Oakland, He Said, but He Went to Auckland Instead


An Oakland man mistook a flight to “Auckland” for one to his hometown and added 12,000 miles to his journey from a holiday in West Germany, customs officials said Tuesday.

Michael Lewis, 22, was at Los Angeles International Airport intending to fly to the Bay area city, 400 miles north, when Air New Zealand officials allowed him to board an aircraft bound for Auckland.

Not until Tahiti was mentioned during an in-flight announcement did Lewis realize his predicament.


Lewis told a customs officer at Auckland Airport that he had arrived in Los Angeles aboard an Air New Zealand flight from London and followed the crowd, many of whom were traveling on to Auckland.

“He was asked where he was going. He said ‘Oakland,’ received a boarding pass and got back on the same aircraft,” the officer said.

After a brief, unscheduled tour Auckland, Air New Zealand officials said they gave Lewis a return ticket to Los Angeles. He arrived on Tuesday afternoon and quickly boarded a plane for Oakland.