Mix-up with airline ticket leaves vacationer stuck at home while friends leave for dream cruise

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Friday, September 23, 2022
What's in a name? Plenty when it comes to traveling
When the Walnut Creek woman arrived at the airport, the ticket agent realized her last name had been listed as her first AND last name -- and because it didn't match her passport, she couldn't be allowed to board.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- What's in a name? Plenty when it comes to your passport -- and such a name mix-up cost one widow her dream trip.

The Walnut Creek woman arrived at the airport nearly four hours before her scheduled departure -- yet it wasn't enough time to deal with an unexpected issue.

Araceli Santos enjoyed the sunshine at the Rossmoor retirement community in Walnut Creek.

She recently moved to the Bay Area to be closer to family following the death of her husband at her former home city in Southern California.

This past July, she arrived at the airport excited about her cruise from Norway to the Arctic Circle and the British Isles. It was a reunion of sorts with her best friends from Los Angeles.

"They are all very close to me. We travel a lot. All of us we travel," Santos said.

The four have traveled all over the world, visiting numerous continents.

Her friends were all flying out of LA and would meet her on the cruise ship in Norway, but this trip wasn't meant to be.

The trouble began when Santos checked in at the United terminal and greeted a ticket agent..

"Then he printed my ticket and then he said that your ticket doesn't match your passport. So I said how can that be?" Santos said.

Her passport properly listed her name as "Aracelli Santos"...

But her ticket listed her name as "Santos Santos."

The ticket agent told her she would have to call Expedia, the booking company Santos used, to take care of it.

The call proved frustrating.

"Four times I left a message. I did not get any reply or any email," said Santos.

United offered to rebook her flight, but she would have to buy a new ticket for $1,800.

She refused.

It became obvious she would miss both her flight and her cruise.

"I was so frustrated. I feel like even crying right now. Just, you know, what had happened to me," said Santos.

She would see the photos from her friends from the trip they had planned together. All of her friends smiling, but without her.

Santos not only didn't get to go on her trip, she lost all the money she prepaid -- almost $5,000.

She decided to contact 7 On Your Side. We contacted Expedia.

The company told us: "The name on the ticket reflected the name that was input during the booking process. We know how disappointed Ms. Santos was to miss her cruise. So we're happy to help her rebook."

Expedia is giving her a complimentary cruise for two from anywhere in the world.

"I would like to thank everyone at Channel 7. Everyone," Santos said.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.



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