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Do You Know The Way to San...Juan?

February 12, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox


Several Europe news sites are sharing the horrifyingly funny story of an English tourist whose travel agent sent her to San Juan, Puerto Rico instead of San José, Costa Rica. The agent, in the Bristol branch of Thomas Cook, apparently entered the wrong airport code when booking, sending her to SJU instead of SJO. Samantha Lazzaris had to wait until the next day to contact a Thomas Cook representative, by which time she had already spent a night in a Miami airport. She blames the agent for the error, but does acknowledge that the company has reimbursed her. According to an interview she gave in the Bristol Times, Ms. Lazzaris said, “I was told I signed the terms and conditions of the legally binding contract for the itinerary and therefore was accepting them.”

The BBC reports on several similar mistakes that agents have made with similarly named airports in different countries…even different continents…or hemispheres (Sydney, Nova Scotia instead of Sydney, Australia). Personally, as a child I had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. When we arrived at the airport, my parents noticed that our tickets would indeed get us to Rochester… the one in New York.

In that situation, our agent went above and beyond to fix the problem and get us to Minnesota in time. She drove to our house with our new tickets, and we were on the correct flight later that day. As far as I know, she never once pointed out that we could have read our tickets and noticed that they were for the wrong state—although she would have been absolutely within her rights to do so.

So what do you do when you send your client to the wrong destination? How much responsibility do you both have to make certain they get to the right place? Share your stories and thoughts below…  



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