Military hardware removed from Gatwick, the US releases a travel warning for China, and United launch a plane food cookbook
In what could have been an embarrassing PR gaffe, Cathay Pacific have said that the lucky passengers who bought $16,000 first-class seats for $675 will be able to travel on their tickets.
Happy 2019 all, and to those who bought our good – VERY good surprise ‘special’ on New Year’s Day, yes – we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued. Hope this will make your 2019 ‘special’ too!
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) January 2, 2019
The Hong Kong airline tweeted: “Yes — we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued.”
Mistake fares such as these are known as fat finger fares, implying that someone has made a blunder. The error may also be down to a miscalculated currency conversion, data entry error, or a glitch.
While Cathay Pacific have decided to honour the fares, airlines are under no obligation to do so. Travellers are entitled to a full refund for the cost of an incorrectly issued ticket, along with all non-refundable purchases made after booking the mistake fare.
Army pulls out of Gatwick following drone disruption
The military hardware deployed at Gatwick airport in response to the drone sightings that caused three days of disruption before Christmas has now been withdrawn.
Approximately 1,000 flights were grounded at the London airport, affecting more than 140,000 passengers, and Sussex Police had to call in the army for assistance.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The military capability has now been withdrawn from Gatwick. The armed forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received.”
Both Gatwick and Heathrow have said that they will now invest millions of pounds in anti-drone equipment, according to the BBC.
Gatwick said they have already spent $6.3 million (£5 million) in order to prevent future attacks.
Sussex Police are still investigating the disruption. No one has yet been charged and a $63,352 (£50,000) reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest.
US issues travel warning for China
The US State Department has issued a level-two travel warning for citizens travelling to China. This means that they should “exercise increased caution”.
The warning has been issued because of “arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals” and the use of “exit bans”. The warning claims that US citizens are only told of an exit ban when they try to leave China and are not informed of how long they must remain.
Venice introduces tourist tax
In yet another attempt to reduce overtourism in Venice, the city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, has decided to impose a tourist tax on all visitors.
While the council has still to decide how much this will be, all visitors will have to pay it.
Currently, only visitors who stay overnight in the city pay a hotel tax of between $1.14 (€1) and $5.70 (€5) a head. This means that it is possible to visit the city on a day trip without paying.
25 million tourists visit Venice each year but estimates suggest that only 20 per cent of these stay overnight.
Last spring, Venice council erected barriers at major tourist spots to control the flow of people, and closed certain parts of the city to tourists over the Mayday weekend.
United release plane food cookbook
United Airlines have decided to release their favourite on-board recipes as a cookbook in an attempt to change how people perceive plane food.
The Daily Meal reports that the book contains more than 40 different recipes to be tried in the comfort of your own home.
The recipes are based on the food served in the airline’s Polaris class — the name of United’s business class — and have been created by United’s executive chefs as well as chefs from the Trotter Project.
A percentage of proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Trotter Project, which is a charity that opens doors for disadvantaged people into the global culinary and hospitality industries through education, mentorship, and the pursuit of excellence. United are a partner in the project.
If you fancy dining as if you were at 30,000 feet, the cookbook costs $29.99.