Cathay Pacific’s Lies and Bad Customer Service

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  joe.niceguy 30 Aug 2013
at 07:38

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

  • Anonymous


    I am a Marco Polo Gold Member. You won’t believe what happened to me on my flight from JFK to Manila, via HK, on Aug 1-2, 2013. It started at the JFK Check In, travelling on Business Class, I was given both my HK and MNL boarding passes. What the staff failed to tell me was that they changed my MNL flight from CX913, departing 8:25PM, to the later flight that departs almost at 10PM! I only found out when I checked my boarding pass as we were arriving into HK. I asked the flight attendant to please communicate to the ground staff this mistake and to please ensure someone at the ground staff would meet me to assist me in getting on my original flight. I was reassured that someone would meet me upon arrival in HK.

    Well, no one was there to meet me, although there were ground staff waiting to assist other passengers. I asked one of the staff to assist me in getting on my original flight. It was already 8:05PM, but I told her I had no check in luggage. She abrupty told me that the “Flight had Left already”, and I said that was impossible as the flight was scheduled for a 8:25PM departure! She looked flustered, called someone on the phone and then informed me that “The gates are closed and they will not accept anymore passengers as the flight will depart on time”. Unperturbed, I still rushed to the gate (Gate 3), cleared transfer customs, and made it in about 7 minutes, arriving about 8:15PM. I noticed there was still a Cathay Ground Staff with the sign “CX 913” indicating they were still waiting for other passengers, interesting, considering the comment earlier that “The gate was closed . . etc.”

    I got to the gate, and requested that I be in the original fight, they accomodated me with an offhand comment that “well we may not have food for you”, I chose to ignore that remark. As I settled into my seat, I noticed 10 minutes later, at 8:25PM, that THREE (3) more connecting passengers had entered. UNBELIEVABLE! I was told 20 minutes earlier that the “GATE WAS CLOSED”, and now I see connecting passengers being acoomodated!?!

    Dear Cathy Pacific – Please tell me why you have to LIE to your passengers? Why tell me the “Flight has left” when it has not. Why tell me the “Flight is no longer accepting passengers” when you clearly accepted 3 more passengers after I arrived, and why did your ground staff change my flight without the courtesy of informing me? If this is how you treat your Marco Polo Gold Members travelling on Business, I guess I’m investing in the wrong airline.

    Alvin So


    There is left and there is..departed.

    Not defending CX in anyway as I use them only a few times a year but it sounded like you had a tight connection anyway. I have been refused boarding a number of times by other airlines even when the gate closed only moments later. you problem stems at JFK, not HKG

    the moral of the story is, check boarding passes while at the check-in desk, I always do and often find errors, from wrong connections, wrong seat etc, all solved there and then


    Based on what you say, I suspect that you were trying to connect from CX831, due in at 18:55. If so, I think you missed out at least one rather salient fact…

    That flight was due to leave at 14:55, I believe. It actually took off at 16:45 – almost two hours late, a fact which must have been abundantly obvious to you while you were still in New York. Given a scheduled connection time of just 1 hour and 30 minutes in Hong Kong, why on earth didn’t you check any of this before leaving the ground? It must surely have been obvious to you that timing would be tight (at best)? Also, if (and I don’t know whether this was the case) the delay was expected when you checked in, perhaps that is why they transferred you to the later flight?

    It perhaps also explains why there were no ground staff waiting to transfer you – given that there is a stated minimum connection time of 50 minutes for CX flights at Hong Kong, that your flight only arrived at 08:01, and that your desired onward flight was scheduled to leave just 24 minutes later (and, as you say, gates normally close 20 minutes before departure)

    This doesn’t excuse any lack of communication, obviously, and you should definitely have been informed. However, with a known and significant delay, I also feel you should have raised the connection issue a lot earlier than you did. In any case, it is sensible practice for a frequent traveller such as yourself to do a few simple checks – and as stevescoots has already pointed out, these include ensuring you have boarding passes for the correct flights…


    stevecoots and ian,

    You’re right, I should have checked my boarding passes in JFK. Chalk that up to jet lag and the fact that I never had to check my boarding passes before, as I had taken for granted that I would receive accurate boarding passes (and I had checked in online). There’s always a first time!

    Still, I am disappointed by Cathay Pacific given that:
    1. I was not informed about the flight change at JFK
    2. No Ground Staff in HK was present specifically to assist me despite assurances from the flight attendant that there would be one as per his communication while we were in the air
    3. The response from a different ground staff there that the “flight had left” (and thanks to stevecoots for noting the difference between left and departed, but I was not aware at that time)
    4. The subsequent response that the gate is closed when . . .
    5. 7 minutes later after rushing to the gate, it was actually still open . . .
    6. And the fact that 10 minutes after taking my seat, 3 MORE passengers were allowed on board.

