It sounds like the plot of a National Lampoon’s movie, but two newlyweds from Australia were actually sent to the wrong country on their way to watch World Cup action in Brazil.
This story comes to us from Sarah Dean of the Daily Mail, who reports that Orin and Melissa van Lingen of Darwin, Australia, were the victims of a travel agent debacle that landed them in the nation of El Salvador instead of Salvador, Brazil—their desired destination.
The travel agency, Escape Travel, sent the two soccer fans on a trip to the El Salvadorian capital, San Salvador—a city known for being one of the most dangerous, gang-ridden places in the entire world. Melissa told Dean they assumed the ticket to San Salvador was just a layover on their way to Brazil.
“We assumed there must be connecting flights, but it was not until we got into the airport [in El Salvador] and [that we realized] there were no other flights,” Melissa said.
Somewhere, a bowl-cut wearing man behind a desk at Escape Travel is smacking a hand to his head.
On the bright side, Escape Travel did know it started with an “S.”
On the less-than-bright side, the delay caused Melissa and Orin to miss the Netherlands' 5-1 beatdown of Spain and waste three days of vacation time trying to parlay a new way to Brazil.
Salvador, Brazil, is about 4,000 miles from San Salvador and required a 15-hour plane trip to correct the error.
Fortunately, Escape Travel has done its best to right its wrongs, and the couple are on their way to Brazil.
“We are just through transit now to get on another flight,” Melissa told Dean on Monday.
Escape Travel spokesman Haydn Long told Dean the company is pulling out all the stops to rectify this grievous error.
In this instance, Escape Travel has provided alternative accommodation and arranged flights to Brazil to ensure their plans are back on track ahead of the next game. Although Escape Travel didn't book the customers' match tickets, we have also worked today to help resolve an unrelated issue that the customers were experiencing. In addition, we will continue to work with the customers to see if we can make amends in other ways for the initial error. We have apologised and hope the arrangements we are making now will lead to a positive outcome.
Well, it sounds like all will end well for the newlyweds, who may be getting free tickets to games in exchange for their three-day stay in one of the world’s leading murder havens.
At least the Van Lingens will always have this story, which they should option to a Hollywood studio as soon as they return home from Brazil. Even the late Harold Ramis would blush trying to direct this kind of real-life National Lampoon’s Vacation.
On the Twitters.