San Jose – Callie Zucker and her extended family spent a luxurious winter holiday wandering the cobbled pathways of Florence and partaking of the region’s fine aliments. But, as seems to be the standard for air travel these days, the trip went sour when the college student attempted to get home.
Zucker’s family members were booked on separate return flights to their hometown of Lafayette, California, with Zucker and her mother’s girlfriend, Sheila Milosky, set for a Wednesday flight from Florence to San Jose, California.
The pair never made it to San Jose, at least not the one they were expecting to arrive at.
The first blow came with the last-minute cancellation of their flight out of Florence.
Lufthansa Airlines bussed Zucker, Milosky and the flight’s other disgruntled passengers to a nearby airport in Bologna that evening. New flights were booked in the morning, and Zucker and her traveling companion went on their merry way.
It wasn’t fine when, two hours into their flight from Paris, when Milosky’s seat partner informed her that the plane was not, in fact, headed to San Jose International Airport in California. It was en-route to San José International Airport in Costa Rica, about 4,000 miles south of the Bay Area.
“There was nothing we could do at that point except wait until we got to San José,” Zucker said.
They landed late that evening in the tropical oasis and took stock of their errors.
“We assumed SJO was the airport code for San Jose in California,” Zucker recalled from the Costa Rican airport. The code is actually SJC. “I know that now.”
She said her boarding pass, luggage tag and the departure screens only listed the city, not the country.
With no Lufthansa customer service desk open Thursday night, Zucker and Milosky booked flights home, scheduled to leave early that morning, online. Their tickets cost $1,500 each.
“Lufthansa is definitely going to have to reimburse us,” Zucker said.
“I think,” she said.
“I hope,” she added.
After 48 hours of travel and a layover in Panama City, the duo finally touched down at San Francisco International Airport in the late afternoon Friday.
Said Zucker, “That flight actually got delayed, too.”