People Keep Boarding the Wrong Flights and We’re Not Sure Why

Even with all those security lines and boarding pass checks, it just keeps happening.

Viktor Konya/Shutterstock
Viktor Konya/Shutterstock
Viktor Konya/Shutterstock

Somehow, despite the Orwellian airport check-in process, people are still ending up on the wrong flights. And I’m not talking about a little Denver instead of Boulder domestic flight switcheroo. People are ending up in the wrong countries without passports! And while sometimes it’s a traveler’s error, I can’t help but wonder how airlines have a system in place where this can happen on a semi-regular basis.

Most recently, this happened to Beverly Ellis-Hebard, a New Jersey woman planning to fly from Philadelphia to Jacksonville, Florida via Frontier Airlines. Except she soon discovered that she was on a flight headed towards Jamaica. And Ellis-Hebard did not have a passport, so she had to stay in the jetway between the plane and airport until she could board a flight back to the US once she landed, according to ABC News 7.

“I fly once every six weeks. I picked Frontier flights because we flew so often,” Ellis-Hebard explained to the outlet. She owns a second home in Jacksonville, Florida and considers herself a seasoned traveler. So this switch up was not due to any sort of new-traveling-jitters. About 20 minutes before boarding she asked the gate agent if she had time to run to the restroom and was told that she did. Upon returning from the restroom, she saw that her plane was already boarding and rushed to get on her flight.

During the rush, she cut her hand on her luggage when she was asked to determine whether or not it was too big for a carry-on. It wasn’t. “I put it in and when I went to take it out my arm right here got all scraped up. I was bleeding,” she explained.

Once she was sitting in her seat and settled, she sought out a flight attendant for assistance with her cut. It was at this point that Ellis-Hebard realized the gate for her own flight had changed, and she was headed towards Jamaica without a passport.

She eventually made it back to the US, with a $600 flight voucher and her ticket refunded from Frontier. The airline also issued an apology in a statement shared with¬†ABC News 7. But Ellis-Hebard is not the only passenger who’s experienced such an issue. Somewhat famously, model and author Chrissy Teigen was on a flight from LAX to Tokyo when it was turned around midflight, because another¬†passenger aboard was on the wrong flight. This isn’t an issue unique to American airlines, either. Earlier this year, a passenger flying with IndiGo was put on an airport shuttle towards his flight to Patna. Except, instead, he landed in Udaipur, which is in an entirely different region of India.Way back in 2017, it was reported that thousands of people actually board the wrong flight every single year, which is likely happening again now that travel has picked up after the first three years of the pandemic.

It is also a situation that has been immortalized in film, like in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In many of these scenarios, it seems like a combination of overworked employees, a high volume of travelers, and poor system management from airlines and airports from the top down. You’d think with all of the information required from passengers before flying these days (I feel like we’re only a year away from TSA asking for DNA samples at security checkpoints), there’d be a little less mix up of information on their end.

Just make sure you quadruple check you are boarding the right flight next time, and ask again before officially stepping into your plane.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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