Entries in Hong Kong (3)


Hong Kong for Four Miles and $43: Should United Honor the Mistake?

United Continental Holdings(NEW YORK) -- When Brian Kelly's intern called to alert him to chatter on FlyerTalk, a popular frequent-flier website, about an extraordinary airfare deal to Asia from United Airlines, Kelly jumped on it and booked a first-class, round-trip ticket from New York to Hong Kong.  Total cost?  Four frequent flier miles and $43.

Kelly, a travel expert who runs a website called The Points Guy, is no stranger to "error fares," as they're called in the industry. Typically, an error fare will leave off a zero on the price, or something similar.  But Kelly said errors on rewards tickets are far more unusual.

"I've never seen anything like it," he said.  "I priced out several different routes and it [the rate] was available, not only to Hong Kong but to Beijing and Shanghai."

In recent years, error fares have frequently not been honored by the airlines.  But new Department of Transportation (DOT) rules state: "A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.  Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a 'mistake.'"

Kelly said he received a confirmation email within 15 minutes of purchasing his ticket.  Still, United said it is not going to honor the tickets.  

In a statement to ABC News, the airline said, "Over the weekend, we discovered a programming error that allowed customers using to obtain Mileage Plus travel awards to and from Hong Kong for as little as four miles roundtrip per person, substantially below published levels, which we disclose to customers.  We have since corrected the error and will be in contact with customers who have tickets issued at the incorrect award amounts.  Customers will be given the choice to redeem at the correct mileage amount or re-deposit their award with all fees waived."

A DOT representative said they're looking into a number of complaints received about United's rescinding the frequent-flier tickets.

"Our rule on post-purchase price increases applies to frequent flier tickets, particularly when they also entail cash payments," the spokesperson said.

Kelly said he still hasn't heard from United regarding his ticket and he still holds his confirmation.

"Reasonable people realize this was a mistake," he said.  "Even so, it will be interesting to see how the new DOT rules play out."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


World's Tallest Hotel Gets Off the Ground in Hong Kong

ABC News(HONG KONG) -- If you ascend the shaded trails of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island, you will eventually find yourself gazing into the distance, eye-level with the third-highest roof in the world.

Dominating the relatively sedate West Kowloon skyline, on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour, is the tallest building in Hong Kong, the 1,588-foot International Commerce Centre, which finished construction in 2010.

For the complementary perspective, looking south, you'll have to visit the ICC's new rooftop bar at the brand new Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, scheduled to open March 29.

Last week, as an army of construction and hospitality workers buzzed about, excitedly focused on opening day, Regional Vice President and General Manager Mark DeCocinis offered a tour of the luxury hotel, which occupies the top 16 floors of the 118-story tower.

"With the amazing hardware in place," DeCocinis said, "what is happening from now till the opening would be training, training and training."

Indeed, during the tour, test meals were being prepared and served, and groups of workers huddled together in strategy sessions, pausing to cheerfully proffer a "good afternoon" to DeCocinis as we strode past, dodging vacuum cords and wet paint.

DeCocinis mirrored the chipper eagerness of his staff, beaming like a proud father as he showed off the design touches in the hotel's fine dining facilities, which include Chinese Restaurant Tin Lung Heen, Italian restaurant Tosca and a chocolate-themed lounge named the Chocolate Library.

But the venue with the most buzz, DeCocinis said, is the rooftop bar OZONE, featuring Asian tapas, sushi and an open-air lounge.

"Our friends in the offices below us are waiting for this to open," he said with a laugh.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Facebook Opens Office in Hong Kong, Second in Asia

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONG KONG) - Social networking giant Facebook is set to expand its global operations with an office in Hong Kong, reports the BBC.

The office will be its second in Asia after one was opened in Singapore last year. The site, however, continues to be banned from operating in China where the company would have access to an additional 450 million Internet users.

Facebook currently has 500 million users worldwide.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio