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How much farther? Couple mistakenly flown to Caribbean island Grenada, not Granada, Spain

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WASHINGTON - A District of Columbia couple has sued British Airways, saying the airline ruined their vacation by booking them tickets to the Caribbean island of Grenada instead of Granada, Spain.

Edward Gamson and Lowell Canaday said in their lawsuit they wanted to travel from Washington to London and then to Granada, Spain. Gamson, a dentist who has an office in Maryland, said he explained his travel plans to a British Airways agent who made the reservation.

The lawsuit said the couple received an electronic ticket that referred to "Grenada" but didn't list the country, airport code or flight duration. The couple made it to London, but their connecting flight went to the Caribbean, not Spain. They didn't realize the mistake until they were airborne, the lawsuit said.

British Airways said in a statement Wednesday that it has been in regular contact with the couple and have offered extensive assistance. The couple declined an offer of new flights to Granada and the airline provided alternate complimentary flights and enough frequent flyer points for a future trip, the statement said.

Gamson said in a telephone interview that they discovered the mistake when they looked at a back-of-the-seat television monitor showing the plane headed west on a map. They then asked a member of the airline's crew what was going on.

"He said 'Spain? What are you talking about,'" Gamson said.

British Airways eventually got the couple, to Lisbon, Portugal, where Gamson had planned to attend a dental conference, Gamson said. But the couple never got to see Granada's palaces as planned. Gamson said the airline offered them several hundred dollars as well as a total of 100,000 miles, but he had used roughly 376,000 frequent flyer miles and a companion voucher to book his ticket and didn't think the offer was acceptable.

"It's minimal compared to what the real damages are," Gamson said.

The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Washington in March and asked for $34,000 in compensation plus court costs and other expenses. In early June, a judge denied a motion by the airline to dismiss the case.

The lawsuit said they weren't the only passengers misrouted. When they arrived in the Caribbean, a member of the ground crew told them that "the exact same situation" had happened the week before, the lawsuit said.

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Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

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