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Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Hubby generally does a great job taking care of travel arrangements. But over the course of a seven month trip, which included flights that literally circumnavigated the globe, something was bound to happen. (Actually more than one mistake happened, but this one’s the mother!)

We were going to be in Costa Rica for two months, as I was studying sustainable agriculture at Earth University (link), and during that time Hubby needed to fly back to Massachusetts twice for work. Since Costa Rica is one of the many countries that require exit flights to enter the country, we made sure we had our flights to Nairobi in hand before we flew into San Jose.

The two months came and went, as did Hubby. No issues.

And then came the day we were to travel to Africa.

The first sign of a problem was at the Delta counter. The attendants were sorting passengers by connecting flights, either to Los Angeles or Atlanta. Pause. Hubby had that deer in the headlights look. Ours was to Seattle.

So up to the counter we went, tickets in hand, to show the Delta crew our flight information. Flight to Seattle. On to Nairobi.

The attendant carefully looked at the tickets and pointed out the information that every customs official had missed, several times. Our flights were out of San Jose, California, NOT Costa Rica.


We were stuck at the airport, with expensive plane tickets that we couldn’t use, and without a flight to Nairobi.

Boy, it was a thing. Our cell phone plan didn’t cover calls, so we used the airport Wi-Fi to FaceTime Hubby’s sister in Atlanta. Four hours later Delta issued us new tickets! We hurried downstairs to the Delta counter to hopefully catch the flight that afternoon.

Or not. Apparently since we purchased the flights through Orbitz there wasn’t anything Delta could do. And we missed the flight.

So we started over again by calling Orbitz on their international help line. Two hours later we were told that since the tickets were with Delta they couldn’t help either.

The recommendation? Purchase new tickets, at full price, for the flight the next day. Ouch.

There is some good news to end the story. Delta issued a partial refund for the original ticket, and after a long email exchange with Orbitz we were issued a $300 travel voucher.

Moral of the story? Triple check the international airport code!

What about you? What airline horror stories do you have? Leave them in the comments below!

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