Tuesday 28 March 2023

A free round trip ticket to Hong Kong


In March 2023, I participated in Cathay Pacific’s World of Winners campaign and was lucky to win a round-trip ticket from Singapore to Hong Kong. However, my journey in this campaign was not without its challenges and I learned some valuable lessons along the way

Briefly, my winning episode was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions, the revelation of my shortcoming, and great help from some wonderful people from Cathay Pacific Singapore.

I signed up for the campaign online hours before the start time and clutched a good queue number of 10,150 out of the 12,500 allocated.

When the winners were announced on March 20, I was ecstatic when I saw my name and email in the winner list.

After two days of waiting. I was downcasted as I did not receive any email from the airline informing me to collect my winning ticket but I reassured myself to be patient and continued waiting.

Deep down in my heart, I knew I was not into a scam.

Despite checking my inbox and spam folder daily, I didn’t receive any news from the airline for five days after March 20.

When my attempt to email Cathay Pacific H.K. failed, I decided to call Cathay Pacific Singapore on 26/3/2023, a Sunday morning when most Singaporean were still in bed.

Surprisingly, a sweet lady who sounds like a Filipino (forgot her name) took my call, and attended to my concerns attentively.

During the conversation with her, she brought to my attention that I had written my e-mail incorrectly at the time of registration for the campaign.

Instead of including an "l" in "@gmail.com, I had mistakenly written "@gmai.com (omitting "l").

Unfortunately, due to my condition of glaucoma which has led to the blindness of my right eye, I failed to detect the mistake when I first glanced at the winner's list.

Although my eye condition provides a good excuse for my oversight, I must take full responsibility for my carelessness. Ultimately, it was my own laziness that cause this mistake. 

Luckily, the sweet lady assured me that she would amend my incorrect email address instantly. 

I was quite happy knowing my grave carelessness and mistake would be corrected.

But the feeling of redemption and short-lived euphoria didn't totally satisfy my gut feeling.

I want to be absolutely certain that my email address is amended and I'll get my free ticket eventually.

A short later, I entered Cathay Pacific Singapore's website Chat Box in WhatsApp to follow up on my earlier conversation with the sweet lady.

A living Ms. Mina (not a virtual assistant) came online to chat and wrote:

"Hi, Sir James Lim. Thank you for choosing Cathay Pacific. My name is Mina. I am seeing here that you are in need of assistance with an email to your ticket. I am more than happy to assist with it"

In a short span of about 10 minutes of pleasant chatting with her, she finally said:

"I have sent the email to our relevant team in HK, Sir James. Please wait for their response within 24 - 48 hours. However, I cannot guarantee that they will approve of this one but one thing is for sure, I have raised your concerns with them"

Frankly, in my many years of interacting with local sales staff, I have never experienced such a courteous, helpful, and professional salesperson like Ms. Mina".

Now, true to her assurance and assistance, I received an email in less than 48 hours from accommodating Cathay Pacific H.K. confirming that I had officially won the free ticket and inviting me to redeem it by April 19.

Sadly, some winners lamented that their joy of winning the free ticket was short-lived after finding out they still have to pay close to $200 in taxes because the airline only covers the fare, and worst of all, these people commented that it may be more worthwhile to fly with another airline.

The fact is all participants in this campaign were informed in advance that they have to bear all taxes and surcharges on their own.

I wonder why there are such ungrateful and cheap-skate people who demand a foot when given an inch.

A normal return economy ticket on Cathay Pacific to H.K. for travel in April 2023 costs about S$650.00. Therefore, there is still a “saving” of S$450 after tax and surcharges. Why still unhappy?

I’ll redeem my prize soon and plan to take the bullet train from H.K. to Shanghai and Guangzhou. The only thing that concerns me is traveling alone in a foreign country, particularly at my ripe age.

From this episode, I learned I’m rather careless in my typing and had to double-check whatever I write in the future. Additionally, I learned to never surrender when faced with negative responses and take things for granted.

More importantly, I learned there are still many kind-hearted and helpful people like Ms. Mina around us.

P/S. I'm happy to share my prices with friends who are willing to be my travel companion to H.K. and China.




maxspeed@redline said...

Hi James,
check with you, did you happy for a visa to go from HK to Guangzhou?

I was thinking of the same route but was told that the visa waiver for was travel groups only.

Hope you can share any useful information.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, Sorry I've no idea about visa.

You should check directly with the Chinese Embassy
as each foreigner is different respectively.

Anonymous said...