Dutch student ends up in wrong Sydney with cheaper air ticket

TORONTO • A Dutch student looking forward to a sunny holiday in Sydney, Australia, ended up instead in freezing-cold Sydney, Canada.

Mr Milan Schipper, 18, bought his flight because the ticket was C$300 (S$315) cheaper than all the other tickets, he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on Thursday.

"So I thought, 'Well, let's book that one,'" he told the broadcaster.

The teen was planning on spending some time in Australia before starting college - backpacking along the lush coastal landscapes, and maybe working a little.

But instead of heading straight to the beach, as he had planned, he found himself in near-blizzard conditions.

Airline employees helped him book a return ticket home to Amsterdam.

Mr Schipper told CBC he knew something was amiss when he had a layover in Toronto, and his connecting flight was in a small Air Canada plane.

"The plane was really small and so I figured, would that make it to Australia?"

He boarded it anyway. Then he saw the map on the screen on the seat in front of him. "I saw the flight plan was going to go right, not left. It was about the time that I realised there was another Sydney," he told the broadcaster.

"I felt terrible. I think I (swore) in my head for like 10 minutes. But there was nothing I could do about it because I was already up in the air."

He landed in snow-covered Sydney, Nova Scotia, with a blizzard on the horizon, sporting nothing but a T-shirt, sweatpants and a thin jacket, said CBC.

"I was not dressed for the occasion," he said.

Mr Schipper ruled out heading straight to Australia - which would have cost him another US$1,600 (S$2,230) and more than 30 hours of travel. Instead, he found some airport employees and explained the situation.

They booked a flight straight back to Toronto, and from there, home, where his very amused father picked him up at the airport.

"He felt really sorry for me, but he thought... only I could do such a thing," Mr Schipper said. "He also laughed an awful lot - just like everyone else."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 02, 2017, with the headline 'Dutch student ends up in wrong Sydney with cheaper air ticket'. Print Edition | Subscribe