May 21, 2013

"Travel nightmare: Dakar, Dhaka — what's the difference? A wrong airport code sends travelers to the wrong continent."

"The code for the airport in Dakar, capital of Senegal, is DKR. The code for the airport in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, is DAC...."

Dhaka is 6,900 miles from Dakar. The first leg of the flight got them to Istanbul, where the screwup took place:
"When the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced 'Dakar' with a Turkish accent"....

25 comments:

Darrell said...

Lucky they had fuel for an almost 7000-mile longer flight. Some stories smell, even if they are true.

rhhardin said...

Dakar is GOOY, Dhaka Bangladesh is VGHS, according to airport codes.

E.g. US LAX is really KLAX, EWR is really KEWR.

Darrell said...

Dakar is GOOY

Lucky they didn't land on Gwyneth Paltrow, then--GOOP and all.

traditionalguy said...

Life is still a code of order contained in a Word.

DrMaturin said...

I was once on a flight from Newark to Dallas. As we taxied from the gate the flight attendant went into her safety briefing. "Welcome to Braniff flight xyx nonstop to Dallas" and a passenger yelled out "Dallas? Not Dulles??". Needless to say we taxied back to the gate and let the poor fellow off.

Darrell said...

Welcome to Northwest Flight. . .

I was on a flight once where the same thing happened. Except in my case, all the people that had purchased tickets in advance were going to a different destination, including me. There was some mixup where they put an additional plane on a route at the last minute. It took some time to sort it all out. And that's why they went out of business not too long after.

Old RPM Daddy said...

A girl in my ANG unit was the daughter of an airline pilot, and was able to ride for free on certain of the airline's flights if seats were available. She told me that while traveling back home to Hampton Roads, she hopped on one of the two puddle jumpers parked next to each other on the ramp. She didn't know anything was wrong until the plane landed and she thought, "Wait, Norfolk doesn't have mountains, does it?"

Ignorance is Bliss said...

A number of years ago I had a software engineering job in Alabama that required occasional trips to Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. They usually flew me into Seattle, then I would drive to Redmond.

One time we got a new travel agent, who was able to get me a flight into Redmond. The plane seemed rather small when I made the connection in Portland, Oregon, but, whatever. I didn't realize anything was wrong until I got off the plane ( down the steps and walk across the tarmac ) and saw the sign above the airport entrance: Welcome to Redmond: Gateway to Central Oregon.

When cities with the same names in different states both have airports ( such as Portland, ME and Portland, OR ) the plane ticket will list the city and state. However, since there is no airport in Redmond, WA, my ticket to Redmond, OR did not list the state.

After spending the night in Redmond OR, I was able to get a flight out and made it to my conference a half day late. I told some people there what had happened, and one of the other people said the same thing happened to him on a previous trip.

Astro said...

I'm not the only person thinking 'computers, Obamacare, massive screw-ups, ...'

Am I?

BDNYC said...

Wait, did the plane go to the wrong place or was it just these two people who were put on the wrong plane?

edutcher said...

No one, one presumes, thought to double check the actual word.

MayBee said...

It surprised they never saw the actual name of the destination written down. It was surely available to them on their boarding pass or confirmation email and they just didn't look closely.

MayBee said...

These two people had purchased tickets to the wrong airport. It sounds like they purchased tickets over the phone, which is risky when working with people with different accents.

-Peder said...

I'm a corporate travel agent and we run into this occasionally. Most often with Springfield IL and Springfield MO. At least once with Portland ME and Portland OR. At least with IL and MO you can drive it. Not so much when you end up on the wrong coast!
The moral of the story is to read your confirmation email. Mistakes are easy to make while talking over the phone. Double check, especially when traveling overseas.

MadisonMan said...

These two people had purchased tickets to the wrong airport. It sounds like they purchased tickets over the phone, which is risky when working with people with different accents.

It reads to me like they tried to purchase tickets to the right airport (Senegal), but were issued ones to the wrong (Bangladesh).

I purchase tickets online. Less chance of bad accents screwing things up.

Captain Curt said...

I remember a great one from the 1970s where a guy traveling from New York to the Bay Area booked an Air New Zealand flight from Kennedy to Los Angeles and then a connection from LAX to Oakland.

When the plane landed at LAX, there was an announcement that said, "All those continuing on to Auckland, please stay on the plane." So he did...

James Graham said...

I learned long ago to always inspect the luggage ticket before leaving the checkout counter.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ignorance is Bliss,

Oregon is absolutely golden for that sort of thing. When I first moved up here, I thought every damn place was named after some better-known place somewhere else. What self-respecting state has a Milwaukee and a Dallas?

The one that must be hell for travelers, though, is Vancouver, WA being so close to Vancouver, BC. At least if you get dumped in the wrong one you don't have all that far to go, but still ...

Dr Weevil said...

What if you end up in the wrong Vancouver and don't have a passport? They're not far apart, but there is an international border in between. Even if Americans and Canadians can still cross the border without a passport (can they?) it may involve a long wait.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Charleston WV/SC. I would have thought that only Portland OR/ME is an equally important pair of homonymous American cities - aren't all four either the largest city in a state, or the capital, or both?

Dr Weevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paminwi said...

The Prestigious UW Madison golf team made the Charleston mistake a number of years ago on their way to a tournament. They ended up driving to their event and made it to their tee times with only minutes to spare.

So much for education!!

Sam L. said...

A guy might think tickets would be looked at by gate agents.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dr. Weevil,

What if you end up in the wrong Vancouver and don't have a passport? They're not far apart, but there is an international border in between. Even if Americans and Canadians can still cross the border without a passport (can they?) it may involve a long wait.

Good question. I thought you did need a passport for US/CA crossing, as of recently. You might be OK if you got online while still in the terminal in the "wrong" Vancouver and ordered a ticket to the "right" one, since you'd already been through airport security. At least, if you'd been accidentally sent to Canada. How the Canadians would handle it if you were accidentally flown to the US, I don't know.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Charleston WV/SC. I would have thought that only Portland OR/ME is an equally important pair of homonymous American cities - aren't all four either the largest city in a state, or the capital, or both?

Per Wiki, Columbia, SC is technically the largest city in SC, though it looks as though Charleston, North Charleston, and environs together are more than twice the size. The two Portlands are the largest cities in their respective states, though of course neither is a state capital. Charleston, WV is both the largest city in the state and the capital. A situation surprisingly rare, actually. How many instances are there?

Sanjay Patwal said...

Now i'm not confident where you might be helping your information, however beneficial issue. I have to spend a long time researching extra or even comprehension extra. Appreciate amazing information I had been seeking this info in my quest.

Washington Cheap Flight Tickets

zeetech yousaf said...

Yes it is matter what code you are giving to the passengers every time when i need cheap flights to Pakistan i concern with a best agent and they can do best for me and i pay them best this is the simple way you can make your journey safer.