Skip to main content

Travel nightmare: couple flown to wrong continent

By CNN staff
May 21, 2013 -- Updated 0451 GMT (1251 HKT)
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.
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

(CNN) -- 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 0256 GMT (1056 HKT)
Journals, luggage tags, Panama hats? Yawn. We've got a selection of gifts travelers will actually use.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Global events, new attractions and anniversary celebrations will put these destinations on travel radars next year. Question is, which one(s) to visit?
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Of all Christmas traditions out there, one has an All-American pedigree: electric Christmas tree lights.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
.
Looking for snow porn? This helicopter ski adventure will fly you into the Coast Mountains for the freshest runs.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
From Singapore to Norway, there are plenty of reasons to plan your next trip around a fabulous hotel opening its doors next year.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Step aside Mount Everest, this mountain country is home to cool cafes, crazy drinks and ancient Buddhist tradition.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
ADVERTISEMENT