This morning I wrote that Alaska Airlines award charts were showing higher prices for Cathay Pacific awards intra-Asia — with business class up over 120% and first class up over 150%.
Intra-Asia awards appeared to be the same price as US-Asia awards. As I wrote, when readers first reported this several days ago I assumed it “was a mistake related to Alaska updating the way they displayed award charts.” Indeed, one-way premium economy awards at 15,000 one way and 70,000 roundtrip made no sense. However Alaska was confirming the new pricing as correct.
Once Alaska’s phone lines opened for the day I confirmed that old pricing was still in effect.
After the coverage the Alaska Airlines twitter team committed to getting their published award charts fixed. Indeed, within a couple of hours the old chart pricing was back in place on the Alaska Airlines website.
The lesson though in all of this is an important one. The increases — over 150% for first class awards — were believable because of the trust that Alaska Airlines burned through last month. They made major changes to their award chart last month, as much as doubling Emirates awards overnight. And they said in the future they’d give 30 days’ notice (which is, itself, pathetic) except when they couldn’t.
Since it’s precisely what they did a month ago, and they said they’d only ‘try’ not to do it again, it was thinkable that this could have been something other than a mistake — the airline at first confirming that it wasn’t a mistake notwithstanding.
Trust matters. It’s much easier to lose than it is to rebuild.