Airline mix-up sends couple 7,000 miles from their destination

Ceri Roberts
Airline mix-up sends couple 7,000 miles from their destination
Airline mix-up sends couple 7,000 miles from their destination

An American couple found themselves 7,000 miles away from the intended destination of Dakar, Senegal, because Turkish Airlines mixed-up the three-letter airport code and sent them to Dhaka, Bangladesh instead.

The LA Times reports that Sandy Valdivieso and her husband, Triet Vo, were flying from Los Angeles to Africa to visit a friend, but they ended up being sent to a totally different continent.

When Ms Valdivieso booked their tickets, they showed that they were travelling from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to IST (Istanbul) and then on to DAC (Dhaka, Bangladesh). The couple had no idea that DAC stood for Dhaka, not Dakar, which has the code DKR.

The couple arrived in Istanbul without incident, before boarding a flight for the second leg of their trip. They fell asleep soon after boarding, and didn't realise that there was a problem until they woke up and saw the travel map on the overhead video screen, which showed they were over the Middle East.

Ms Valdivieso said: "I guess we were just going by the flight number on our tickets and DAC was printed on them. You just assume that everything is correct.

"When the flight attendant said that we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced 'Dakar' with a Turkish accent."

Once they landed in Bangladesh, it took nine hours for the couple to resolve the situation with Turkish Airlines - and officials insisted on tracking down a recording of Ms Valdivieso booking a trip to Senegal before they accepted that the wrong airport code had been put on their tickets.

Twelve hours later they were flown back to Istanbul, where they caught a connecting flight to Dakar. It took an additional two days for their bags to arrive.

Ms Valdivieso has spent the last four months trying to get compensation for the mix-up - to no avail.

However, Turkish Airlines have now told the LA Times that they are very sorry for what happened and will offer the couple free economy-class tickets to any destination that they fly to.

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