    In the end, I guess I should be glad that, despite the delay from JFK and the short connection time as you indicated, I WAS able to make the flight . . . still would have been nice to have had better treatment.

    I only resorted to writing this experience in this forum because I had not received a response from CX even after sharing this experience with them directly a few days ago. And as an aside, the last time I sent feedback on a minor issue, it took them 12 DAYS to respond, and the response was really generic, they didn’t even read the specifics on my feedback. What a shame. I’m just really hoping CX would respond to this one.


    I’m with you there, Alvin, CX are not great at responding to after-the-event feedback, and I do think it is (very) disappointing that you were not better informed at the time. As it is, you only got back a week ago – I don’t know when you complained to CX but presumably it must be less than a week ago – so give CX some time to respond properly (they do, after all, have to do some fact-checking). Then let us know how they respond…


    Hi Alvin,

    I have directed CX’s attention to your forum posting and I have gotten a reply saying that they are looking into the case.

    With your permission, I’d also like to use your posting and CX’s response in our letters page.


    Reggie Ho
    Editor, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific


    Hi Reggie,

    Thanks for bringing to CX for their attention. I really just need a response/explanation from them on what happened, and given past experience on how long they respond, I felt I needed to air my concern in this forum.

    I would rather not have this publicized in your magazine, We can keep all responses and updates within this forum though! Thanks again.



    Due to your late departing JFK flight there was a chance you might have missed your connection in HKG. What should of happened is as follows:-

    1. Told we are sorry for the delay and you have been rebooked on a later connection.
    2. As you have no checked baggage, you can try and make the earlier flight.
    3. Notes made on computer to accept passenger on earlier flight if they can make it in time.

    Lando Marco

    I have noticed that CX’s ground service have gotten real bad in the past year. Perhaps they are focussing too much on their inflight service and product and have completely ignored ground service.
    I am a Oneworld Emerald passenger (QF platinum 1) On a recent from KUL to HKG, i was traveling J and happen to meet with one of our company’s senior banker who was traveling on the same flight on Y (yes, many senior bankers travel on Y these days!!!). I invited him to join me at the CX lounge knowing that as a Oneworld emerald i am entitled to bring a guest. I was totally humiliated when the lounge dragon refused his entry obnoxiously and rudely stating I was not entitled to bring in any guest! Upon arrival at CX’s HKG arrival lounge, the same thing happened again.
    I wrote to CX complaints div giving exact details and even named the lounge dragon, and a month later i received a standard brush off type apology/response indicating that the staff should have known the rules (- yes they should have but they didn’t!) and HOPE it will not happen again!
    Probably because of the rift between CX and QF, it appears that CX is taking their differences out on QF’s passengers. QF on the other hand, seem to treat all other oneworld premium passengers with respect including CX’s.


    I keep a copy of the lounge access rules in my hand luggage.

    Does anyone get the impression I am over-cautious?!


    Hi Alvin,

    Here is a reply from CX:

    Dear Mr So,

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us your comments.

    I am sorry to read about your experience and would like to offer my sincere apology for the inconvenience this has caused you.

    We strive to offer quality services to all our passengers and we are taking your comments very seriously. We are carrying out an investigation and will reply to you as soon as we have the full details. Once again, we are sorry about your experience with us, and your resulting disappointment.

    Yours sincerely,
    Linda Sim
    Marco Polo Club Manager


    It’s good to see Cathay is investigating this incident fully, and will be interesting to see their response.


    This is another CX bad ground service…

    I want share my bad experience regarding Cathay Pacific no show fee which is charged by Cathay Pacific Shanghai Pudong Airport ground staff.

    I had a flight schedule from PVG to HKG on March 16, 2013 at 12.20 (CX 367).

    Since I was still in the middle of breakfast meeting, I decided to re-schedule my flight from CX 367 to CX 6835/ KA 805 (14.20). Then I called Cathay Pacific Shanghai office at 09.45 AM from my hotel (Jin Jiang Tower Shanghai) and talked with one female staff to do re-scheduling of my flight. After having a quite long conversation (poor English standard for a big company such as Cathay Pacific to hire her), finally she understood my situation and told me that I only need to pay re-booking fee (USD 20) and asked me to pay in the airport.

    When I did check in at CX counter in the Pudong airport, I was very very surprised when the ground staff named Helen charged me USD 100 for no show fee and USD 20 for re-booking fee. It’s so ridiculous and does not make any sense at all when she charged me USD 100 for no show fee, on the other hand at 09.45 I have called already Cathay Pacific Shanghai office staff to do re-booking for me and she didn’t mention about USD 100 for no show fee (it was my fault for not asking her name). After bargaining with Helen, she only charged me USD 100 and waived USD 20 at last. I was wondering why could it be happen to Cathay Pacific which is I know as one of the best airline company in the region.

    Hopefully, this poor co-ordination among Cathay Pacific Shanghai ground staff will not happen again in the future which is caused unpleasant situation to the passenger.

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