Flight home to Saginaw turns into headache for doctor - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flight home to Saginaw turns into headache for doctor

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(07/01/13) - It's no secret that airport security is very tight these days, and with good reason.

With all that security, you would think anyone who was on a plane has a ticket for that particular flight.

That was not the case for a doctor who was flying back to Saginaw in April, or so he thought.

Doctor Dan Duffy says he flies several times a year, out of some of the country's busiest airports, but a busy departure gate at Chicago's O'Hare airport has caused the doctor a huge headache.

"The name Saginaw is right on the gate," remembers Dan Duffy.

The doctor and a friend knew there were three departing flights from the same gate at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, but United Airlines employees didn't seem confused with their boarding passes.

"They scan it, somebody else later on directs me down some stairs and towards a gate, somebody else circles and initials my boarding pass, to make sure I'm on the right plane, I guess," Duffy thought.

Duffy says the flight was fine until a rough landing in the ice and snow in what appeared to be a typical spring storm in Michigan. They got their luggage and went to the parking lot.

"I was trying to make my car alarm go off, because everything is covered in snow and sleet," he says.

This was also the first time he flew into the new MBS International Airport terminal, so while it didn't look familiar, it wasn't until he looked at the car license plates that he realized he wasn't in Saginaw County.

"All the license plates say Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Wisconsin," Duffy realized.

Instead of boarding a flight to Saginaw, Duffy and his friend were put on a plane to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

"I don't particularly remember any overhead announcement saying that you are arriving in Eau Claire or heading for Eau Claire," Duffy says.

United Airlines employees at that airport said they couldn't help them.

"So we are stranded there, now as a physician, I have people in this hospital, I have to see them on a routine basis, I can't be 24 hours late," Duffy said.

So, Duffy and his friend got a rental car and drove to Saginaw, at a cost of $750. The airlines will give Duffy $260 in vouchers for their trouble, but Duffy is not happy with that.

"They put you through so much rigorous security, to the point they can't help you when you are in trouble, but at the same security didn't work that time," Duffy says.

We talked with a United Airlines representative and he says there were a number of announcements on the plane that it was heading to Eau Claire.  

He says the $260 voucher offer is appropriate compensation.

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