This post was inspired after I read some time back about a couple who made a devastating discovery only when they reached the airport.
Richelle had made such a lovely gesture of booking a secret trip for boyfriend Ben. That we are told that for nearly a year, kept it hidden. Now that’s dedication to your life partner! But therein was the tragedy. She thought she made a booking from her home town of Birmingham, the midlands – ie the United Kingdom. However, in reality she booked a flight from Birmingham, Alabama – the United States! Where were they intent on going? Las Vegas!
How in the world can this happen is really a long story, and it sure led to a very tearful eureka moment at the airport.
For a year, Richelle had not noticed that the departure airport was in the US. And how can we blame her? How was she to know that, somewhere out there in the world are the same names for the city you grew up in – 14 times!
Yes, there are 15 Birminghams in the world and they are mostly in the US.
We should know (from a geography knowledge viewpoint), that many villages, towns and cities are named after the country from which the settlers or immigrants come from. So, it would not be a surprise that in the US there are many English sounding names for places. this applies elsewhere and to other countries too.
So, the learning is this : when you make any booking, check and double check it is really the place you are looking for. In fact, we recommend you use the international accepted convention of airport codes. Search it by location name and that give you a clue if more than one turns up.
It also works on all the booking apps and sites, where you specifiy the departure or arrival. Alternately, you can also search a list here.
This story should remind all that even planning well in advance is not immune to disaster. And if you are purchasing a ticket far ahead, make very sure you are certain about the refund options. In this case, even travel insurance is not likely to help.