Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Turkish Airlines passengers book flights to Dakar, end up in Dhaka


A nice photo of Dakar, not Dhaka [Source: sxc.hu]
A nice photo of Dakar, not Dhaka [Source: sxc.hu]
Picture this. A married couple book an exotic getaway from Los Angeles to Dakar, where they planned to meet an old friend and visit a new country.

It's a nice enough story, although perhaps not eventful-enough to cover on this blog, right?

Well, here’s the twist. The married couple – Sandy Valdivieso and Triet Vo – didn’t land in Dakar. Not at first, anyway. Instead, they landed in Dhaka, which might sound a bit like Dakar, but its located in Bangladesh… around 7,000 miles from their intended destination in Senegal.

This little twist has turned a routine story into something that is being covered by media powerhouses throughout the world. And the airline, Turkish Airlines, is dealing with the fallout.

According to media reports, the mishap was down to incorrect airport codes being entered into the system – in other words, DAC (the airport code for Dhaka) was used instead of DKR (Dakar’s airport code).

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That’s a pretty bad mistake, although I’m wondering how the couple didn’t notice a little earlier, like when they were transiting at Istanbul airport, the hub of Turkish Airlines.

"I guess we were just going by the flight number on our tickets, and that DAC was printed on them," Sandy Valdivieso told the Los Angeles Times. "You just assume everything is correct."

How about when announcements were made on the aircraft before take-off? Nope, not even then, because they thought ‘Dhaka’ was the way Turkish people pronounced ‘Dakar’.

So they weren’t suspicious until after the aircraft departed and they had a little snooze. By that stage, of course, it was too late. Once they arrived in Bangladesh, Turkish Airlines agreed to fly them back to Istanbul and onto Dakar without any charge.

However, according to the LA Times, first the airline wanted to “track down and hear the recording of Valdivieso booking a trip to Senegal before they could acknowledge that the wrong airport code had been put on their tickets”.

Following all this media coverage, the couple have been offered free economy class tickets to any Turkish Airlines destination.

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I'm interested to hear where everyone sides? Should the passengers be compensated or were they at fault? Let me know by leaving a comment here or you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

27 comments :

  1. Juditha-Jade ParkinsonMay 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    At first, when I read the title, I thought this was a joke. :-)

    Seems everyone has his share of "mistakes" here but especially the couple. When doubt exists, there is always the Reception Counter for information. And besides, I've travelled already many times with the Turkish Airlines... the cabin crew speak English very well. Hence, Dakar (capital of Senegal) is definitely not pronounced as Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh). But anyway, it's common knowledge that some people don't even the name of the State that borders the State where they live in. :))

    Let's say... maybe the couple doesn't even know that a city named Dhaka exist! LMAO

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  2. Their baggage arrived in Dakar?

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    Replies
    1. I believe the baggage went to Dhaka too but was transported to Dakar two days later...

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  3. Wow, did this really happen?

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  4. Unbelievable... When I worked as a resa+tktng agt in the past (1993-1994), when pnr was ready, I repeated all the flight data with date, time, airline name, city name with country name (and in case of bigger countries with several states like US, CA, AU, BR even with the state names). Even before tkt iss!!! This is the basic of proper air pax svc thus avoiding inconveniences for the pax due to "tkt iss err"...

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    Replies
    1. And when later on I taught res, fq and tktng, if someone made such an err in the exam this meant complete non-acceptance ie. resulted in 0 point for that specific exercise regardless of the correctness of other parts of that specific example e.g. recalc.in case of tkt xchng.... Eg.such typical example is mixing YTO & TYO...

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    2. Totally correct, it's the agent's fault, which goes up to the airline!

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  5. One has to wonder how, and why, neither the boarding staff, nor the cabin crew, picked up on the incorrect city code.

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  6. I remember, some 6 years ago... I booked MEL (Melbourne) instead of MIL (Milan) for a passenger. But when I handed over the itinerary, he immediately noticed. :)

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    Replies
    1. Juditha-Jade ParkinsonMay 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      That only goes to show that he's a wise passenger and does not expect you nor the others to do everything for him. He checked himself his itinerary.

      I just have so much doubt about the couple in the blog... there are so many TV screens in the airport. Normally, passengers have to check their flights from there over and over again (maybe a change of Gate n°, delays, etc...) then inside the plane, they heard Dhaka and not Dakar (personally, that would make me jump on my feet and I will definitely talk to a stewardess for clarification).

      Maybe laziness or plain ignorance (no knowledge of Geography).

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    2. Exactly... errors happen, sometimes by system and sometime by humans. It's an equal responsibility of passenger to verify the details.

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    3. Should the couple know the 3-letter IATA code then? Well, I don't think so... You know how things are organised for Americans, they are not supposed even to spell out ëxotic" names, like ours!

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  7. Wouldn't the couple have needed a visa for their destination, and thus wouldn't they have been lacking the one for the wrong one?

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    Replies
    1. A good point, although it could be visa on arrival for US passports.

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  8. Why is this a problem?

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    Replies
    1. Syed Atique HyderMay 25, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      Richard - Dakar & Dhaka are 2 different places.

      I remember similar case in 1980 in Abu Dhabi. When BA had schedule flights between Australian points and UK via AUH. A family of 5 that arrived from SYD was by mistake boarded on another BA flight to SYD instead of a family that arrived from India to join this flight. When this family from SYD was to take transfer to some a different destination.

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    2. Senegal vs Bangladesh.

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    3. Hey Syed, I know they're not the same place, I asked why this was a problem. No sense of humor.

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    4. Syed Atique HyderMay 27, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Richard, I got it.

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  9. That is a good one...but i would like to know how that happened, especially if final checks are done on passengers boarding Pass at the Boarding Gate, prior to pax entering the aircraft...

    Another question: Was boarding done electronically or manually?? If it is manual, then mistakes can be made, but again, the gate staff are meant to check the boarding passes of all passengers...

    Third..at the end of boarding was a reconcilaition done to ensure that all pax are accounted for??? Surely, they must have had more boarding passes than was checked in and also an additional pap on board..except there was a No Show at the Gate...

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  10. Joyce Raymond GoldMay 26, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Whose mistake is it? Was it the Turkish Airline or the passengers that booked it?

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  11. Normal procedure is to reconfirm flight plan input information before activate INS。Right? Failure of routine procedure??

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  12. Ryanair had the same issue with a couple who thought they were going to Rhodes and ended up in Rodez.

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  13. Chris Parsons MCMIMay 27, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    If it was Ryanair then they might have ended up in Dhaka instead of Dakar!

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  14. Diego CastellaniMay 27, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Hahaha, DKR and DAC :-) It happens also to send passengers to LYS instead of LIS..

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  15. Jonathan McKinnonMay 29, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Next time they will look at their baggage receipt and look at the destination printed on the connections before walking away from the check-in counter. If I was them, I would be ashamed for being so stupid. Anyway, after living in Dhaka for one year, the best place to be is the airport . . . . what a great story they will have for the rest of their lives to tell at cocktail hour.

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  16. I've heard of Venizia and Vencinzo mistakes in Italy.

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