Developing

Cancer sufferer books 'bucket list' trip to Granada, Spain - but accidentally boards 10-hour flight to GRENADA after 'phone mix-up'

Lamenda Kingdon, 62, was relaxing at 30,000ft when she found out she was on a long haul flight to the wrong destination in the Caribbean

A brave cancer sufferer who planned a 'bucket list' trip to the Spanish city of Granada accidentally boarded a plane to the Caribbean isle of GRENADA.

Lamenda Kingdon, 62, was relaxing at 30,000ft when she found out she was on a 10-hour flight to the wrong destination.

Instead of booking Lamenda on a two-hour flight to southern Spain, air miles travel firm Avios had put her on a long-haul journey across the Atlantic.

She only found out two hours into her journey, when she told a passenger she was looking forward to seeing the Spanish city and was told: 'Not on this plane, you won't.'

Mrs Kingdon had planned her trip to Spain - with its opulent palace of the Alhambra - as part of a ‘bucket list’ of activities after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and a brain tumour.

She booked the flight over the phone using her late husband's air miles and did not notice the ticket's destination was one letter different - and some 4,000 miles away - from the place she wanted to go to.

The holistic life coach and former teacher completed self check-in at Gatwick Airport, handed in her luggage and boarded the plane without noticing the difference.

It was only two hours after she left London's Gatwick Airport that the bombshell dropped.

A street in Saint George, the capital of Grenada, where Lamenda was unwittingly sent. (SWNS)
The picturesque scene in Granada, Spain, where Lamenda had intended to go first time. (SWNS)
Lamenda, from Plymouth, said: 'Both my breathing and time stopped. I looked at the ticket and it did indeed say Grenada.

'I had noticed the departure and arrival times were vastly different - but I presumed that had something to do with the time difference.'

The plane's flight crew ushered Lamenda into first class before producing a bottle of champagne, during the unplanned trip on September 1.

After travelling a further seven hours, Lamenda disembarked at a scheduled stop in St Lucia, where she spent six hours in the airport before boarding a flight home.

Back on the ground at Gatwick, she was met by apologetic BA staff who arranged a hotel, helped Avios reimburse the 50,000 points she had cashed in and booked a flight for the next day to Granada.
Lamenda's booking summary for her wrongly booked flight to the Caribbean. (SWNS)
Lamenda, who has one son and two grandsons, says she thoroughly enjoyed the Alhambra - despite the tumultuous start to the bucket list of activities.

She was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012, underwent a mastectomy in March and radiotherapy in June of that year, but a follow up check revealed a brain tumour.

Having lost her husband Barry to cancer in 2009, she was determined to make the most of her time and drew up her bucket list.

[HS2 alternative will cause 'years of gridlock']


Barry, a trainer, had accumulated thousands of air miles - now Avios Points - while commuting by plane across the West Country.

Lamenda flew to Ontario, Canada, in July to see her son and grandson before planning her ill-fated trip to Granada.

Avios apologised for their part in the mistake and issued her with another 22,000 points, leaving her with 121,000.


[Prince Harry breaks his toe ahead of South Pole charity trek]


She now has the 120,000 she needs to her reach her next dream destination - a trip to Omarama in New Zealand, described by visitors as an unspoilt paradise.

Better still, Lamenda has since been given the all clear by her cancer doctors so she hopes to make the trip next Christmas (2014) with a clean bill of health.

She said: 'Looking back on the Granada mix up, I genuinely don't blame anyone, the person on the other end of the phone probably just misheard me.

'The tumour was badly affecting my eyesight but I was able to read the ticket. I honestly didn't notice the spelling difference.

'But I'm certainly not complaining. They treated me wonderfully on the plane once they found out what had happened and now I'm able to visit New Zealand as a result.'
Bosses at Avios, the rebranded Air Miles business for British Airways, Iberia and other leading airlines, agreed it was probably just a misunderstanding over the telephone.

Craig Holland, head of the Customer Contact Centre at the Avios Travel Rewards Programme, said: 'We booked Mrs Kingdon on a flight to Grenada instead of Granada but as soon as we heard we reimbursed her the Avios and all her expenses, and gave her more Avios as compensation.

'We are so pleased to hear that she is now planning her next trip.'