Granny thought she was on flight to Spain - lands in Caribbean

By Luke Salkeld

Lamenda Kingdon thought her flight was a bit on the long side - but assumed that was down to the time differences. Photo / Thinkstock
Lamenda Kingdon thought her flight was a bit on the long side - but assumed that was down to the time differences. Photo / Thinkstock

As she sipped her gin and tonic at 30,000ft, Lamenda Kingdon chatted to a fellow passenger about how much she was looking forward to visiting Spain.

She was aghast when her neighbour replied: "Not on this plane, you won't".

It was then that the grandmother discovered that, rather than heading for the historic city of Granada, her flight was bound for the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Thanks to a misunderstanding, instead of booking the 62-year-old on a two-hour flight to southern Spain, the air miles travel firm Avios had put her on a ten-hour journey across the Atlantic.

Mrs Kingdon had planned her trip to Granada, with its famous Alhambra palace, as part of a bucket list of activities after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and a brain tumour.

She booked the flight over the phone using her late husband's air miles and did not notice when the ticket arrived that the destination was one letter different and some 4,000 miles away from the place she wanted to go to.

Mrs Kingdon, a former life coach from Plymouth, packed her bags and boarded her British Airways flight at Gatwick last month, oblivious to the mistake until two hours after take-off.

"After lunch and a gin and tonic I began to chatting to the lady sitting next to me, she said. I told her how much I was looking forward to seeing the Alhambra.

"She replied: "Not on this flight, you won't be."

"She then grabbed the elbow of a passing stewardess and told her: "This lady thinks she's going to Spain."

"I looked at the ticket and it did indeed say Grenada. I had noticed the departure and arrival times were vastly different but I presumed that had something to do with the time difference."

The sympathetic flight crew ushered Mrs Kingdon into the first-class cabin and gave her champagne. At a scheduled stop in St Lucia, she was put on a flight back to Gatwick. There she was met by apologetic airline staff who put her in a hotel for the night and arranged for Avios, which has links to BA, to reimburse her points and fly her to Malaga, the nearest major airport to Granada, the following day.

Avios also apologised for the mistake and gave Mrs Kingdon enough points for her next dream destination New Zealand. Since her return from Granada, Mrs Kingdon has been given the all clear by her cancer doctors and hopes to make the trip next year.

"Looking back on the Granada mix up, I genuinely don't blame anyone, she said yesterday. The person on the other end of the phone probably just misheard me.

"I honestly didn't notice the spelling difference.

"But I'm certainly not complaining. They treated me wonderfully once they found out what had happened."

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