Investigation Launched as Passenger Mistakenly Flies to Alicante Instead of Paris - Istanbul Airport Meet and Assist

Overview of the Incident

An unprecedented event unfolded when Jem Maybank, a 30-year-old property worker from West Yorkshire, UK, found herself more than 1,000 miles away from her intended destination due to boarding the wrong flight. Scheduled to travel from Leeds-Bradford Airport to Paris-Beauvais on June 22, 2024, she mistakenly boarded a flight to Alicante, Spain.

Sequence of Errors

Maybank arrived at Leeds-Bradford Airport for her scheduled Ryanair flight FR3579 to Paris at 06:00 AM. However, she boarded Ryanair flight FR9079 to Alicante, which was scheduled at 06:10 AM. Both flights were operated using Boeing 737 models but parked adjacent to each other, which likely contributed to the confusion. Maybank, who admitted to feeling disoriented due to the early start, proceeded to the wrong gate where her boarding pass was incorrectly scanned without issue by the Ryanair ground staff.

It became apparent something was amiss when she attempted to find her seat, 34A, which did not exist on the Alicante-bound 737-800 aircraft, unlike the 737 Max 8 headed for Paris. Upon notifying the flight attendant, she was informed of a possible ‘aircraft switch’ and was re-seated without further verification.

Lack of Awareness During Flight

Throughout the flight, Maybank failed to notice any announcements that could have alerted her to the error, attributing it to the inaudibility of the announcements. The flight duration, which was double the expected time due to supposed turbulence, did not raise immediate concerns until she observed the landscape of palm trees, sea, and mountains upon nearing Alicante.

Resolution and Response

Once landed, Maybank was the last to disembark, expressing her confusion to the crew. Ryanair staff, equally baffled, expedited her transfer to the correct destination, arranging a flight to Paris from Alicante at no additional cost. This incident has prompted a thorough investigation by Ryanair to prevent future occurrences and to understand the breakdown in their boarding procedures.

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