SJO and SJC, Two Cities, Similar Code, Worlds Apart

TICO BULL – I can just see it now, a Brit gets on a plane headed for Pura Vidalandia and ends up in Silicon Valley. It won’t be the first time. Nor the last.

I am talking about San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) and San Jose, California (SJC) and British Airway’s new flights to both cities starting next May.

Just last week I waited for over an hour at the airport waiting for my customer, which never arrive, later to learn that she was in Silicon Valley instead of right here in paradise.

The mistake made by many is not knowing there are two San Jose airports, both sharing a similar code, but worlds apart.

And you would think that travel agents should know better. I can excuse a person making the mistake when booking online, how many really read everything on their screens – San Jose – yep, that’s the one. But a travel agent.

In the case of my customer, she had booked through a travel agency. She did get the flight corrected and landed in San Jose, Costa Rica the following day. But at what cost? Besides the lost day, thousands of unnecessary miles of travel, there is the expenses airport transfers and last-minute hotel rooms. And more.

Years ago, the first time my family was visting me in Costa Rica, their travel agent also made the same mistake. Happy to let me know they had finally booked their flight, they sent me their flight info, when I was able to pick on the error. Fortunately they were able to change the destination before leaving.

Please, when booking your flight to Costa Rica make sure the destination is SJO and not SJC. Double check.


Written by Rico


"In my spare time I'm a really nice guy!" RICO is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion to present reality as he sees it!

  • philipus cooley

    this is great, happened to me! bleary eyed @ 11pm searching online for THE flight on some site this jet blue ad seduced me from the sidebar of my search results. Boom booked it forgot it and day of.. bag checked, boarded sat and relaxed as cabin door closed.. the banter behind me clued me in.. l say aloud california? he’s joking right? we’re headed to costa rica.. negative chorus sounded back and l have to hustle off spend a night on the floor before a 6 am flt next day, bags went on to cali 2 days later to sjo. yes SJO l always double ck this now!

  • G.R.

    This just happened to me except I thought I was supposed to be departing from San Jose, California. Get to the airport, and I’m told my departing airport is San Jose, Costa Rica. I booked my flight through Expedia and didn’t think anything of my confirmation email when I first saw it because it read San Jose SJO. No where in my confirmation email did it read Costa Rica except for the airport code SJO, but who is supposed to know that SJO is for Costa Rica unless you’re an avid traveler?

    • G.R.

      This is how Priceline shows their email confirmation. At least they show San Jose, CA.