Oops: Woman Accidentally Boards Flight To United States

Oops: Woman Accidentally Boards Flight To United States

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With the number of people flying, this is bound to happen every once in a while, though it still makes for quite a story.

Mexican traveler accidentally boards Volaris flight to Seattle

Last week, a 29-year-old Mexican citizen named Marijose Gamboa was supposed to return home from a vacation on Volaris. She was supposed to take the 727-mile domestic flight from Guadalajara (GDL) to Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ), but accidentally ended up on the 2,140-mile international flight to Seattle (SEA).

The route she was supposed to fly, vs. the route she actually flew

How exactly did this happen? Gamboa shared the situation on her TikTok. According to her:

  • At Guadalajara Airport, a Volaris airline worker had directed her to change the line she was in while waiting for her flight
  • She boarded the flight from that line, and somehow the gate agent didn’t catch that she was on the wrong flight
  • Once onboard the flight, there was someone in her assigned seat; she showed the flight attendant her boarding pass, and she also didn’t catch that she was on the wrong flight, and instead seated her somewhere else
  • About three hours into the flight, she was handed an immigration form for the United States
  • Since the woman didn’t speak English, she was confused and asked the flight attendant for help, and this is when it was discovered that she was on the wrong flight
  • The flight attendant was shocked to learn that the traveler wasn’t intending to fly to the United States, and didn’t have a passport
  • The crew then asked her for a phone number to contact her family, so they could let her family know what was going on

This is a pretty big failure on Volaris’ part, for multiple people to not realize someone had boarded the wrong plane. When her boarding pass was scanned at the gate, didn’t it alarm, to indicate she was on the wrong flight? When her seat was already assigned to someone else, did the flight attendant not carefully review her boarding pass?

What happened when she arrived in the United States?

Upon arriving in the United States, a Volaris employee accompanied Gamboa in the immigration hall. She was interviewed by immigration officers, and then they escorted her back to her flight, as she immediately returned to Guadalajara on the same Volaris plane.

Officers told her there would be no negative record of this, in the event that she wanted to travel to the United States in the future.

Volaris obviously paid for her ticket back to her intended destination of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Suffice it to say that this was a very long travel day — what was supposed to be a short flight of under two hours, ended up consisting of two extra flights of nearly five hours each, in addition to the intended flight.

Throughout this ordeal, Gamboa’s family was obviously incredibly concerned, as she hadn’t arrived in Tuxtla Gutiérrez as planned. Her family had been informed at the time that she had gone missing, and there’s nothing Volaris representatives could do. Then the National Guard stepped in, and told Volaris that they would have to file a missing persons report.

At that point Volaris agents at the airport started working to locate her whereabouts, and were able to find out that she was actually on the wrong airplane. Gamboa claims that upon arriving in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Volaris employees blamed her for getting on the wrong flight.

Bottom line

A traveler intending to take a domestic Volaris flight within Mexico accidentally ended up on a flight to the United States. She had allegedly been asked to switch lines while boarding, and neither the gate agent nor flight attendant realized the mistake.

When the traveler arrived in the United States she was interviewed by officials, and sent back on the same plane to Mexico, eventually being reunited with her family, albeit way later than expected.

What do you make of this incident?

(Tip of the hat to Daniel)

Conversations (32)
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  1. Sandra Guest

    Considering it's the gate agent's job to check everyone's boarding pass to ensure that everyone boarding the flight is supposed to be on that flight, this is entirely Volaris' fault. Two staff members looked at the boarding pass and completely missed the destination, flight arrival time and flight number. At least they didn't leave her to fend for herself at Immigration (which is the least they could have done). I'm glad she finally reached home.

  2. Kas Guest

    As a retired Supervisor of an airline. The airline will be heavily fine. The gate agent and flight attendant will or probably losted their job, a full investigation will happen.

  3. Arturo Guest

    It does not surprise me at all, flying volaría it’s a caos! This airline is very on organized!

  4. Jeff Guest

    It’s very apparent most of you haven’t flown Volaris. Hundreds of memes online of their announcements being made in a manner that’s hard to decipher even for native Spanish speakers

  5. matt Guest

    A few years back, I was aboard a plane to PWM (Portland, ME) and an announcement was made as boarding was completed—“Just to confirm, this is a flight to Portland, MAINE, not Portland, OREGON. I repeated, this flight is going to MAINE, not OREGON.”

