Airline Flight Mix-Up Sends Couple To The Wrong Continent

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.

Top hell-holes on earth

April Fool’s Day, 2007, I wrote a post on Linfen, China. Although it was written as a joke, the premise is true. Linfen is a royal mess. Its mighty pollution problem has earned it the number 2 spot on the recent “Hells on Earth” list. The air quality in Linfen is so horrific that there is a perpetual feeling of dusk in this coal dust laden city.

Here’s the rest of the ten places that have a hellish quality. Perhaps you know of others that should have made the cut.

10. Baghdad, Iraq–No surprise here. What, with the war and all, it doesn’t matter if the place has one of the coolest names. According to the article, the city is so dangerous, it’s hard to find people out and about on the streets.

9. Dhaka, Bangladesh–And to think I almost moved here. I had a job interview that I canceled because getting to this place was a hassle. The pollution is problematic. That’s why it’s on the list. Too bad because, everyone I’ve ever met from Bangladesh has been a real gem of a person.

8. Yakutsk, Russia–When I read that this city is the coldest place on earth, that stopped me cold. We’re talking major frostbite. Temperatures can go down to -58 degrees, according to the article. If you’re a kid, it’s a day off from school, so for the younger crowd, this might be heaven.

7. Mogadishu, East Africa (Somalia)–Another one of my favorite city names. I’ve have many students from Somalia–lovely people, and they shake their heads in sorrow over what once was. No one is minding the store in this country that has been wrecked to shambles. The rebels keep running amok. This truly does not sound like a relaxing place to get away. Get away from, sure.

6. Chernobyl, Ukraine–If you want a radiation boost that could do you in, come here. Most of the city was deserted after the nuclear explosion in 1986 and it has not recovered since. There aren’t any prospects for a brighter future either.

5. Oklahoma City, The United States–But the state has such a catchy song, you might be protesting. What’s wrong with Oklahoma City? Weather, that’s what. A Kansas tornado has nothing on Oklahoma City’s. The Ask.Men folks cite 320 mph winds as the fastest. That seems like enough to turn eyelids inside out. Besides that, blizzards are also fierce. I’ve driven through here a couple times on a calm day–always in the summer, and not a gust in sight. Who knew?

4. Pyongyang, North Korea–Gadling blogger, Neil went here and found that hell must have things to like. Sure there’s some hellish, oddball qualities to Pyongyang, but he found it worth the visit. If you can handle the oppression and a tour guide who never lets you wander off on your own, this might feel more like limbo than hell.

3. Bujumbura, Republic of Burundi–If the accounts of people in Burundi feeling the least satisfied than all other people in the world is true, I’d say this is hell indeed. Look at this list for starters. They feel worse than people who live in Linfen? The reason for Burundi’s problems is the corruption.

1. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea–This place does sound like a hell hole. The murder rate, according to Ask.Men is 23 times that of London and gangs and disease–like HIV, run rampant. Swell.

My good friend over at BloggingStocks and WalletPop, Tom Barlow gave me a heads up on this one. Thanks, Tom.