Portugal’s amber listing is ‘not justified’ says EasyJet CEO
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Gemma Cargin, a teacher in Manchester, is no stranger to flying as she frequently travels back and forth to visit family. On Sunday morning, she arrived at Manchester Airport ready to fly to Belfast – but what she did not expect was to get on the wrong plane and land in Gibraltar.
After making her way to her gate, Ms Cargin claimed to have no indication that she was not at the correct one.
She said: “The TV screen that told us the flight wasn’t on at the gate, so I never had a notion I could be getting on to the wrong flight.”
Despite having her boarding pass scanned, airport staff did not appear to notice the mistake.
Once on the flight, Ms Cargin took a nap in anticipation of what she thought would be a 40-minute flight to Northern Ireland.
She added: “I woke up from my nap and I looked at the time, and I just asked: ‘When are we landing? Are we landing soon?’
“They told me we were landing in an hour and fifteen minutes – and I said: ‘Is this flight not going to Belfast?’
“They told me it was going to Gibraltar. I said: ‘Guys, I’m on the wrong flight’.
“I was shocked, I was worried, I was wondering how I was going to get home, was I going to be left in Gibraltar?
“Also, I was thinking about my parents because I knew they were picking me up and that they had no idea where I was.”
As Ms Cargin made the mid-flight realisation, her mother was looking for her at the airport in Belfast and starting to worry.
Ms Cargin said: “There was a lot of confusion. Mum was told I hadn’t made it on to the Belfast flight and she said her stomach just flipped, because I had texted from the plane to say I was on my way. They didn’t know what had happened to me.”
She added that her parents were incorrectly told that she was on a flight to the Spanish city of Alicante.
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Ms Cargin added: “They were making arrangements to bring me back from Alicante and it wasn’t until I landed in Gibraltar and got phone signal that I was able to let them know where I actually was. They were shocked.”
The aircraft crew gave Ms Cargin some time to have some air before returning to Manchester on the same plane.
Before departing, she took a quick selfie with the Rock of Gibraltar in the background so she would have a memento of her accidental trip.
She added: “I’d never been before, so now I can tick it off the list. I have proof, the selfie was a souvenir.”
After what should have taken less than an hour, Ms Cargin had spent 12 hours travelling and a total of 2,396 miles in the air before finally flying the 168 miles from Manchester to Belfast.
Ms Cargin has been told that she will not have to quarantine because she did not exit the vicinity of the aircraft, as well as the fact she had a negative test to board the plane to begin with.
In a statement, EasyJet said: “We are investigating with the airport and our ground handling partner at Manchester how Ms Cargin was able travel on the wrong flight.
“As soon as the mistake was realised, it was arranged for them to fly back to Manchester and on to Belfast, their original intended destination.
“Ms Cargin was looked after by our team throughout and provided with refreshments.
“We would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Ms Cargin has another flight in a few days and will be avoiding making the same mistake twice.
She said: “I’m just going to definitely check that I’m on the right flight and not fall asleep before the plane takes off.”
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