Passenger Sues British Airways: Grenada Is Not The Same As Granada

No matter what the sorry state of some of your friends’ posts on social media might indicate, spelling words correctly is still a very important thing. Especially when you’re trying to fly to Granada, Spain and not Grenada in the Caribbean. Cue lawsuit against British Airways.

An American dentist hadn’t gone on vacation in two years, and was finally set to fulfill his dream of seeing the majestic architecture of Granada, Spain, reports The Independent. He and his partner were all settled on their British Airways flight from London, content in the knowledge that they’d be up to their eyeballs in Moorish wonders soon enough.

That is, until they looked at the map on the in-flight entertainment system and saw their plane was heading west instead of toward Spain. Nine hours later, they landed 4,000 miles away from their intended vacation spot, on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Sure, a beach vacation is nothing to sneeze at. But not when you were expecting to go somewhere else.

Staff on the flight initially apologized and promised that the couple would be rerouted back to London and then on to Granada. But instead, the couple says they spent three days trying to get to Spain in vain.

The couple claims the airline didn’t reimburse first-class tickets, and are now suing for those fares as part of their lawsuit against British Airways.

“I have a lifelong interest in Islamic art. I’m also of Spanish Jewish heritage so it was something I had always wanted to do to visit Granada and the Alhambra,” the dentist told The Independent. “I made it absolutely clear to the booking agent I wanted to go to Granada in Spain. Why on earth would I want to go to Grenada in the Caribbean if I was flying back to America from Lisbon?”

According to the couple, BA’s booking agents in Florida were at fault, with the electronic tickets referring only to “Grenada” with no airport code, destination country of flight duration.

Should the customer know how to spell their destination city? Maybe, but the fact that he allegedly stressed that he wanted to go to Spain and never said a word about the Caribbean should’ve been taken note of by the person booking the trip.

He says he’s also out more than 375,000 frequent-flier miles used to book the tickets, and that BA has only offered him and his partner $376 each and 50,000 miles.

The man is suing for $34,000 in damages and his case is scheduled for a full hearing, after a judge rejected British Airways’ attempt to move the lawsuit and then to get it dismissed completely.

“This case proves the truth of Mark Twain’s aphorism that ‘the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug’. Except here only a single letter’s difference is involved,” the judge ruled.

The man is representing himself in the case, reports NBC News.

“I have no legal background; I’m a dentist, but I know right from wrong — I don’t know if that does you any good in this world,” he explains. “I really thought they would just want to settle with me, because it’s so apparent that it’s just a stupid mistake.”

A spokeswoman for the airline declined to comment, saying: “As this is active litigation, we are unable to make any comment at this time.”

This isn’t the first time this happened — another passenger trying to get to Granada ended up in Grenada, after booking a flight to Spain with a company owned by BA’s parent company. That business reimbursed the passenger immediately, according to the Independent

The flight where check-in turned into cock-up … [The Independent]
Man Sues Airline After Landing in Grenada Rather Than Granada [NBC News]

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  1. webalias says:

    It sounds to me like this man’s case is proof of another old aphorism: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” His statement that “I have no legal background… but I know right from wrong” is not going to impress a judge, proving nothing except his naivete. He bought a ticket to Granada, and that’s where he went. He believes the fact that he never said a word about the Caribbean should have been taken note of by the person booking the trip. Good luck with that argument. The fact is, we have only his word that he stressed to someone at BA that he wanted to go to Spain. His situation is unfortunate, and the airline might have been more generous in offering to ease his pain. But his righteous indignation is clearly misplaced.

  2. SuperSpeedBump says:

    So this guy buys a ticket and never bothers to double-check the information before boarding the plane… take a wild guess as to why no lawyer wants to represent him.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      I guess you missed the part where they bought their tickets from “BA’s booking agents in Florida”, and “the electronic tickets referring only to ‘Grenada’ with no airport code, destination country of flight duration.”

      Sure, I would have demanded some more details for my money, but then, I was a cynical bastard before I started reading Consumerist.

  3. JustPassingBy says:

    If I were the judge I would rule in BA’s favor. He gets an electronic ticket, notices the city name is wrong, and then does nothing about it? And then does not notice a different city name on the departure screens and at the boarding gate? Doesn’t wash with me at all.