Wrong flight couple sent 1,500 miles to Lithuania

Andrew and Victoria at home in Mountain Ash
Image caption,

Andrew and Victoria Gore have called it a "nightmare"

  • Published

A couple were placed on the wrong flight for their family holiday in the sun, and instead ended up 1,500 miles away from their intended destination.

The trip to the Costa Brava was for Andrew Gore's 47th birthday, but while the rest of the party arrived in Barcelona airport, Andrew and wife Victoria found themselves in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas.

After discovering they had been put on the wrong Ryanair plane, the couple from Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, said they were left feeling "distraught".

Bristol Airport said it was working to investigate what happened and make improvements, while Ryanair said that crews make several announcements before departure informing passengers of the flight destination.

The couple had been ushered to the boarding gates at the airport and reassured the rest of their party was on board.

"We were told they were definitely on the flight and they said 'just relax', so we had a sleep as we'd been up early," Mr Gore said.

"When I woke up, it didn't look like Spain out the window, I turned my phone on and it said 'Welcome to Lithuania'."

The couple have described it as a "nightmare" which started when they arrived at Bristol Airport on Saturday 25 May in good time for their 08:15 BST flight to Barcelona.

They always use special assistance at airports because Andrew is an amputee and Victoria is autistic.

"Our flight number came up at the gate, and we were taken to the bottom of the plane steps, where the ground staff checked our boarding passes," Mr Gore said.

"When we got on the plane, the stewardess checked our passes again."

There was no indication that anything could be wrong until they touched down in the eastern European Baltic country.

At first they thought it was a wind-up.

Image source, Family Photo
Image caption,

Andrew and Victoria Gore after arriving in The Costa Brava, later than planned

After disembarking and alerting Ryanair officials to the fact they were in the wrong country, they were booked on to the next available flight to Barcelona.

However, it was the next morning and from Riga - the capital of neighbouring country Latvia.

The airline booked the couple overnight accommodation and a 150 mile (241km) Uber ride to the airport.

After landing in Barcelona, they finally made it to their hotel on the Costa Brava.

But as they did not board the original flight from Bristol, their bags did not make it until two days later.

"It was surreal, and an experience I never want to have ever again, our family were worried sick and we were exhausted when we did eventually arrive," Mr Gore said.

"Even though they took us to the right place eventually, the experience had already happened, the damage had been done, and we can't forget those worrying moments."

Image caption,

Andrew lost one of his legs in an accident 11 years ago

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “These passengers booked special assistance for this flight from Bristol to Barcelona, but Bristol Airport’s special assistance provider boarded them onto the wrong flight to Kaunas despite gate signage clearly displaying the flight’s destination.

"Before departing, crew make several announcements advising passengers of the flights destination.

"We sincerely apologise to these passengers for any inconvenience caused as a result of Bristol Airport’s special assistance provider’s error."

A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said: “We’ve worked with our business partners to investigate this incident. All customers have their travel documentation checked by the airline or their ground handling agent before boarding an aircraft.

"Since being informed of the issue, Bristol Airport has worked with our airline handling agent and special assistance provider to investigate the circumstances and to introduce improvements for the future.

“We will contact the customer with information to direct their complaint to the correct business partner for resolution.”