Travel nightmare: couple flown to wrong continent

Check that ticket! The wrong airport code on a ticket booked by Turkish Airlines sent a Los Angeles couple almost 7,000 miles off course.

Story highlights

  • Couple intends to fly to Africa, goes to Asia instead
  • Mix-up blamed on three-letter airport codes
  • Travelers confirmed nightmare on in-flight video map

Ever gotten on a plane and wound up in the wrong city? How about the wrong continent?

According to a Los Angeles Times report, that's the travel nightmare story Sandy Valdivieso and her husband, Triet Vo, will get to tell for the rest of their lives.

The couple boarded a flight in Los Angeles booked by Turkish Airways, intending to travel to Dakar, Senegal, in western Africa. Instead, they got off the plane in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in South Asia, almost 7,000 miles away.

The culprit was apparently a mix-up between the similarly pronounced cities and the three-letter code used by airlines to distinguish airports.

The three-letter airport code on the tickets issued to the couple by the airline read DAC, the code for the airport in Dhaka. The code for the airport in Dakar is DKR. The couple simply assumed that DAC was the code for their airport.

"Even after they'd settled into their seats -- 33A and 33B in economy class -- they had no idea anything was amiss," according to the Times.

"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 connecting through Istanbul, the weary couple fell asleep on their next flight. When they awoke they began sensing a problem when they looked around to see a plane full of Asian faces, not African ones. A check of the inflight video map confirmed their fears.

"That's when we knew a serious mistake had been made," Valdivieso told the Times.

After landing in Dhaka, the airline flew the couple to Dakar via Istanbul, about a six-hour trip. It took two more days for the pair's baggage to catch up to them.

The couple booked their tickets in December; the report didn't say when they traveled.