Devon

Avios mix-up sees woman fly to Grenada, not Granada

Lamenda Kingdon
Image caption Lamenda Kingdon had planned to travel to Granada in Spain to see the Alhambra Palace as part of her "bucket list"

A woman who booked a visit to Spain as part of a "bucket list" said she "just froze" when she realised she was being flown to the Caribbean instead.

Lamenda Kingdon, 62, from Plymouth, wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace in the Spanish region of Granada after being diagnosed with cancer.

However, she was booked on a flight to Grenada by travel rewards company Avios, an error which she only realised had been made once she was in the air.

Avios has since reimbursed Ms Kingdon.

Ms Kingdon was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2012 and a brain tumour in June.

After she completed her course of treatment, she decided to use her unspent Avios points.

She had planned to travel to Granada to see the Alhambra Palace as part of a "bucket list", a list of things she wanted to achieve in her life that she made while she was ill.

Ms Kingdon left Gatwick on 1 September and said though she noticed her ticket said Grenada Airport, she thought "that maybe that's how they spell it in Spain, because sometimes foreign countries and places are spelt differently".

"To be honest, there were other things on my mind," she added.

Bottle of champagne

She said she had already eaten her in-flight meal and drunk a gin and tonic before she found out she was on the wrong flight.

Image caption Ms Kingdon spent six hours in the executive lounge in St Lucia

"I started to tell [another passenger] that this was part of my bucket list and I was so looking forward to seeing the Alhambra, and she replied 'not on this flight you won't'.

"I just froze because I did think I was going to Spain, I thought we'd be landing soon."

Ms Kingdon said she left the plane at a scheduled stop in St Lucia and after spending six hours in the airport's executive lounge, boarded a plane back to Gatwick.

"My major concern was that I had a taxi waiting for me at Granada Airport.

"When the message came back to say the taxi had been cancelled, they opened a bottle of champagne for me."

Ms Kingdon was flown to Granada the following day.

Avios reimbursed the cost of her flights and gave her additional points, which she said she hoped to use to travel to New Zealand, another destination she had identified on her list.

Craig Holland from the company said that as soon as the error was brought to their attention, "we reimbursed her [points] and all her expenses, and gave her more as compensation".

"We are so pleased to hear that she is now planning her next trip," he added.

Ms Kingdon said that she plans to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support while on her next holiday.

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