Blog post by Michele Simon

Last month I read an article online about British Airways (BA) being sued for sending a passenger to Grenada in the Caribbean instead of Granada, Spain.  Honestly, my first thought was how could he have not checked his ticket?  Did he not review his itinerary and see they had the wrong city listed?  Then I took a step back and said, ok, maybe he doesn’t know the airport codes and that the two cities are only one letter different in how they are spelled.  But then another thought occurred…did he not read the destination posted at his departure gate before he loaded the plane?  When reading follow-up articles the passenger indicated he provided the agent with the airport codes but only received a ticket with the name Grenada on it but didn’t notice the misspelling.

I can completely understand being mad and frustrated with the situation; but as a traveler, and in general a consumer, do you not bear some responsibility in verifying what you have purchased?  The itinerary is provided (usually by email) once you have completed your reservation and includes the City, State or Country, Airport Code and dates of travel and flight times.   I always review my itinerary several times to make sure I am going where I am supposed to.  Maybe I am in the minority or a little paranoid when I travel.  But with the airlines making route changes constantly I am always verifying my origination, destination and dates have not changed.

Now for BA’s part there is definitely some training issues at their call center, especially if the return trip was truly booked from Lisbon, Spain.  Did the agent not notice the traveler might have an issue getting back to Spain from the Caribbean for his flight back to the US?  While I have personally not called BA for any assistance, other carriers I have had the opportunity to speak with have repeatedly confirmed the itinerary before finalizing the reservation.  The worst part in all of this is BA’s customer service leaving much to be desired.  What would have been easier - quietly refunding the ticket and getting this man where he needed to be, or declining and suffering the bad press and ensuing lawsuit? 

Obviously both parties share fault here and sadly this seems to be a recurring issue with a woman only a week before having the same problem.  This is a good lesson for all travelers:  check your flight details…… you never know where you might end up.

Let us know if you’ve ever had an experience like this.