Two US holidaymakers found themselves a long way from their intended destination after an airline confused two airport codes.
Sandy Valdiviseo and her husband Triet Vo were intending to fly from Los Angeles to Dakar in Senegal with Turkish Airlines. However, instead they ended up about 11,000km away – on an entirely different continent – in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, after the airport codes were mixed up, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The airport code for Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is DKR, while the code for the airport in Dhaka, which is the capital of Bangladesh, is DAC.
After arriving in Istanbul, the couple had boarded a connecting flight. It was only after seeing the route map of the flight’s progress, which showed the plane over the Middle East, that they realised the error.
“When the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced ‘Dakar’ with a Turkish accent,” Ms Valdivieso said.
When they arrived in Bangladesh, the pair informed Turkish Airlines about the mistake, and tried to arrange a transfer to Senegal.
According to reports, the airline insisted on tracking down the recording of the initial booking before acknowledging the error and installing the couple on flights to West Africa, 12 hours after their arrival in Bangladesh. Their baggage arrived in Senegal two days after they did.
The incident happened in December last year, but has only just been reported after the couple’s long battle to obtain compensation.
“I have called them [Turkish Airlines] every Friday for the past four months,” said Ms Valdivieso. “They told me each time that they will review my case and get back to me. But they never do.”
“We are very, very sorry that this happened,” a Turkish Airlines spokeswoman said. The couple have since been offered two free economy-class tickets to anywhere on the airline’s flight network.