Two travellers were left stranded in Spain after they tried to catch their return flight to the UK after a visit to France, but ended up boarding the wrong plane. Elise Mallia, 33, and Jessy Jezequel, 41, landed 800 miles away from home after leaving Marseille.
The couple had been on a quick trip to the port town to watch a football match against Nice. However, their mini-break was unintentionally extended after they accidentally caught a plane to Madrid.
They didn’t realise what had happened until their descent into the Spanish capital, when they should have been arriving at London Stansted. Elise, an estate agent from Fulham, said: “An hour into our flight, Jesse said he thought he heard a flight attendant say Madrid, but we thought he had dreamed it.
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“But after that we started realising all the flight attendants were speaking Spanish. When we asked, they told us we were going to Madrid – and we had no idea how that was possible.”
(Image: Elise Mallia / SWNS)
She added they’d had their boarding passes scanned three times before boarding the flight and assumed they must have been wrong – but when they checked, they weren’t. “We were baffled and so were the flight attendants,” she said.
“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!”
The couple were booked on a flight from Marseille to Stansted shortly before 3pm on March 21, and headed towards what they believed was the correct gate to board. Elise said she swore she saw ‘Madrid’ on the neighbouring gate to theirs.
(Image: Elise Mallia / SWNS)
She recalled even making a joke to Jesse that they should continue their holiday and go to Spain instead of returning to London – not realising that may actually be the case. Elise said: “Surely it must be quite hard to actually get on the wrong plane because of the security! Well, that was what we thought.”
The pair did eventually make it back to Fulham, but five hours later than planned. “We were panicking and tried to explain to the staff that we weren’t supposed to be in Spain,” Elise said.
“Everyone thought we were crazy at first – until we showed them our boarding passes. How did nobody notice our boarding passes, or notice there were two extra passengers on the flight? Surely you shouldn’t be able to get on the wrong plane without anybody noticing!”
They said they have been unable to get in touch with Ryanair since the incident – and still have no idea how it happened. A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “Mr. Jezequel and Ms. Mallia boarded their flight from Marseille to London Stansted through the correct gate.
“However, these passengers then failed to follow the allocated route to the aircraft departing for London Stansted, crossed an unauthorised area and wrongly boarded a flight departing to Madrid. Both passengers were able to occupy the same seats they had booked for their original flight, as this flight was not fully booked, thus not alerting them to their error at this time.
“An announcement advising passengers of their final destination and estimated time of arrival is made before every flight departure – which should have alerted Mr. Jezequel and Ms. Mallia that they were on the wrong aircraft. Upon arriving at Madrid Airport, these passengers then realised their error and Ryanair staff were notified of these misrouted passengers.
“Mr. Jezequel and Ms. Mallia were accommodated on a flight from Madrid to London Stansted later that day. It is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure they board the correct aircraft.”
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