Lanzarote, Turkey - close enough?
Tourists' flight to wrong country
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Jul 21, 2008
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A family who were bound for a week's holiday in Lanzarote are back home after a check-in desk mix-up meant they caught a flight to Turkey instead.
Charles Coray, his wife Tania and their nine-year-old daughter Phoebe did not realise the mistake until they landed and a hostess said "welcome to Turkey".
They were issued the wrong boarding passes by a ground handling worker at Cardiff airport on Sunday morning.
The family have accepted First Choice's offer of a holiday to Ibiza instead.
The Corays, from Llanishen, Cardiff, had booked an all-inclusive holiday with First Choice in a five-star hotel in the Canary Islands and were supposed to be flying into Arrecife, Lanzarote.
But instead they found themselves in Bodrum airport, Turkey where they then had to pay a £10 visa charge per person before boarding a plane back to Cardiff.
Mr Coray said they had not realised their mistake because their boarding pass stated only Bodrum airport and not that it was in Turkey.
He also said there were no announcements in the departure lounge about the flight and that as soon as they boarded the plane they fell asleep.
"It was about 6.30 in the morning when we arrived at Cardiff airport and we were directed to the Servisair desk. We did not realise that more than one flight was being checked in there.
"We were half asleep and didn't realise that the girl on the desk had put us on the wrong plane.
"There weren't any announcements in the departure lounge at all. When we were called to the gate we gave them our boarding passes, got on the plane and fell asleep.
"It wasn't until the hostess said "welcome to Turkey" that the penny dropped."
The family then caught the same aircraft back to Cardiff, arriving at around 1645 BST on Sunday and were put up by their holiday company in a nearby hotel.
"First Choice tried to negotiate with us and wanted to send us to Luton in a taxi so we could get to Lanzarote yesterday," said Mr Coray.
"But we paid extra to fly from Cardiff. If we had flown from Luton it would have meant we would have had to have come back into Luton and we don't want to do this.
"Our parents went onto the internet last night and found several holidays going out from Cardiff - we could have booked one of these last night. But they told us there was nothing else available."
Mr Coray said they were not willing to holiday in Turkey and that his family were exhausted by their experience.
"My daughter is absolutely shattered. She saw her mum and me panicking when we realised what had happened and she was very upset by it. We're supposed to be having a nice time on our holiday," he said.
"We're now booked on a like-for-like holiday in Ibiza which leaves at six tonight [Monday]. My daughter has looked at the pictures in the brochure and is excited again.
"I'll make sure I check the boarding passes so we don't make that mistake again!"
A spokesman for handling agents Servisair apologised for the upset caused and said the passenger service agent who accepted them onto the wrong flight had been suspended from duty pending a hearing.
A spokeswoman for First Choice also apologised for the mistake and said the Coray family would be refunded in full for any additional expenses incurred.
"We are currently carrying out an investigation with Servisair to ensure this mistake will not happen again," she said.