When You Accidentally Book the Wrong Flight

People accidentally miss flights every day for various reasons, but how many people accidentally book the wrong flight? 

More than you think! There are some serious egg heads out there. My partner and I included.

This topic has come to mind because of our expensive experience…


So here is what happened:

My partner and I were lining up in Wellington about to board our plane back to Nelson. We made it to the front of the line and just as I placed my e-ticket on the scanner I saw a flashing red light and heard a dreaded “beep beep”.

“Can you please head over to the desk and see my colleague, I can’t scan you in” The ticket lady said.

At this stage I was thinking surely they will sort this out (I was on the Air NZ application on my iPhone so I guaranteed all I needed to do was print the tickets and all will be dandy).

Little to my surprise…

We had booked for the WRONG FRIGGIN DAY!

Oh dear… what noobs!!! How could this happen? Surely we are capable of getting the simplest of things right?!

We were advised to head over to ticketing at the Air NZ desk where they would sort us out. So, off we went very sheepishly, thinking this must be a joke and will soon be sorted.

I got to the desk and saw this kind of mean (but also kind of nice) looking French guy and explained that we had booked for the wrong day and needed to exchange our tickets for the next flight. He quite quickly told us the bad news. WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY $220 EACH TO GET HOME, on top of what we had already paid for the fares…

GEE WIZZ! That’s a bit of a rip… I could have happily stayed in Wellington for one more week until our scheduled flight but we kind of had to get back for work. We reluctantly paid the money and headed back to the boarding gate for round 2.

We made it back safe and sound and even managed to score the emergency row with extra leg room. I can say we both learnt a valuable lesson to ALWAYS CHECK YOUR BOOKING DATES!

In trying to make my partner and I feel better I gave this topic a Google. I found many tragic stories of people getting on the wrong flight, missing their flight all together and forgetting to book at all… I can only imagine how scary this must be in a foreign country! This quick google search re-assured me we weren’t as useless as we first thought.

Our experience wasn’t that bad and I do feel better about it as a write this.

Booking the wrong flight got me curious. How many of you have done this or something similar? Let me know your story in the comments so we can all feel better about our stupid mistakes.

The very embarrassed Lee X

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4 Comments

  1. Russell

    Can’t say I have, even though I have had a few trips abroad. It helps to be paranoid, like rechecking everything as a habit. Still, it only takes one omission, doesn’t it?

    Never mind, it was Wellington to Nelson, not London! I do wonder if you had a fair go though. I know a person who flew from NZ to the USA and missed his connecting flight because he decided to go to the toilet at the wrong moment. and suffered only a five- hour delay with no extra payment.

    So how is a missed flight different from a wrong booking? Both involve the cost of a ticket. Presumably, the airline managed to get you another flight without kicking any other passengers off the plane. The only reason then for charging you is that the return flight you mistakenly booked was full (that could be checked).

    I guess there are all sorts of reasons why they will say they made you pay, but in the end it comes down to customer relations. Tap on that nerve correctly and you may get at least a partial refund, or at least make them more aware.

    1. befreewithlee

      I’m glad you haven’t done this! I guarantee I will be 100% on to it from now on and double checking everything that’s for sure.

      I am so grateful that I wasn’t in another country I can only imagine what some people have to go through.

      Haha, that made me laugh I am extra glad I was not in that situation.

      You are right it is worth giving it a go! Because you don’t get anywhere without trying, right?

  2. Maaan, I was just thinking of you and this article today! I am sitting at Melbourne airport right now, waiting for the next flight to Sydney. Good, that I brought enough work and my laptop:

    Me (and quite some others – at least I wasn’t the only idiot) were to stupid to listen to or to look at the updates on the screen. Gate change. And of course: the now-wrong gate was boarding a flight from the same airline, to the same city and was delayed, so displayed departure on the exact same time than my real flight. Damn. When I get to the scanning of my ticket, they just tell me “you’re on the wrong flight, go see the service desk”- eehm what?? this must be a mistake.

    Yeah – it wasn’t a mistake. So at least they could book us all onto the next flight to Sydney today. Leaving in 2 hours from now.
    This late flight originally was quite a few $$ cheaper than the morning one, but I thought, ah, lets pay a little bit more and have the whole day in SYD. That’s worth it. Now I am on the late flight anyways and payed 50 bucks extra for a new ticket.

    😀 haha yeah well – what can you do! Lesson learned! This happens, when you are just toooo relaxed about flying; when you not even double check flight numbers and screen updates, sit there with headphones in and line up to board when the cue just starts to finish… So that you’re too late to run to the correct gate 😉

    cheers from Melbourne,
    wish me luck that I find the right gate later this day 😉

    1. befreewithlee

      Ahh Sara, no good! Thanks so much for sharing!! Really glad I am not the only silly duffer out there and that your flight didn’t cost you too much extra!!

      Crazy how easy it is to do things like that! The empty feeling in your stomach is so awful right :O

      There are just so many details to constantly be looking for and I feel like we can never just relax! If only we all had personal assistants haha.

      Hope you made it back and it was smooth sailing from there on xxx

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