Imagine hopping on a plane to go on vacation in Africa, taking a nap and waking up to find yourself in Bangladesh. That’s exactly what happened to one couple after an airline mixed up their flight bookings and flew them 7,000 miles away from their intended destination.
Sandy Valdivieso and her Husband Triet Vo had wanted to fly from LA to the African city of Dakar, Senegal, but mistakenly ended up on a flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh. It turns out the mishap all came down to the three-letter airport code airlines routinely use when making bookings or entering information on baggage tags. Instead of entering DKR (for Dakar) in the computer system, the airline representative entered DAC (for Dhaka), sparking the intercontinental travel nightmare.The couple, flying on Turkish Airlines, transited in Istanbul before joining their connecting flight to what they thought would be Dakar. They told the LA Times they didn’t notice anything was wrong, because they went by the flight number on their tickets. And the similarity in city names didn’t help matters. “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.
It was only after seeing a route map several hours into the flight showing their plane hovering over the Middle East that the pair realized something was wrong. Upon landing, Turkish Airlines actually tracked down the voice recording of the couple booking their flight to Senegal to confirm the bungle was in fact the airline’s fault, before finally putting the couple on a flight to the right city.
Think New York has the most extensive subway system in the world? You may be right, but it’s a toss-up with London and Berlin. It’s easy to judge if you take all the metro systems and draw them to the same scale, as artist and urban planner Neil Freeman did in a series of minimalist subway maps. Comparing different systems, it’s a wonder why cities like Budapest even bothered with a metro, yet having ridden it, it’s a pretty extensive system.
I once took a flight from Batman Airport, had a layover at Useless Loop and then landed at Monkey Mia. Okay, I didn’t. But I could have flown in or out of those and several other airports with equally odd names. Batman is located in Turkey, and Useless Loop and Monkey Mia serve Western Australia.
Skyscanner has put together a list of some of the strangest airport names in the world, including these. On the titillating side, there’s Brest Airport in France and Ogle Airport in Guyana, while Asbestos Hill Airport in Canada and Mafia Airport in Tanzania are on the “airports you might not want to fly into” list. But at least neither of those sound as scary as Danger Bay Airport.
There are airports named for animals: Canada is home to Squirrel Cove, Muskrat Dam and Goose Bay Airports while the US has Chicken, Fox and Duck Airports. Then there are the ones that just sound silly: Wee Waa, Wagga Wagga, and Woodie Woodie Airports are all in Australia and Flin Flon and Kar Kar serve Papau New Guinea.
The site also lists some funny airport codes like BUM (Butler Airport), PEE (Perm Airport), and SEX (Sembach Airport).
Check out the full list of strange and silly airport names here.
Here’s an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” story. For years Sioux City, Iowa city leaders have been trying to get the letter code of the Sioux Gateway Airport changed to almost anything but SUX. The years of tossing ideas back and forth with the Federal Aviation Administration have not lead to any happy solutions. Now, however, the city has changed it’s mind. SUX is a winner after all.
Instead of fighting what SUX implies, they’ve decided to embrace the code and turn it into a money maker. In a marketing campaign to push the airport, Fly SUX is being printed on hats and T-shirts. As one official noted, SUX is not a code a person forgets. [see article] That’s true. It took me the longest time to remember Columbus’s airport is CMH. The only other two I remember is JFK and LAX. I only found out about SUX today and it’s stuck in my brain. Here’s another Web site where you can get Fly SUX goods–mugs included.