Couple Sent To El Salvador For World Cup

Filed Under: Media, Travel

Over the weekend I shared the crazy story of the couple that ended up in Grenada (in the Caribbean) instead of Granada, Spain, due to a snafu when booking their award ticket using British Airways Avios.

I can’t decide what’s worse — that story, or the story of the couple that ended up in San Salvador, El Salvador, rather than Salvador, Brazil, for their “once in a lifetime” World Cup trip.

Via Bleacher Report:

This story comes to us from Sarah Dean of the Daily Mail, who reports that Orin and Melissa van Lingen of Darwin, Australia, were the victims of a travel agent debacle that landed them in the nation of El Salvador instead of Salvador, Brazil—their desired destination.

The travel agency, Escape Travel, sent the two soccer fans on a trip to the El Salvadorian capital, San Salvador—a city known for being one of the most dangerous, gang-ridden places in the entire world. Melissa told Dean they assumed the ticket to San Salvador was just a layover on their way to Brazil.

“We assumed there must be connecting flights, but it was not until we got into the airport [in El Salvador] and [that we realized] there were no other flights,” Melissa said.

At least the travel agency is “making good” on this best they can:

In this instance, Escape Travel has provided alternative accommodation and arranged flights to Brazil to ensure their plans are back on track ahead of the next game. Although Escape Travel didn’t book the customers’ match tickets, we have also worked today to help resolve an unrelated issue that the customers were experiencing. In addition, we will continue to work with the customers to see if we can make amends in other ways for the initial error. We have apologised and hope the arrangements we are making now will lead to a positive outcome.

What a story!


(Tip of the hat to AwardMagic)

  1. In German there is a saying: “Wer lesen kann, ist klar im Vorteil”. Roughly translated as “If you can read you are favored”

  2. Agreed. People need to stop blaming travel agents and airlines for these mistakes. Read your &^*%ing itinerary ahead of time!

  3. I’m more inclined to have sympathy for this couple than the businessman who sued. When I run into people who have little or no experience traveling I advise them to hire a travel agent in order to iron out potential problems by letting a professional handle the details for them. Here on a forum that caters to routine travelers it’s easy to blame infrequent travelers who end up in the wrong place for not being travel experts, even when they hire someone else to handle it for them. But at first glance it sounds like they did what they were supposed to do and got hosed anyway.

  4. This is at least way more excusable than the Granada/Grenada situation. Not everyone is super familiar with global geography. Central America is not like a major global player that people (especially from Australia) should be expected to know about. Also, unlike the Grenada guy, at least (relative to where they were coming from) El Salvador is sort of in the same general region as Brazil. It’s not like the other guy who changed airports to Gatwick and got on another long-haul flight to the Caribbean.

    But yeah, most people aren’t nearly as globally/travel savvy as people who read these blogs. In this day and age if people are hiring travel agents that’s a tacit admission that they aren’t really comfortable handling this themselves and aren’t as capable of realizing the mistake once it happened.

  5. Sometimes these stories are so stupid, I think they might be urban legend. Would be interested in hearing more detail about how these people ended up where they did. Where were their connections? Surely at some point in advance they should have figured out they were going to the wrong place.

    No sympathy here.

  6. Yes, there are indeed many people like this, including people in my own family, but it is definitely ignorance and hopelessness. Not knowing geography is not an excuse either. If you do not know your geography and your airport codes, a few minutes on the net could easily solve your problem, that is if you have a functioning brain and a capacity to learn anything period.

  7. Sorry but this couple is not very smart. How do you book a trip and don’t even look at your itinerary? “We assumed it was a connecting flight?????” Which airline connects in El Salvador on flights to Brazil? Didn’t they realize that after El Salvador there were no other boarding passes to “continue” to Brazil? I feel sometimes people do these stupidities on purpose just to be in the media. Too bad they made to Brazil. They should be spending time sightseeing El Salvador.

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