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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Pilot caught in Manchester mix-up
Continental Airlines plane
Continental Airlines refunded the money and paid for a new ticket
A trainee pilot who thought he had booked a flight from Los Angeles back home to England ended up 3,000 miles adrift in the wrong Manchester.

Jim Hourihan, 52, asked for a flight to Manchester, England when he made the booking with Continental Airlines.

But he realised there had been an error when he saw his connecting flight in Cleveland, Ohio - a 50-seater plane heading to Manchester, New Hampshire.

"Everyone seems to find it funny apart from me," said the businessman.

Mr Hourihan, from Huyton, Merseyside, thought he had found a bargain when he booked the "transatlantic flight" for 185.

But he became concerned when the plane touched down in Cleveland and he saw his connecting flight.

My wife and daughters have been laughing their heads off and I can see the funny side now - even if I didn't at the time
Jim Hourihan

Mr Hourihan said: "I was already pretty certain something was up, then I saw this little plane and I thought, 'That's never taking us to Manchester'.

"I had to board anyway because my luggage was on board. Then the pilot said the flight would take one hour and 40 minutes, and my heart sank.

"At that point, I was in despair because I had no idea how much it was going to cost me or when I would get home."

Continental refunded the cost of the ticket, paid for his onward flight to Manchester, England and put him up in a hotel overnight.

'Miscommunication' blamed

Mr Hourihan, who had been in California to train for a pilot's licence, was interviewed for local television in the town, which is in the north-east of the US.

He added: "My wife and daughters have been laughing their heads off and I can see the funny side now - even if I didn't at the time."

A spokesman for Continental Airlines said the error had come from a "miscommunication" between Mr Hourihan and a reservations agent.

"The fare he paid was less than a third of the fare applicable for travel to Manchester, England.

"Once Mr Hourihan contacted Continental from Manchester, New Hampshire, the airline rebooked him on flights to Manchester, England at no extra charge, as well as giving him accommodation and meal vouchers."

Mr Hourihan arrived in Manchester, England, at 0800 BST on Wednesday - more than 24 hours later than he had hoped.

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