Last week you may have seen a story in the news about a couple who thought they had booked tickets to Africa, but instead ended up in Bangladesh. The comedy of errors originated with a mistake by the airline booking agent. However it was perpetuated by the couple themselves when they failed to notice that anything was wrong until half-way through their connecting flight; which was taking them to Dhaka, Bangladesh instead of Dakar, Senegal. The result was a trip that was anything but funny.

Here are Fly.com’s Top 6 lessons learned from their experience:

#1: Search for your flights via Fly.com

While it may seem like a gratuitous plug, the reality is that Fly.com helps eliminate human error because it automatically displays the correct airport codes when you type in your chosen destination. However be sure to verify that all of your information (i.e. dates, times, number of passengers etc.) is accurate when you are redirected to your selected airline or online travel agency for booking.

#2: Check your boarding passes

Unless you work in the airline industry it is unlikely that you will know a lot of the airport codes around the world. However your boarding pass will give you other information that you should verify before boarding the plane. If your boarding pass only provides the airport code and does not specify the name of the actual destination, make sure to double check the flight number against the departure information boards (located throughout the airport) because these will definitely state the destination itself.

#3: Listen to the information provided by airline staff

We realize that (for international flights in particular), there is the lure of duty free and other shops and concession stands in the airport that may distract you, but make sure you listen to the information being provided by airline staff. This not only includes the information you are given at check-in, but also the information provided over the tannoy systems at the gate.

#4: Give yourself time between connecting flights

Travelers often make the mistake of giving themselves too little time between connecting flights. While no-one wants to be stuck at an airport for countless hours, it is important to give yourself enough time so that you can properly execute the next part of your trip. If you don’t factor in a sufficient buffer you could find yourself missing your connecting flight, having luggage issues, or being so rushed that you try to board the wrong flight.

#5: Don’t make assumptions

In the instance of the Dhaka/Dakar mix-up, the couple was quoted to have said that, on their second flight, “when the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced ‘Dakar’ with a Turkish accent.” Making assumptions during international travel can often lead to miscommunication. If you need something clarifying or if you have a gut instinct that something may be wrong, make sure you ask/verify.

#6: Be observant

This is the all-encompassing rule that sits above everything else. No matter whether you are traveling abroad or at home, you should always be extremely observant when you are in an environment, experience or situation that is new to you.

Happy Travels!

Featured Image: Airport Terminal (Shutterstock.com)

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Michelle is director of public relations for Fly.com. A British native, Michelle has lived on three continents but, more importantly, she is an avid traveler. She is also an adventure enthusiast and her travels have included bungee jumping off Victoria Falls, kayaking to see brown bears (Alaska), surfing in Costa Rica, driving cattle in Wyoming, stunt flying in Hawaii, and swimming with sharks in Bora Bora.

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