Cathay Pacific Criticized for Waiving Change Fees So Passengers Can Vote

Cathay Pacific is coming under criticism by Malaysia’s deputy minister for home affairs and internal security.

The airline is “offering free ticket changes for Malaysians returning home to vote.” Malaysia is scheduling an election. The date isn’t yet known, but could come as soon as the end of April. Malaysia by the way just pushed through redistricting this month.

This has created uncertainty for passengers traveling abroad and waiving these fees gives them confidence in purchasing tickets from Cathay over competitors.

Helping people participate in democracy is usually lauded as noble, and in this case it likely coincides with Cathay Pacific’s financial interest as well or at least has enough upside to offset costs.

However Malaysia’s deputy minister is attacking them for the move, saying he “didn’t know that regime change is part of [Cathay Pacific’s] business plan.”

He continues to double down with ‘whataboutism’ suggesting that since Cathay Pacific doesn’t waive change fees for other events they’re clearly singling out the Malaysian election to influence the outcome.

And the Deputy Minister complains he’s being cyber bullied over it.

The incumbent regime in Malaysia is surely worried about retaining power, signaling that more turnout increases their risk.

I’m hoping for a peaceful outcome that somehow benefits citizens of Malaysia broadly, rather than whichever cronyist takes power, though that seems unlikely.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. One of my friends was roommates with Najib’s daughter at Harvard 2 years ago. I’m pretty sure the daughter doesn’t even want to be back in Malaysia. At some point, when a new regime comes in and decides to fairly look at Najib’s dealings, hopefully there will be some jailtime for that level of corruption.

  2. Sure, because like, 50% of the country flies CP on a daily basis.
    He probably requested a free upgrade and got denied.
    Go fly Malindo with the unwashed masses instead!

  3. BIG difference! All celebrants know that Christmas is on Dec. 25 EVERY year! Also, one can look up the dates of CNY for years in advance! In contrast to the Malaysian election, whose date for this year has not yet been determined!
    Also, a govt. Minister for Internal Security should not want to decrease voter turnout to favor certain candidates!

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