Doug and Nancy Lee have missed out on a $10,000 dream trip to Ireland because of one small error.
Doug and Nancy Lee had been dreaming of their trip to Ireland with their best friends for months.
However, when they headed to Halifax Airport, Canada, last August, they couldn’t have imagined what simple error would foil their whole trip.
Due to a simple error on Doug’s airline ticket regarding his name, he and his wife were unable to board the plane to make their dream trip to Ireland alongside their friends.
Booking oversight shatters elderly couple’s dream trip to Ireland – a simple mistake that cost $10,000
Doug Lee, his wife Nancy and their two friends of 40 years left their homes for Halifax Airport in Canada last August with high spirits as they headed towards their dream trip to Ireland.
In the car, they even listened to traditional Irish music to prepare. “We were all singing … and laughing … and just enjoying the morning,” said Nancy Lee.
The plan was to fly from Halifax to Toronto and then on to Dublin for an eight-day trip. “We were looking forward to something that we had never seen before,” said Nancy.
She said that the trip was a long overdue honeymoon they never had 50 years earlier. “There were castles to visit, grand feasts and scenic views”.
Where it all went wrong – an error with Doug’s name
When the four friends arrived at the Porter Airlines counter to check in, their long-awaited trip to the Emerald Isle started to slowly slip away when they realised there was an error with Doug’s ticket.
Doug’s airline ticket said “Doug” Lee, but the actual first name on his passport is the full version of the nickname – Douglas.
“Because those two [names] did not match, they said, ‘No, you can’t fly,’ “said Doug, who’d rarely been on a plane in his 76 years. “That kind of caught me by surprise”.
Under federal law, a name on an airline ticket must match their government identification – in this case, the passport.
The four friends scrambled for the next five hours to try and desperately salvage their trip, to no avail.
The legality of it all – who was at fault?
Gábor Lukács, Air Passenger Rights advocacy group president, said that an airline cannot walk away from a contract by way of a clerical error. “If you make a typo in your ticket, you have the right to have it corrected,” he said.
He says that if there is a minor issue with your ticket like this one, the airline has a duty to fix it for you at your expense.
“When there is no doubt who the passenger is, there is no doubt that it is a genuine typo, the airline has to reasonably co-operate,” he said.
After hours of pleading with several Porter agents at the airport and making frantic phone calls to the travel agency to remedy the problem, Doug was ultimately denied access to their flight.
In the end, Nancy and Doug had to say a tearful goodbye to their friends who travelled on to Ireland. It turned out that the problem had largely come from a relatively new booking system for connecting flights called ‘Codeshare’.
As such, Porter Airlines said that the fault lay with Air Transat and that any errors on the booking should have been remedied by them instead.