Nigeria - Student Travel, by Peter Jones (1981)

This is an incident that was related in a British Airways internal newsletter at the time. Sadly, I have lost track of the original, but will tell it as best I can. (If any reader has a copy, will they please share it with me?)

A Nigerian student living in Ibadan was offered a scholarship to study at the University College of North Wales in Bangor. He went to see his local travel agent and asked them to book him a seat to Bangor. The travel agent looked up Bangor in the travel ABC, found Bangor, Maine, USA and duly booked a ticket…

Just before the beginning, of term, the student travelled down from Ibadan to Lagos, took a flight to London and made the connection on a British Airways flight to Boston, Maine. Somewhere over the Atlantic he asked a member of the cabin crew: “Shouldn’t we be there by now?” The crew asked him several questions about his intended destination and it was then revealed that he thought he was on a flight to North Wales.

The ‘mistake’ was gently explained to him and calls were made to the BA ground staff in Boston, explaining the situation and requesting assistance with the immigration and customs authorities. As a result he was met off the aircraft, escorted through the formalities, provided with a meal and accommodation, became a bit of a celebrity for a few hours among the airport staff and was put on the next available flight back to London with instructions to the crew to look after him and ensure he was pointed in the right direction when he got there.

Not long after, the BA airport manager in Boston received a delightful letter from him, thanking the staff in Boston profusely for their kindness and hospitality “when I was inadvertently diverted on my journey from Bangor in Wales to Bangor in the USA. May God bless you all.”

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