Why passengers keep boarding the wrong flight by accident – and how it could easily happen to you too

A number of travelers have been on the wrong plane lately – and flew to a completely different country than planned.

However, it is easy to do and it could happen to you.

Check your gate before boarding - otherwise you could end up in the wrong country


Check your gate before boarding – otherwise you could end up in the wrong countryCredit: Alamy

Last November, a US woman was scheduled to fly Frontier from Pennsylvania to Florida, only to land in Jamaica when the gate changed after using a restroom.

A Brit almost flew from Turkey to Gatwick rather than Birmingham after boarding the wrong easyJet plane.

And one granny ended up in Poland rather than Slovenia after a boarding error at Wizz Air.

Although it may seem obvious when boarding a flight, the problem is becoming more common due to the increased number of departing flights.

Passengers can pass through security with their passport and boarding pass, but it’s up to them to find the right gate.

Crew will also usually check passports both at the gate and upon boarding – however this can sometimes be circumvented resulting in being on the wrong flight.

If it’s a full flight, your error is more likely to be caught before departure. However, if the plane is half-empty, you can take off before realizing the error.

Some airlines are taking liability – both Wizz Air and Frontier apologized to their passport and offered compensation when it happened.

However, airlines like Ryanair say it’s up to the passenger to find the right plane.

A spokesman previously said: “It is the responsibility of each passenger to ensure they board the correct aircraft.”

This is not always so easy as some airlines offer multiple flights to the same destination in one day.

A couple from Manchester only realized they were on the wrong flight to Alicante because their seats were full – with two flights departing at the same time.

To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, here are some ways you can make sure you land on the right destination.

  • Double check your gate flight number before boarding the aircraft
  • Ask the crew at the counter for the destination you are going to
  • Check with the flight attendants upon boarding
  • Report to the crew if someone claims to be sitting in your seat

Here are some more big airport mistakes you could be making.

Some airlines take responsibility, others say it's up to the passenger


Some airlines take responsibility, others say it’s up to the passengerCredit: Alamy

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing russellfalcon@ustimespost.com.

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