I’ll be heading to San Diego soon. It’s just a quick business trip. I haven’t said much about it here because there wasn’t any planning. The company told me when to fly out, where I would stay, what meetings to attend and when to come back. I would have loved to extend my time there for some sight-seeing but I’m still squaring away my new budget and felt the added expense would be more stressful than the time away would be worth.
I will be flying Southwest Airlines out of Providence. Most of my colleagues are flying JetBlue out of Logan in Boston. I wasn’t expecting the reaction from my co-workers when I attended a recent meeting at my office. My boss made an announcement cautioning all to be prepared for anything from delays to getting snowbound but some of my friends chipped in with “Or going to the wrong airport”.
Maybe you heard about it. On Sunday, Jan 12 a Southwest Airlines Jet carrying 124 passengers landed at a little Missouri airport about 7 miles from their destination of Branson. The landing was without mishap even though the little regional airport isn’t set up for larger jets and the runway is only 3,738 ft. compared to the runway at Branson which is 7,140.
The pilots recognized the shortness of the runway and managed to brake in time to prevent disaster but to add insult to injury the flight attendant announced “Welcome to Branson.” Then, after a few moments, the pilot came on and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry to tell you we landed at the wrong airport.'”
Whew…if I were that pilot my face would be so red!
To their credit, Southwest didn’t just apologize for the inconvenience, they put their money where their mouth is. Southwest issued this written statement: “We have since reached out to each customer directly to apologize, refund their tickets and provide future travel credit as a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience.”
I’d take a landing at the wrong airport when no one is hurt in exchange for free tickets and credits any day. I’d consider it an “adventure.” 🙂 Maybe I’m a little nuts?
Anyway, the pilot and co-pilot, both very experienced officers are currently suspended while the incident is investigated. Airline insiders say these things do happen but very rarely so I guess my odds of getting a free ticket for a landing at the wrong airport just took a nose dive.