“Thousands of Passengers End Up At The Wrong Airport Every Year,” reports Blake Fleetwood in the Huffington Post.

What with increased airport security in recent years, you might think it would be impossible for a passenger to accidentally get on the wrong airplane. But it happens all the time.

In 2007, when uber real estate impresario Barbara Corcoran finished her speech early in Washington last week, according to her blog, she headed to the airport to hop onto an earlier USAir flight home to LaGuardia airport in New York City.

When her flight was called, she gave her boarding pass to the gate agent who ran it though a machine, and Ms. Corcoran got on the plane. But another woman was sitting in her seat. Barbara showed the woman her boarding pass with the same seat number on it, but figured, what the hell, and sat down in an empty seat.

As they got to the runway, the plane stopped and they were told that there was an issue with the number of passengers.

The plane took off one hour late. But strangely, the displays kept showing the weather in Syracuse, New York.

When the flight landed she looked around for her town car and called the company to complain. The woman on the other end said, “It’s right there; he’s been waiting for a while.”

Barbara felt like she was being treated like a senile old lady and became increasingly frustrated. Eventually, according to her blog, she let rip and decided to take a cab instead.

But when she checked her purse, she found that she had only $20 when the fare would be over $30 to East 92nd Street (The super rich are like that. They never carry any money. Corcoran is reported to have earned over $70 million when she sold her company.).

She asked a “grizzled” cabby if he would take $20 while she went upstairs and got the rest from her husband.

“No way, lady, you have to pay upfront with your credit card.

“This is going to cost you big time and I’m going to have to charge you $375.”

Barbara freaked. “You are trying to rip me off? Where am I? This isn’t LaGuardia?”

“No lady. This is Syracuse.”

Everything clicked into place – the weather reports, the long flight delay. The airline booked her on a flight back to New York 202 miles away for free. Corcoran called USAir to try and figure out how this would happen in a post 9-11 world, but never got an answer.

Be sure, no one else, including any airline, is going to watch out for you.

Take the case of Mike Lewis, who was traveling from Los Angeles to Oakland, California, a mere hour away, a few years ago. Lewis, then 21, heard a gate agent announce the immediate boarding for the flight to Oakland. He hurriedly got on the plane, but started to get suspicious about two hours into the flight. There was only water all around and no land underneath, and he should have arrived an hour before. Turns out the gate agent was from New Zealand where they pronounce Auckland much like Oakland and he was now on a nine hour flight across the South Pacific. The airline gave him a free ride back.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

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