Published May 20, 2013
Ever had that fear of falling asleep after take-off and waking up to realize you are on the wrong flight? Well, due to an airline mix-up, Sandy Valdivieso and her husband Triet Vo had exactly that nightmare experience.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the couple wanted to fly from Los Angeles to the African city of Dakar, Senegal, but ended up on a flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is 6,900 miles away and on a completely different continent.
The two travelers, flying on Turkish Airlines, had a layover in Istanbul before making their connecting flight to what they thought would be Dakar. After boarding their flight, they quickly fell asleep and several hours later woke up to see the inflight map showing the plane over the Middle East, headed the completely wrong direction.
The mix-up was the result of an airline employee, who had accidentally entered the wrong three-letter airport code into airline’s booking system. The code for Dakar is DKR, while Dhaka is DAC, a relatively simple mistake considering the names are so similar.
"When the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced 'Dakar' with a Turkish accent," Valdivieso told the Times.
After landing in Dhaka, the couple said it took another few hours for the airline to confirm the mistake. Turkish Airlines had to track down the actual recording of the booking phone call to prove that Valdivieso had requested a trip to Dakar and not Dhaka
The two were flown back to Istanbul 12 hours later, at no charge. A spokesperson for the airlines, Fatma Yuceler, told the Los Angeles Times the couple would receive two free economy class tickets to any destination Turkish Airlines flies to.
Let’s hope the next trip takes them to the right continent.