    TWO separate travelers got up and left the plane after that announcement. I cannot recall if the PWM and PDX flights were at a adjacent gates, but they must have at least had similar departure times.

  6. iamhere Guest

    Agree I would be requesting the points for both flights and additional compensation but she does not seem like the type to be involved in this way.

  7. FatLip Guest

    I think we need to build that wall much Higher.

  8. D3kingg Guest

    I ran down the jetway in Boston once with Virgin America and it was a EWR flight. I was going to LAX. I was a few steps passed the GA who asked “Newark?” No.

    It could happen. Home Alone never would have happened today with all the social media and computers. Also today they would realize one passenger is missing. Did they even check in ? I have alot of questions about that movie.

  9. Devan Guest

    One time I was in Austin about to board a Southwest flight. One person scanned their boarding pass and the gate agent said “Sir, this is for American Airlines!” Clearly some people don’t fully pay attention to their flight

  10. Emily_K New Member

    I was on an American Airlines flight in December 2021 DFW-SEA and the lady behind me got on the wrong plane. She meant to fly to Boston. This was only determined when two people were sharing the same seat assignment.

  11. Andy Diamond

    I remember boarding once a LH flight to Berlin on a remote stand. Two buses brought us there. After the aircraft door was closed, the crew welcomed us on the flight to Cologne. Immediately, about half of the passengers, including me, shouted "Berlin", because we thought the announcement was wrong. However, our bus brought us to the wrong plane. During boarding, there was a lot of arguments about seat assignments, but the crew didn't realize...

    I remember boarding once a LH flight to Berlin on a remote stand. Two buses brought us there. After the aircraft door was closed, the crew welcomed us on the flight to Cologne. Immediately, about half of the passengers, including me, shouted "Berlin", because we thought the announcement was wrong. However, our bus brought us to the wrong plane. During boarding, there was a lot of arguments about seat assignments, but the crew didn't realize we were on the wrong plane.

  12. Christine Guest

    Many years ago but post 9-11 my DH went on a business trip. After getting through TSA he remembered he had a box cutter with him. He threw it in the trash before departure.

    He gets to his destination and tells the gate agent that he needs a bordering pass for his next leg. She asked him how he got there. He said on the flight that just arrived from our home airport. He was...

    Many years ago but post 9-11 my DH went on a business trip. After getting through TSA he remembered he had a box cutter with him. He threw it in the trash before departure.

    He gets to his destination and tells the gate agent that he needs a bordering pass for his next leg. She asked him how he got there. He said on the flight that just arrived from our home airport. He was not on the flight manifest for the flight.

    The corporate travel agent had made an itinerary with a mid day departure from the second city and and early evening departure from from the home airport.

    DH had read the itinerary as an early morning flight not an early evening departure and hadn’t noticed the problem.

    Mistakes happen

  13. Darren C Diamond

    I watched the TikTok videos of this narcissist.
    She speaks Spanish, boarded a plane in her home, Spanish-speaking country, on an airline with Spanish-speaking crew.
    She can't blame language issues.

    1. Bernardo Ng Guest

      She’s not blaming language. You don’t know how disfunctional this volaris airline is.

    2. Pierre Gold

      Nothing to do (for once...) with Mexico, it happened to me when BA (then called BEA, British European Airways) flew mw from LHR to DUS instead of Paris. Computers didn't exist, Boarding passes were hand-written and eyes-read, plane was a Comet 4. On arrival I complained and demanded to be flown to Paris in First Class (my first ever flight in F), they obliged and sent me home on an Air France Caravelle. Flights, by...

      Nothing to do (for once...) with Mexico, it happened to me when BA (then called BEA, British European Airways) flew mw from LHR to DUS instead of Paris. Computers didn't exist, Boarding passes were hand-written and eyes-read, plane was a Comet 4. On arrival I complained and demanded to be flown to Paris in First Class (my first ever flight in F), they obliged and sent me home on an Air France Caravelle. Flights, by the way, were much faster than nowadays as they did not add padding to the schedules. LHR-Paris (Le Bourget) was scheduled as 50 mnts vs 1hr20 nowadays. You got a real meal in Y and caviar (not always) in F. I actually miss those times (50+ years ago).

    3. D3kingg Guest

      @Pierre

      Nice story. In the 1980s computers weren’t streamlined. I’m 1990s there was Sabre ; but my mom and her friends could block a seat for me in first class on twa and upgrade me as a non rev. The caviar was flowing back then .

