A couple flown to the wrong continent started out in Los Angeles, connected in Istanbul, Turkey, and ended up almost 7,000 miles out of their way in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Los Angeles residents Sandy Valdivieso and Triet Vo bought tickets to Dakar, Senegal, on the west coast of Africa. However, they were ultimately delivered not just to the wrong town or the wrong country but to an entirely different continent. Bangladesh is located in South Asia.
The mix-up happened because when the airline issued their boarding pass, it wrongly used the airport code DAC (Dhaka) instead of DKR (Dakar). When the flyers boarded the IST-DAC leg in Turkey’s capital, they still didn’t understand that they had been booked on the wrong flight.
The couple didn’t stress it at all, apparently. They went right to sleep — and didn’t wake up until they were well on their way. Oops.
In Bangladesh, the Turkish Air rep didn’t take the story at face value, perhaps assuming that they were experiencing some buyer’s remorse at the trip to the very poor, crowded nation south of India.
According to the LAT account, “Officials with the carrier insisted that they had to track down and hear the recording of Valdivieso booking a trip to Senegal before they could acknowledge that the wrong airport code had been put on their tickets.”
Eventually, Turkish Air admitted that they had done something wrong and flew the couple to Dakar without an additional charge. Their bags, of course, whiffed, and didn’t show up at their destination for another two days.
The flight to the wrong continent actually took place in December, but it has taken months for Turkish Air to acknowledge that they owed the couple some compensation for the crazy ordeal.
The Telegraph said that a Turkish Air spokeswoman has now acknowledged that the airline is “very, very sorry that this happened.” To compensate for their trouble, the couple has been offered free economy tickets anywhere they want to go on Turkish.
There wasn’t any word about how eager they would be to make use of that particular gift.
One poster on Flyertalk, a discussion forum for frequent flyers, noted that it wasn’t all the fault of Turkish Airlines:
“[T]here’s absolutely no excuse for the couple not to check on what they’ve booked, especially, when flying to a foreign country – one apparently they’ve never been to previously. Since they didn’t recognize the mistake, how is the airline supposed to? Once brought to [Turkish Air’s] attention, they did the right thing and flew them to Dakar free of charge…”
Apparently, this 7,000 mile mistake can happen in the other direction too. A poster on frequent flyer blog View From the Wing said: “I’ve had to deal with a Bangladeshi passenger trying to check-in at Gatwick for a flight home that was actually routing him to Senegal via Ghana. So from personal experience, I can vouch that Dakar vs Dhaka is not a unique situation!”
Ouch. Double-check those tickets, folks. We don’t want you to end up being flown to the wrong continent.
[Dakar beach photo by Jeff Attaway via Wikimedia Commons]