A Thomas Cook travel agent booked a client on a trip to San Jose, Puerto Rico instead of Costa Rica, where the client requested to go. From the UK Telegraph:
Samantha Lazzaris booked a trip of a lifetime to Central America but ended up in the US territory 1,300 miles away instead. Miss Lazzaris, 33, from Bristol, did not realise she was in Puerto Rico until she landed on the island last month and boarded a taxi, and the driver told her she was in the wrong country.
The holistic therapist said: “I asked the taxi driver to take me to this hotel I’d pre-booked, he looked in amazement, speechless, then laughed and said, ‘This is not Costa Rica. It’s Puerto Rico’.
“I didn’t believe him. I was in shock. I looked around the airport, saw posters of Puerto Rico everywhere, and thought: What am I going to do? Where is Puerto Rico? Where am I?”
Miss Lazzaris had to fork out £800 on three extra flights – losing four days of her holiday – to get to her intended destination. It transpired travel agent Thomas Cook had used the booking code for San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico, instead of San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, when Ms Lazzaris bought the £500 return ticket last November.
Thomas Cook confirmed later it had apologised to Miss Lazzaris and will refund her for the additional flights incurred, two nights missed accommodation and a further undisclosed amount as a gesture of goodwill.
Apparently, the airplane codes for both San Joses are just one letter apart. It’s a human mistake that turned out to reflect quite badly on Thomas Cook. The best thing they could do now, for PR’s sake, is compensate the victim handsomely, then hire her as a spokesperson for a humorous marketing campaign.