts.
Weaving in and out of traffic, only the lucky few ride Harley Davidsons — a rare and expensive brand in Iraq — while others make do with bikes pimped-up to look something like the “Easy Rider” dream machines.
“Our goal is to build a brotherhood,” said Bilal Al-Bayati, 42, a government employee who founded the club in 2012 with the aim of improving the image of biker gangs and to promote unity after years of sectarian conflict.
That is why the first rule of his bikers club is: you do not talk about politics.
“It is absolutely prohibited to talk politics among members,” Bayati told Reuters as he sat with fellow bikers in a shisha cafe, a regular hangout for members.
“Whenever politics is mentioned, the members are warned once or twice and then expelled. We no longer have the strength to endure these tragedies or to repeat them,” he said, referring to sectarian violence.
With his black bandana and goatee, the leader of the Baghdad pack, known as “Captain,” looks the epitome of the American biker-outlaw.
But while their style is unmistakably US-inspired — at least one of Bayati’s cohorts wears a helmet emblazoned with the stars and stripes — these bikers fly the Iraqi flag from the panniers of their machines.
The Iraq Bikers — who now number 380 — are men of all ages, social classes and various faiths. One of their most recent events was taking party in Army Day celebrations.
Some are in the military, the police and even the Popular Mobilization Forces, a grouping of mostly Shiite militias which have taken part in the fight to oust Islamic State from Iraq in the last three years.
“It is a miniature Iraq,” said member Ahmed Haidar, 36, who works with an international relief agency.
But riding a chopper through Baghdad is quite different from Route 101. The bikers have to slow down at the many military checkpoints set up around the city to deter suicide and car bomb attacks.
And very few can afford a top bike.
“We don’t have a Harley Davidson franchise here,” said Kadhim Naji, a mechanic who specializes in turning ordinary motorbikes into something special.
“So what we do is we alter the motorbike, so it looks similar ... and it is cheaper.”