It’s happened before. More than once that I know of personally and most likely more often than less. Flights booked. Ready to go. Then comes the realization they are not headed for San Jose, Costa Rica, but, rather for San Jose, California.

In flight from Italy, woman realizes she is going to San Jose, Costa Rica and not San Jose, California (pictured above). Photo James Tensuan, The Chronicle

However, for Callie Zucker and her family, the opposite occurred. The Zucker’s hometown is Lafayette, California. On Holiday in Florence, Italy, Zucker’s family members booked on separate return flights set for a Wednesday flight from Florence to San Jose, California.

They never made it to San Jose, at least not the one they were expecting to arrive at.

The Lufthansa Airlines flight actually landed in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was two hours into their flight when Zucker discovered that the flight wasn’t headed for California, but rather for Costa Rica. Way south, thousands of miles in fact, of their intended destination.

“There was nothing we could do at that point except wait until we got to San José,” Zucker told ABC’s WMTV affiliate.

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.

The error cost the Zucker’s US$1,500 each. “Lufthansa is definitely going to have to reimburse us. I think,” she said.

“I think,” she said.

After 48 hours of travel and a layover in Panama City, the duo finally touched down at San Francisco International Airport (SJC) in the late afternoon Friday.


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