Hong Kong III: The Airline Bankruptcy Disaster

Travel Dates: 9-10 April, 2008. This entry is from my 2008 RTW Trip.

After the second Canadian transit visa rejection, I knew that I had to act fast to minimize my losses. The first thing to do was to try and get a refund on my now useless tickets, and then find a good price for another ticket, direct to somewhere in the US.

I had booked the cheapest possible tickets that I could find, and that usually means non-refundable. But I was quite sure that I would get at least some of the money back. I had a confirmed booking from Hong Kong to Vancouver on Oasis Hong Kong, the only budget airline to ever attempt the Asia->North America route. And it had created waves. Big waves. It even won several awards during its short lifespan. I got my ticket from HK to Vancouver for 2500 HK$ (about 13,000 rupees)!

But fate had different ideas. In fact, at the moment I was waiting for my second visa rejection(on 9th April), the CEO of Oasis Hong Kong Airlines was announcing the bankruptcy of his company at a press conference not more than a few hundred meters from where I sat!

The airline had gone bust. British Airways and Cathay Pacific were giving then intense competition on their routes and their prices were not enough to support their operating costs. Long haul budget flights were a great idea, but the execution was poor, and they were just a little bit ahead of time.

So I got back nothing. Nada. Zilch. I tried shopping for another ticket out from Hong Kong but I was just not in the mood to do any research myself. I walked into a travel agent’s office, and I asked him to find me the cheapest ticket to the US.


“May 1st week”

“Where to?”

“I don’t care. Whichever is the cheapest”

He didn’t take me seriously and I walked out, frustrated again.

Eventually, I managed to find a cheap ticket to Los Angeles on China Airlines via Taipei for 4400 HK$. Ouch!

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