A 90-YEAR-OLD woman found herself stranded over 1,000 miles away from her destination after she was put on a flight to Majorca instead of London.
Ana Maria Sampson, from Cambridge, was travelling back from Peru on her own after seeing her sisters Alicia, 99, and Susana, 96, on holiday.
Ana, centre, was visiting her two sisters Susana, left and Alicia, right in Peru
Her daughter Elisa told Sun Online Travel how the first part of her mum’s flight – from Lima to Madrid – went without a hitch.
She said: “My mum was on holiday in Peru to see her sisters and was returning home on a British Airways flight from Lima to London, stopping off in Madrid.
“We booked wheelchair assistance throughout as although she is very fit, my mum finds walking long distances tough.”
However, before the second leg of the journey – from Madrid to London – Ana was put on the wrong flight by staff.
Her daughter, Elisa, was furious at the way her mum was treated
While the journey was booked through British Airways, the flight was actually operated by Iberia, one of its code- partners.
Elisa told Sun Online Travel: “In Madrid, after the long haul flight, she was taken by wheelchair assistance to her connecting flight.
“At this point, they boarded her on the wrong flight and she arrived in Palma de Mallorca rather than London, which was absolute chaos.
“She was very disoriented and distressed and there was not much I could do.”
Ana was put on the wrong plane, ending up in Majorca instead of London
After a number of frantic phone calls, Elisa managed to book her mum back on another flight back to Madrid a couple of hours later – but there were no connecting flights to London that day.
Although the airline booked Ana a hotel for the night in Madrid, they left her to organise her own transportation to the accommodation – 12 miles from the airport.
Elisa said: “She was told a taxi had been paid for but she was then told she had to pay and had no euros on her.
“This was the most frightening and upsetting part for her as the driver wanted to drive her to an ATM but they finally accepted card payment.”
Ana had to stay at the hotel overnight before going back to the airport for an early flight to London Heathrow the next day.
Elise has slammed Iberia for refusing to apologise or offer any contact since the incident.
She said: “She has received absolutely no apology and no contact.
“I’ve tried calling their ‘call centre’ which just rings busy or cuts you off continually. I managed to get through once and I have uploaded her expenses claims and emailed with no response.
Ana was travelling with British Airways, owned by Iberia from Peru to London
“She actually just wants someone human to apologise.
“My mum was OK physically but it has really knocked her self confidence and trust in her own ability to do things and in other people.
“I find that the most distressing actually and only a proper personal apology will help with that – there are expenses to compensate but that’s not really what this is about.”
Elisa also said the security side of the problem was “shocking” after she managed to board with her ticket, which clearly showed London Heathrow on it.
She said: “I keep reminding my mum to hang on to these happy memories [of being with her sisters] rather than the memory of being ferried around Europe, exhausted, and with no explanation and no apology.”
A spokesperson for Iberia told Sun Online Travel: “We are really sorry about the inconveniences caused to Mrs. Sampson on their flights from Lima to London via Madrid.
“In the European Union, the transfer and companion services for customers with mobility problems from the terminal to the aircraft seat (including check-in, boarding, flight connections and baggage collection), is provided by the airports, though it has to be booked in advance through the carrier the customer is flying with.
“After reading your reader’s complaint, we understand that Mrs. Sampson was taken to the wrong aircraft by the company offering this service for the airport.
“As yet, we don’t know how this service was offered, if Mrs. Sampson was taken directly from the aircraft arriving from Lima to the aircraft flying to London or if the transfer was made through the terminal. We will look into this to find out what happened.”
Last year, a man found himself heading 1,400 miles in the wrong direction.
Christopher Paetkau from Canada was meant to travel to Yellowknife in Inuvuk, Canada, but due to an airport computer error, found himself at Rankin Inlet, which was thousands of miles away.
It isn’t as unusual as people may think – a Ryanair passenger ended up in Malta instead of Poland earlier this year by accident.
Sun Online Travel has contacted Madrid Airport for comment.