An American woman accidentally boarded the wrong plane at the airport. Instead of going home, we headed towards the Caribbean.
If you get on the wrong train or miss a stop, it's often annoying and time-consuming – but you can usually change trains quickly at the next stop. But what if that happens while flying? As unlikely as it is to accidentally get on the wrong plane, it can still happen, as an American woman experienced firsthand last year.
Gate change at the last minute: Woman accidentally gets on the wrong plane
Actually, Beverly Ellis-Hebard flies back and forth every six weeks between her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and her second home in Florida. So she is not a newcomer when it comes to flying and also this route. "I chose Frontier Airlines because I've flown it so many times," the woman recently told ABC7.
Passengers queue at the check-in counter. © YAY Images/Imago
Last fall, however, there was a big faux pas: She had already arrived at the right gate for her flight to Florida when she had to go to the bathroom again shortly before boarding. She asked an airport agent if she had enough time left: "She said 'yes'. About 20 minutes." When she returned, she noticed that the other passengers had almost completely boarded the plane and the staff wanted to close the aircraft door. The gate clerk told her that she had to hurry up and waved her through after a quick glance at her boarding pass.
On the plane, she quickly noticed the mistake: A flight attendant told her that she could rest well after landing – in Jamaica. "I laughed. I told her that I would like to fly there, but I already had a beach where I lived," says Ellis-Hebard. But the flight attendant insisted that the flight would go to Jamaica. "The look on her face made me realize she wasn't kidding." At this point, it was already too late to get out. As she learned, the gate for her actual flight was changed at the last second – while she was in the toilet.
You don't want to miss any more news and tips about holidays and travel?
Then sign up for the regular travel newsletter from our partner Merkur.de.
Going abroad without a passport: Airline apologizes to passenger
In theory, some people would be happy if they suddenly went to the sunny Caribbean. If such a mistake has to happen, then it should finally go somewhere where it is wonderful to endure on the beach. For Ellis-Hebard, however, it poses a problem: Since she had actually only planned a domestic flight, she did not have her passport with her. "You enter a foreign country without a passport. That's bad," she said.
"One of the ugliest cities": German attractions get their fat off from foreign tourists
Did you know? That's why you shouldn't reprimand children who kick your airplane seat
Tour operator broke: How to get money back?
18 hours late and too little space: Police must protect airline employees from angry passengers
Ten must-see waterfalls in Germany – it's going to be magical
Fancy a voyage of discovery?
Eventually, the authorities in Jamaica allowed her to stay in the passenger boarding bridge, which is considered to be U.S. soil. The crew stayed with Ellis-Hebard until they were able to board the next flight to Philadelphia, which took off a few hours later. Frontier Airlines offered the woman a $600 voucher as compensation and refunded her for the original ticket. "That should never have happened," she says. "The woman at the gate didn't do her job."
The airline itself apologizes for the mess: "We sincerely regret that the customer was able to take the wrong flight," it said in a statement to the British news portal Independent. "We sent her a refund and compensation and discussed the matter with the airport staff."