AIRPORT staff are investigating after an elderly passenger boarded the wrong Ryanair flight and ended up 1,000 miles from home.
Pawel Lawreniuk, 75, had been visiting his daughter Lucyna's family in the UK over Christmas and was due to fly home to Gdansk, Poland from Leeds Bradford Airport on Sunday, January 6.
But the pensioner was somehow allowed onto a different flight to the Mediterranean island of Malta and only realised he had landed in the wrong country when he hailed a taxi at the airport to take him home.
The taxi driver did not speak a word of Polish and Mr Lawreniuk was told by a staff member at the information desk: "I am sorry sir but I don’t speak Polish."
Luckily for Mr Lawreniuk, a female tourist from Poland overheard the conversation and helped him contact his daughter to book another flight to Gdansk that same day.
Swissport, the handling agency for Ryanair at Leeds Bradford Airport, apologised for the mix-up in a statement.
"The passenger had undergone all airport security screening before boarding the flight and had a valid passport which had been checked," a Swissport spokesperson told The Bradford Telegraph and Argus.
"We are investigating how this occurred and we are re-briefing all staff on procedure.
"We would like to apologise to Mr Lawreniuk for the inconvenience caused."
Mr Lawreniuk eventually returned home later that day onboard one of only two flights that leave Malta for Gdansk per week.
However, his daughter Lucyna Lawreniuk, 34, said she remained angry about the incident.
"I cried, I was scared - he was in a different country, a different place. I don't know how it is possible for him to make it all the way to Malta," she said.
"Today I spoke with him about everything and he's had bad dreams - I'm worried about him, but hopefully everything will be okay".
Lucyna, who lives in Bradford in West Yorkshire, added: "My father told me he doesn't want to come to me next year. He doesn't want to fly anymore.
"If someone didn't come forward, I'm not sure what would have happened - he had no money, no phone, he can't really do anything alone."