A couple that recently flew from Los Angeles to Dhaka, Bangladesh was pretty peeved with their vacation. Not because they forgot to back sunscreen or had a bad flight — it’s just that they were actually trying to go to Dakar, Senegal. That’s what happens with a quick slip of the keyboard and an incorrect destination code, an apparent “oops” moment on the part of Turkish Airlines.
What a difference 7,000 miles makes, eh? The couple tells the Los Angeles Times that it’s been months since the mishap, but nothing has been done to remedy the unfortunate situation.
“I have called them every Friday for the past four months,” the wife explained to the LAT’s David Lazarus. ”They told me each time that they will review my case and get back to me. But they never do.”
It all comes down to the code for Dakar, the capital of Senegal, which is DKR. Dhaka is DAC. Although the couple had the itineraries months in advance, they didn’t realize the difference on their itineraries because honestly, who memorizes the airport codes for the world’s airports?
The first part of the trip took them to Istanbul, and everything went smoothly. The couple admits, however, that they just assumed everything was correct on their tickets and that they were headed toward the right place.
“When the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced ‘Dakar’ with a Turkish accent,” the woman explains.
Soon enough, the husband and wife fell asleep — and woke up to notice that something was amiss. They were flying over the Middle East, according to the overhead video screen.
On the ground in Bangladesh, the couple spent nine hours figuring things out with Turkish Airlines. They were reportedly told that they would have to locate an actual recording of the wife on the phone booking a trip to Senegal before the airline would admit it had made a mistake.
Finally, they flew back to Istanbul and caught a plane to Dakar, with no extra charge for the layover in Bangladesh. Their bags, however, took two more days to arrive.
The couple was seeking some sort of compensation for being flown totally off course, and thus far hadn’t met with much success before taking their story to the press.
Now, however, the general manager of Turkish Airlines’ West Coast operations tells Lazarus: “We are very, very sorry that this happened.” She’s pledged to offer the couple two free economy-class tickets to anywhere Turkish Airlines flies, and will share the mishap with her staff to improve service.
A word to the wise for you travelers as well — make sure to look up the airport code of where you’re headed, just in case. Unless you’re okay with a surprise vacation on another continent.
Travel nightmare: Dakar, Dhaka — what’s the difference? [Los Angeles Times]