A passenger walks to the first class counter of Cathay Pacific Airways at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong, China, in this file photo taken on April 4 2018. Picture: REUTERS/BOBBY YIP
A passenger walks to the first class counter of Cathay Pacific Airways at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong, China, in this file photo taken on April 4 2018. Picture: REUTERS/BOBBY YIP

For a lucky few, it's the gift that keeps on giving: a Cathay Pacific snafu offering premium tickets at a fraction of their price, for the second time in less than two weeks.

On its website on Sunday morning, Cathay was offering first-class flights from Lisbon to Hong Kong — via a connecting flight through London with a partner airline — for just $1,512, the South China Morning Post reported.

A similar journey in first-class via Frankfurt  would set travellers back an eye-watering $16,000.

"We are looking into the root cause of this incident both internally and externally with our vendors," said a Cathay spokesperson, who attributed the error to an "input issue".

The Hong Kong-based carrier would, as it did last time, honour the cheap fares for the "very small number" of savvy and fortunate travellers, the spokesperson said.

Airline and travel blogs went into overdrive on New Year's Eve after eagle-eyed shoppers noticed the carrier was offering first- and business-class tickets on its website from Vietnam to the United States and Canada for as little as $670.

That represented a staggering discount from the usual $16,000 round-trip flight on first class, and $4,000-$6,000 on business class.

It took two days for Cathay to publicly acknowledge the error, and a spokesperson declined to say how many tickets were sold at the discounted price.

Cathay had a tough year in 2018. It continued to struggle with the rise of cheaper mainland Chinese rivals, losing $33m in the first six months of the year.

Then in October it sparked outrage among customers and politicians in Hong Kong when it admitted to a massive data breach five months after hackers made off with the data of 9.4 million customers, including some passport numbers and credit card details.

AFP