A couple who had intended to fly from Los Angeles to Dakar, Senegal, ended up 7,000 miles away in Dhaka, Bangladesh, because of an airline error.
Sandy Valdivieso and her husband Triet Vo, 39, told the Los Angeles Times that they didn't think anything was amiss when they got their Turkish Airlines boarding passes for their flights from Los Angeles to Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Their passes had them going from LAX, the airport code for Los Angeles International Airport, to IST, Istanbul, to DAC.
It turns out that DAC is the airport code for Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The airport code for Dakar is DKR.
"I guess we were just going by the flight number on our tickets, and that DAC was printed on them," Valdivieso, 31, an academic counselor at UCLA, told the Times. "You just assume that everything is correct."
Valdivieso booked economy class seats on their December flight from Los Angeles to Dakar, via Istanbul, for $2,700 tickets. Both their tickets and baggage claim receipts had DAC as their final destination.
Their flight to Istanbul went smoothly. On their second flight, "when the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced 'Dakar' with a Turkish accent," Valdivieso said.
They quickly fell asleep. Valdivieso finally realized something had gone terribly wrong when she woke up hours later and noticed that the travel map on the overhead video screen showed the plane flying over the Middle East.
After the plane landed, they proceeded to try to sort out the error. It took nine hours. Turkish Airlines flew them back to Istanbul. From there, they got on their six-hour flight to Dakar. Their luggage made it to them two days later.
The carrier did not charge them for the extra flights. But the couple had been trying since December to get the airline to compensate them financially for the mistake.
It wasn't until the Los Angeles Times contacted the airline that they were given two free economy class tickets to any destination that Turkish Airlines flies to.
Rick Seaney, co-founder of the website FareCompare.com, told the Times that it's not that uncommon for mix-ups to happen with travelers' itineraries. But he's never heard of an airline sending passengers to completely wrong continents.
"This is just brutal," he said. "A lot worse than losing your bag."
By Nancy Trejos