Dutch student ends up in wrong Sydney: 5 other cases of people in destination mix-ups

A sign showing a plaque for the historical ghost town of Singapore, Michigan.
A sign showing a plaque for the historical ghost town of Singapore, Michigan. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/GLENN R. MORALES
An Air Canada plane taking off from London Heathrow Airport.
An Air Canada plane taking off from London Heathrow Airport.PHOTO: AFP

A Dutch student made the news recently after he found himself in the wrong Sydney.

He had packed for a sunny holiday in Sydney, Australia, but instead wound up in Sydney, Canada, with near-blizzard conditions.

Milan Schipper, 18, had booked the flight because the ticket was C$300 (S$315) cheaper than all the rest.

Not all destinations are equal, it seems.

Here are five other instances of people heading to the wrong place.

1. Ghanaian student went to Goiania instead of Guyana


The distance between Guyana and Goiana, Brazil. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

In 2015, a young Ghanaian wanted to go to Guyana, a South American country on the Caribbean coast, as he had received a scholarship to study medicine there.

However, Emmanuel Akomanyi ended up in Brazil's Goiania city instead. He had taken the wrong flight, thinking it was bound for Georgetown, Guyana.

As he had no money, he was supported by strangers in Brazil in the week that he spent there.

The airline that sold him the original ticket later helped him fly to Guyana's Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

2. Dentist ended up in Caribbean Grenada instead of Granada, Spain


The distance between Grenada and Granada, Spain. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

In 2014, a dentist found himself on the Caribbean island of Grenada instead of Granada, Spain, after an alleged mix-up by British Airways' American booking agents in Florida.

Mr Edward Gamson, who was there with a partner, had always wanted to see Granada's architecture.

After British Airways refused to reimburse their £2,650 first-class tickets, Mr Gamson sued the airline for US$34,000.

He lost the suit. British Airways had given the pair tickets with Grenada clearly written on them, but he said he did not notice the mistake.

3. Italian couple landed in wrong Sydney in 2010


The distance between Sydney, Australia and Sydney, Canada. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

In 2010, an Italian couple found themselves in Sydney, Canada, instead of Australia, due to a booking mix-up by their travel agent.

Mr Valerio Torresi, then 26, and Ms Serena Tavoloni, then 25, initially thought they were on a stopover when they arrived in Canada.

"The first reaction was fear," The Telegraph reported Mr Torresi as saying. "And the second reaction is, 'No, it's a joke.' But unfortunately it's true."

They made the best of it, trying lobster for the first time and exploring the place, which has a population of about 31,000.

A local hotel gave them free lodging after hearing about their plight.

4. British couple visited wrong Sydney in 2002


The distance between Sydney, Australia and Sydney, Canada. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

It's the wrong Sydney again.

In 2002, a young English couple found themselves in chilly Sydney, Canada, instead of sunny Australia.

Ms Emma Nunn and Mr Raoul Christian had bought their tickets from an online travel agent.

They flew six hours from London's Heathrow Airport and landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

They assumed they were "going the long way" and waited for another plane to take them to Sydney, but instead they took a small plane to the north-eastern coast of Canada.

They too made the best of it and tried the local lobster.

Airport officials then told the BBC that they had at times received luggage bound for Sydney, Australia.

5. Student wound up in Auckland, New Zealand, instead of Oakland, California


The distance between Auckland, New Zealand and Oakland, California. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

In 1985, American student Michael Lewis was flying home from a vacation in Europe on an Air New Zealand flight from London to Auckland.

He should have gotten off in Los Angeles and taken another plane to Oakland, California.

However, he mistakenly followed Auckland-bound passengers and reboarded the plane with them.

An Air New Zealand spokesman said airplane personnel asked Mr Lewis twice if he was going to Auckland, and he said yes both times.

Mr Lewis later explained that it was a matter of accent that caused the mix-up.

He was flown home from Auckland to Oakland the next day at no charge.

Did you know...


Singapore is one of Michigan's most famous ghost towns. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Other than the Little Red Dot that we know as Singapore, there are two others on the map.

The more well-known of the two is a ghost town in the United States.

Singapore, Michigan, reportedly supported 150 people in the mid-1800s.

However, deforestation caused a sand shift that eventually buried the town.


The distance between Singapore and Singapore, Michigan. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

Another Singapore is in South Africa. The settlement is located in the northern province of Limpopo.

It is unlikely, though, that one would fly to the wrong Singapore.

SOURCES: ABC News, BBC, CBC News, CNN, Los Angeles Times, The Independent, The Telegraph