Cathay Pacific Airways today announced the launch of Special Ticketing Arrangements which will take effect when a Red or Black Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) is issued by Security Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government.
Under the OTA system, the Government assesses travel-related risks in some 80 popular destinations worldwide and provides recommendations to passengers from Hong Kong to adjust their travel plans or avoid travel to the affected destination.
The new Special Ticketing Arrangements provide flexibility and greater clarity to passengers so that they would know clearly the ticketing conditions and the charges if they want to change their travel plans after the Government issued an OTA alert for travel to their planned destinations. The conditions and charges for ticket changes vary according to the types of ticket the passenger has bought.
For the purpose of the Special Ticketing Arrangements, all Cathay Pacific tickets are grouped under five categories. The ticketing options and arrangements for each of the five ticket categories in the event of a Red or Black OTA alert are set out in www.cathaypacific.com.hk The arrangements are activated only in response to an OTA alert being issued and do not apply to any other operational disruptions, such as those arising from weather or industrial action.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Sales, PRD & Hong Kong Ms Chitty Cheung, said: “We acknowledge the concerns of Hong Kong’s travelling public when their travel plans are disrupted by incidents that are beyond the control of Cathay Pacific. Making these OTA Special Ticketing Arrangements readily available on our website will put customers in a better position to assess the types of tickets and travel insurance available and select those that best meet their needs.”
Ms Cheung explained that in all circumstances whenever Cathay Pacific cancels a flight or changes its flight schedules, a general handling policy already exists for free rebooking, waiving or reduction of refund charges regardless of whether or not an OTA alert has been issued. The new ticketing arrangements are applicable to situations where a red/black OTA alert has been issued while Cathay Pacific’s scheduled services to the concerned destinations are not discontinued.
Cathay Pacific’s OTA Special Ticketing Arrangements apply to Cathay Pacific tickets purchased directly from the Cathay Pacific office in Hong Kong or online at www.cathaypacific.com.hk or through local travel agents for travel originating from Hong Kong.
Under the arrangements, Cathay Pacific will waive the fee or offer a lower handling fee than normal for refundable tickets. It will also offer free rebooking or rerouting options to the more restrictive tickets that normally do not allow any changes.
The destination with a Red/Black travel alert has to be either the final destination or part of the journey itinerary. To be eligible for the special ticketing arrangements, the ticket has to be issued in Hong Kong on or before the Red or Black travel alert issue date and also has to be for travelling on Cathay Pacific flights within seven days after the Red or Black alert issue date. This seven-day limit on applicable travel period may be extended depending on the severity and duration of a travel related incident.
For group tickets, when the travel agent operating the group tour announces suspension of tours to the destination with Red/Black travel alert, Cathay Pacific will refund the air-ticket portion of the package through travel agents, subject to a handling fee or retain the paid amount to use for a Cathay Pacific flight in tours operated by the same travel agent and departing within six months.
OTA SPECIAL TICKETING GUIDELINES
1) The newly rebooked or rerouted sector must observe and conform to the conditions of the respective fare rule e.g. blackout dates, flight, weekend/weekday travel, stopover charges, and applicable seasonality by collecting additional/refunding difference (if any) as appropriate.
2) For T9 Group Ticket, this policy only applies if the travel agent operating the tour group suspends all tour groups to the destination under red/black travel alert.
All Cathay Pacific e-tickets are printed with a fare type indicator for easy identification. Passengers are advised to consult their travel agents or contact Cathay Pacific if in doubt.
Full details of Cathay Pacific’s Special Ticketing Guidelines can be found at www.cathaypacific.com.hk. Details of the HKSAR Government’s OTA are available at http://www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/.