Sounds impossible to buy a ticket to the wrong destination, right? You’d never mistake York, England for New York State. But would you notice an airline issuing a plane ticket for Grenada instead of Granada, like British Airways did last month? Or the 1,500 mile difference between airline codes SJO and SJU? Believe it or not, these things do happen. Here, 9 commonly confused cities that should make you check your boarding card.
Grenada and Granada: Grenada, Granada; potato, potatah… Or not. Grenada is the Caribbean “island of spice” located off the coast of Venezuela. Granada is Spain’s premier ski resort on the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Unfortunately for said American couple, a few days of Spanish history turned into a few days on an island.
Salvador, Portugal; El Salvador; and San Salvador, Bahamas: Salvador is a pristine coastal town in northeastern Brazil. El Salvador, on the other hand, is a Central American country that attracts surfers from around the world. Taking this Salvador conundrum even further, San Salvador is supposedly the Caribbean island on which Columbus landed in 1492. Here’s another recent real-life mix-up that occurred during the World Cup.
San Jose, California and San Jose, Costa Rica: One is a tech hub, the other a tropical paradise. Needless to say, a quick way to spoil a vacation is by finding yourself in Silicon Valley rather than a tropical paradise. Though we probably wouldn’t complain if our business trip sends us into lush rain forests and vibrant beaches…even if our colleagues don’t make it there. Double check your itinerary before booking a flight to either San Jose.
San Jose, Costa Rica and San Juan, Puerto Rico: Yes, San Jose, again. But how could anyone mix up San Jose and San Juan, you ask? This mix-up here lies in the airline code. Juan Santamaria Airport operates under the code SJO, and San Juan’s airport code is SJU. One wrong keystroke and you’re landing 1,300 miles in the wrong direction.
Panama City, Panama and Panama City, Florida: Imagine a group of revelrous spring breakers ready to celebrate graduation only to be stuck watching vessels sail through the Miraflores Locks in Panama. While both cities have beautiful beaches and accept the U.S. dollar as currency, Panama City, Panama acts as the gateway of the Atlantic to the Pacific and, well, speaks Spanish. Panama City, Florida is probably best known as the city where you totally got wasted at your high school reunion.
St. Petersburg, Russia and St. Petersburg, Florida: One city is Russian and is situated along the Baltic, just south of the Arctic Circle. The other St. Petersburg holds the largest pride parade in Florida. Could these cities be anymore opposite? Still, on the off chance you made a typo while booking, Russia may not be the place to arrive dressed in lime green booty shorts and glittery eyebrows.
Dakar, Senegal and Dhaka, Bangladesh: Oh, the poor American couple who ended up 7,000 miles from their destination after an airport code error sent them to Dhaka instead of Dakar. According to the couple, they thought Dhaka was the correct pronunciation of Dakar with a slight Turkish accent. As stated numerous times above, double check your country codes because you never want to end up in a different city, let alone a completely different continent.
Manchester, NH and Manchester, United Kingdom: Three weeks ago, we stumbled upon a $150 round-trip flight to Manchester. Immediately, we clicked — only to realize a three-hour flight to England is awfully short. It turned out the flight was to New Hampshire. For some reason, it turns out, flight aggregators don’t immediately distinguish between New Hampshire and the U.K., so check your airport codes carefully.