It happens more frequently than one realises.
CBC reports that Milan Schipper of the Netherlands booked a ticket to YQY (Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada) and not SYD (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia). The ticket price was apparently $CAN300 cheaper than any other fare Mr Schipper had seen for tickets from Amsterdam to Sydney. And no wonder! It is about 10,000km (6,500 miles) closer.
He boarded a plane in Amsterdam and flew to Toronto, Canada. From there he changed to a small plane for the flight “down under“. That is when he realised his mistake. This was confirmed when he landed in the middle of a snowstorm in Canada (although to be fair, Eastern Australia has been hit with extreme weather last week following a cyclone in the north of the country).
When booking, check before you hit the confirmation button:
- Destination-Ryanair and other budget airlines are notorious for taking passengers to smaller regional airports that are actually huge distances from the city you want to go to. You may save money but find you spend extra hours in travel to and from the airport
- Departure time
- Arrival time -no use saving $20 on an airfare if you have to spend more on that on transit at the other end because your options are limited
- Duration -I have had people discover their 10-hour journey becomes 30 hours because of transit time in an obscure airport. If you are happy to do this to save $100, go for it
- Name on ticket – sometimes I have seen people fly with the most outrageous mistakes in their names and other times people have been grounded because of an extra letter in their family name. Don’t risk it.
- Credit Card– some airlines require a passenger to present the credit card that was used to pay for the ticket. If not presented, they will deny boarding. If you are using your spouse’s card or your card is close to expiry, you could find yourself denied boarding
- Amount- some airlines and travel websites build in insurance, extra fees, special service fees for services you were not expecting and do not really need.
As for M Schipper? He spent five hours in Sydney, Canada before heading back to the airport and booking a flight home. Arriving home his dad collected a wiser and poorer student. I am a little sad that he didn’t think to hop a bus to Halifax, Nova Scotia. From there he could have hopped on Via Rail’s The Ocean train or Maritime Bus to Montreal. From there he could have bussed or trained to Quebec city or Ontario. He was already in Canada, he could have made the most of it!