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Welcome to the Wrong Airport!

Sriwijaya Air

Hats off to Sriwijaya Air for keeping the mystery and spontaneity alive in travel.

On October 13, a flight on the Indonesian airline left from Medan in North Sumatra and was headed to Minangkabau. Except—oops—the plane landed at Padang’s Tabing airport instead.

An exciting turn of events for travelers, right? What new adventure might await beyond the runway?

To be fair to the pilot, apparently the two airports are less than 5 miles apart from each other, and both have just one runway that runs parallel to the coastline. But alas, turns out you can’t even find a Starbucks or Cinnabon at Tabing: the former commercial airport is currently only used by the country’s air force.

The pilot gave no immediate explanation, and Indonesian authorities, calling the incident “very serious,” have gotten the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders from the flight to aid in the investigation. Perhaps they’ll learn that the crew was given bad information, or that they just missed a turn while debating what will happen on the next season of Downton Abbey.

In the meantime, Sriwijaya Air has grounded both the captain and first officer. Beyond the fact that, thankfully, no one was hurt, there no word on the flight’s 96 passengers, who no doubt burst into carefree laughter and merriment upon learning they were at the wrong airport.

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