  14. kq747 Member

    This happened to me a few years back. Flew ADD-LBV instead of ADD-NBO. The ET crew was very apologetic and def did not try to blame me for the error though. My family has never let me forget as I am the designated Avgeek in the family :D

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Do tell.

      I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like to hear the story.

    2. kq747 Member

      Went on a bit of an Avgeek jaunt and flew BOS-ORD-IAH-DME-SIN-BOM-ADD mostly to qualify for *G on A3. The last leg was ADD-NBO but as I had been awake all night at BOM due overnight delay at the airport, I was very tired from the whole journey etc. ADD has a lot of bus gates next to each other so I basically got on the wrong bus and also had someone in my seat with...

      Went on a bit of an Avgeek jaunt and flew BOS-ORD-IAH-DME-SIN-BOM-ADD mostly to qualify for *G on A3. The last leg was ADD-NBO but as I had been awake all night at BOM due overnight delay at the airport, I was very tired from the whole journey etc. ADD has a lot of bus gates next to each other so I basically got on the wrong bus and also had someone in my seat with same seat number but the plane was maybe 30% LF so just sat in the row behind which was entirely empty. I woke up on approach to the captain announcing descent into LBV which is when it hit me. FA couldnt believe it had happened. Upon arrival, I was almost made to go through immigration as there is no connections pathway at LBV but they were doing a turn around and convinced the staff to just let me into the waiting area. Flew with the same crew back to ADD where they plied me with wine and apologized profusely and then NBO that night. All in all, a 13 hour delay.

  15. CHRIS Guest

    Did she claim asylum upon arrival?

  16. Brad C Guest

    I suppose it also wasn't her fault she ignored the in-flight announcement they were going to Seattle before pushback?

    1. Nick Guest

      @Brad C. We are always victims! I’m sure the passengers on the flight looked like what she was expecting. Or maybe she has a lot of diversity and inclusion training, so she doesn’t know the difference

    2. Julia Guest

      What am asinine, useless comment.

    3. betterbub Gold

      It would be her fault but if her flight was anything like recent flights I've been on, it's probably easier to find people who ignore the announcements than people who don't.

  17. Jan Guest

    She's probably not the type to know about this, but would she also get the miles awarded for the SEA round trip at a minimum?

    1. Yosef New Member

      Ha! I literally came here to ask exactly this!!

    2. Sel, D. Guest

      No - Volaris doesn’t have a FF program.

    3. Bernardo Ng Guest

      It actually does. It’s called VClub.

  18. David Guest

    This reminds me years ago of the story about a teenager flying Air New Zealand from LHR to LAX. He was then supposed to connect on a domestic flight to OAK.

    However when the aircraft landed in LAX, the announcement said that all passengers continuing on to Aukland should remain on board. The teenager thought they were saying Oakland remained on the flight. He didn't realize he was headed to New Zealand until 3...

    This reminds me years ago of the story about a teenager flying Air New Zealand from LHR to LAX. He was then supposed to connect on a domestic flight to OAK.

    However when the aircraft landed in LAX, the announcement said that all passengers continuing on to Aukland should remain on board. The teenager thought they were saying Oakland remained on the flight. He didn't realize he was headed to New Zealand until 3 hours into the flight, after he couldn't figure out why an hour flight was taking so long.

    1. Mike O. Guest

      Sounds like a Full House episode where Stephanie and Michelle hop on a plane from SFO to OAK. They thought they were going to OAK, but went to AKL!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS_aZbtDeoQ

  19. George N Romey Guest

    I'm sure that Volaris also faced a fine from US Immigration.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Jan Guest

She's probably not the type to know about this, but would she also get the miles awarded for the SEA round trip at a minimum?

4
Bernardo Ng Guest

She’s not blaming language. You don’t know how disfunctional this volaris airline is.

3
David Guest

This reminds me years ago of the story about a teenager flying Air New Zealand from LHR to LAX. He was then supposed to connect on a domestic flight to OAK. However when the aircraft landed in LAX, the announcement said that all passengers continuing on to Aukland should remain on board. The teenager thought they were saying Oakland remained on the flight. He didn't realize he was headed to New Zealand until 3 hours into the flight, after he couldn't figure out why an hour flight was taking so long.

2
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