June 20, 2024

Banos Online

Traveling Around the World

Flight ticket typo leaves family out of $12K vacation


An Ontario family planned their first major trip together to Cuba in February, but missed the vacation because of a typo of a single letter on one of their airline tickets.


“This basically cost us $12,000, and we never got a vacation, and we never got on the plane,” Anthony Paoli, of Vaughan, told CTV News Toronto.


Paoli, his wife, three small children and his in-laws all planned to go to Cuba, but when they got to Toronto Pearson International Airport, airline staff told them there was a problem with his father-in-law’s ticket.


“They said we are missing an ‘s’ from the first name of my father-in-law. His name is Pasquale (Ferrari), which is Pat in Italian, and there was an ‘s’ missing, so it said ‘Paquale,’” Paoli said.


Since they were travelling as a group of seven people, Paoli explained that he was told to book the tickets over the phone with a WestJet employee.


The family said when airline staff noticed the missing letter at the airport, they thought it would be a quick fix to correct the problem, and they would be allowed to board the plane.


But, after waiting in line and dealing with WestJet staff, they were told there was no one that was authorized to make the name change on the ticket.


“All we really wanted was a WestJet employee to update my father-in-law’s ticket by adding an ‘s’ to his name,” said Paoli.


While they were waiting to try and correct the name on the airline ticket, time was running out. Paoli said they were told everyone else could board the plane, but nobody wanted to leave his father-in-law behind.


Eventually, the flight left without them.


“It’s crazy that a family of seven gets refused their vacation for such a trivial issue as one letter missing on an airline ticket,” Paoli said.


When CTV News Toronto reached out to WestJet about the situation, the airline said it was “sincerely sorry” to Pasquale Ferrari and his family for the inconvenience.


“Unfortunately, some of Mr. Ferrari’s travelling companions were missing documents and presented documents that were incorrect. As a result, Mr. Ferrari and his family were unable to board the plane prior to take off,” Julia Kaiser, with WestJet Public Relations, said in a statement.


“We understand how frustrating it can be when travel does not go as planned, however, our airport employees did their best to support Mr. Ferrari and his family through a challenging situation, but ultimately were unable to get them to their final destination due to the reasons listed above.”


WestJet confirmed it refunded Ferrari’s ticket and provided the rest of his family with a travel credit that “equates to their family’s missed flights.”


Paoli said they were originally offered $4,000 in refunds and travel credits for the missed vacation, but later the airline raised that amount to $10,000 in refunds and credits, which was great news for the family as they plan to use it toward a future vacation.


“We are really thankful to have this finally worked out. It’s a message to everyone to be extremely careful when booking a flight to make sure all the information is correct,” Paoli said.


Airlines have different policies when it comes to mistakes on tickets, as some allow you to correct an error within 24 hours at no charge.


When booking a flight, it’s best to triple-check that all information is correct right away at time of booking to avoid problems at the airport.