A Maryland man is suing British Airways after the airline flew him to Grenada rather than his intended destination, Granada.
While the spelling difference may be subtle, the geography isn’t. Grenada is a country located in the Caribbean Sea that recalls Ronald Reagan; Granada is an Andalusian city in Spain that recalls Ernest Hemingway.
Edward Gamson, a Maryland dentist, first noticed a problem when the electronic flight monitor showed his flight from London to Spain heading west over the Atlantic toward the Americas. He asked a flight attendant, “Why are we headed west to go to Spain?” he said.
“His response was: ‘Spain?’ We’re going to West Indies,’” Gamson said.
Gamson had been in Portugal for a conference and while in Europe intended to take a quick trip to Granada to take in the city’s rich heritage, including sites like the Alhambra, he said. Gamson added that he told a British Airways agent over the phone that he wanted to go to Granada, Spain.
The airline offered him and his partner $376 each and 50,000 frequent flyer miles in compensation for the mistake, but Gamson had used 375,000 miles to book the first-class tickets and figures that, all told, including prebooked hotels, train tickets and tours, the aborted trip cost him more like $34,000. He’s suing the airline and representing himself, NBC News reported.
British Airways says the company cannot comment at this time, as the matter is in “active litigation.”
In an opinion rejecting British Airways petition to move the matter to federal court, a U.S. judge noted that the situation harkens back to Mark Twain’s comment that the “difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”