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Auctioning off upgrades! Cathay Pacific considers eBay-style bidding for passengers who want to fly business class

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Passengers who want a taste of the high life could soon be able to bid in an online auction to secure a flight upgrade.

Cathay Pacific is reportedly considering setting up an eBay-style auction where passengers can place bids for the chance to upgrade to premium economy and business class.

Holidaymakers with an eye for a bargain could then snap up superior seats at discount prices, depending on demand.


The high life: The idea being considered by Cathay Pacific would allow passengers to bid for premium economy or business class seats

A marketing agency called ICLP, retained by Cathay Pacific, took to an airline forum to sound out passengers about the idea.

Explaining the process on the website FlyerTalk, the spokesperson said: 'Customers would be invited to place an offer for their booked flights via a website prior to their departure date.

'If their offer was successful they would be advised around 4 days prior to departure and the offer payment collected.'

The spokesperson stresses the company was just considering the idea, asking for feedback from frequent fliers about whether it would be of interest.


New direction: The airline confirmed it is considering the upgrade option but nothing has been decided yet

But passengers hoping for a discounted trip in business class could be disappointed.

The overwhelming reaction online was negative, with fliers saying the bidding process could 'devalue' the Cathay Pacific Brand.

A user calling themselves Psychiatrist wrote: 'I think the existing system should be kept. Bidding for a paid upgrade will devalue the CX product.'

And another user, Big Red Bears, added: 'Agree with comments that a bidding system will devalue CX product and will alienate customers.'


Upgrade auction: There were fears among frequent fliers the bidding process could 'cheapen' the airline

There are fears that by introducing the bidding concept, frequent fliers, who are often offered the unfilled premium seats, could miss out.

Passengers could also hold off on buying a premium seat in the hope that they can get a discounted upgrade by entering the bid.

A Cathay spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post: 'We are examining new initiatives that will allow us to offer passengers, including our Marco Polo Club members, different ways to get an upgrade. At this stage the project is still in the study phase.'


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