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Man on wrong plane turns fashion model’s flight round

January 4, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

American model Chrissy Teigen and her husband John Legend boarded an international flight to Japan that turned back after four hours because a passenger had boarded the wrong plane – leaving people wondering how such blunders can happen in an automated age with multiple safeguards.

It turns out there’s a history of similar things – even a passenger boarding a flight to Auckland (New Zealand) because it sounded like Oakland (near San Francisco) where he was headed.

Teigen was one of more than 200 passengers on an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight that turned back to Los Angeles on Boxing Day (26 December 2017) because a one  passenger aboard was found to have boarded the wrong flight.

An ANA statement said: “As part of the airline’s security procedure, the pilot in command decided to return to the originating airport, where the passenger was disembarked.”

Chrissy Teigen

According to US news outlet ABC, the confused passenger was one of two brothers who had planned to fly to Japan. He had booked a flight with United but boarded the wrong plane at the wrong gate. The brothers had similar names and the other was booked on the ANA flight. There was obviously a screw-up somewhere along the line.

Teigen, of Thai and Norwegian descent, commands a Twitter following of more than nine million. She took the flight turnaround with her customary good humour but she had a few questions. Like why not just land in Tokyo and send the passenger back?

Why indeed?

Teigen – and the other passengers – finally reached their destination.

Passengers boarding the wrong plane – a major boo-boo for security reasons – is not common but it happens periodically. Last August, a passenger snoozing on an Air France flight to Denmark was surprised on landing to see the lettering at Copenhagen airport was Greek rather than Danish. It turned out the woman had landed in Athens, having boarded the wrong flight.

Last May, United Airlines apologised after an international passenger was allowed to board the wrong flight and fly almost 5000 kilometres in the wrong direction, arriving in San Francisco rather than Paris. Oops!

Chrissy Teigen’s witty tweet after ANA boarding blunder

Passengers who have experienced such mix-ups agree that few events produce such a sinking feeling as looking out the window during descent and realising you are about to land in the wrong city. The feeling is magnified if it’s also the wrong country, on the wrong continent. Will the future see people landing on the wrong planet?

Written by Peter Needham

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