An American traveller had a shock when he touched down for the trip of a lifetime – only to discover he was in Sidney, Montana, rather than Sydney, Australia.
Kingsley Burnett (62) of New York, made the unfortunate mistake when booking his flights.
He managed to mix up the airport codes; Oz’s famed New South Wales’ capital of Sydney is “S-Y-D”, while the tiny Sidney in the northwest US state of Montana is “S-D-Y”.
Mr Burnett only started to suspect things had gone awry when he looked out of his plane window on the approach.
“I saw a mountaintop covered in white snow. At that point, I knew I was in trouble,” he told local news channel KTVQ.
His flight landed at the city of Billings in Montana, from where he caught a small plane for the connecting service to Sidney.
“It’s a matter of acronyms,” Mr Burnett said of his mistake.
“The S-Y-D as opposed to S-D-Y. Somebody has to fix that.”
He also admitted to having been pleasantly surprised by how cheap the flight was when booking, though this didn’t raise any alarm bells for him at the time.
Mr Burnett ended up staying at the Boothill Inn while waiting for a return flight, where the manager said he wasn’t the first guest to mix up Sidney and Sydney.
“This is the second time we’ve had a guest that was trying to get to Sydney, Australia,” Shelli Mann claimed.
It’s also not the first time a passenger has ended up in the wrong place.
In March 2022, a British couple boarded a Ryanair plane back to Stansted airport from France, only to realise shortly before landing that they were on the wrong flight.
In fact, they were descending towards Madrid, some 800 miles away from their home in Fulham, London.
On 21 March they went to the airport to catch their Ryanair flight shortly before 3pm, heading to what they were sure was the correct gate.
They showed their tickets and boarded with no problems, only getting an inkling during the flight that something might be off.
“An hour into our flight, Jesse said he thought he heard a flight attendant say Madrid, but we thought he had dreamed it,” says Ms Mallia.
“We were baffled and so were the flight attendants,” says Ms Mallia.
“We got home in the end, but we still have no idea how it happened.
“It’s not like getting the wrong bus – we literally ended up in a different country!”