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In this video posted in 2011 by popular youtubers Rhett and Link, a story is presented that I cannot reconcile with reality. Can you help me determine A)if this scenario could possibly happen, and B) how?

The following story is presented as fact (although that doesn't necessarily mean we should believe it. Although not impossible, it is my opinion, as a long-time follower of the channel, that it would be out of character for them to have truly made this up. They could be confused though!)

  • Rhett and Link get an itinerary from Delta via email for a flight from RDU to SLC. (They don't tell us if they purchased the ticket, or if someone purchased it for them).
  • Upon arrival at RDU, they receive boarding passes at the checkin counter that says it's for travel from RDU to SLC with no indication of a connection. The total travel time is ~5-5.5 hours. (I'm not sure if they've accounted for time zones).
  • They find their gate, and the sign above the gate says, "Salt Lake City." They scan their boarding passes and get on the plane.
  • Link claims to have slept through most of the flight, but Rhett says he stayed awake the whole time.
  • About 2 hours into the flight, Rhett notices they are landing at MSP -- not SLC.
  • Confused, Rhett and Link ask a flight attended what's going on, and the flight attendant tells them to ask a gate agent when they land. (No one else on the flight is confused).
  • Upon landing, the gate agent tells them to take their boarding pass to another gate, where a different plane is waiting. (The sign above the gate reads "Salt Lake City").
  • They use their original boarding passes to board this new flight at the new gate, but they take the same exact seats as on the previous plane. (They have different people around them, though).
  • The plane took them (and their checked bags) to SLC without further incident.

Here are my thoughts so far: Occasionally flights do continue on with the same flight number but a different aircraft (a "change of gauge"). However, when this happens it has been my experience that this is announced frequently and clearly, and that it is noted in big print on the boarding pass. Furthermore, the sign at the gate in RDU would have said "Minneapolis." Also, as I recall, passengers generally get new seat assignments -- having the same seats seems really weird... what if it's a different aircraft, or someone else purchased your seats for only the second segment prior to you booking the first one?

Any help would be appreciated!

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    For the signs, I would think they would have shown both. In some locations, this is done by alternating the stops rather than displaying it all at once, which may explain what they saw. Note that since this is a single “flight” (with a stop) and not a connection, it’s perfectly possible nothing was shown on the boarding pass (not sure there would even be a space for that). Not something I’ve experienced though, so hopefully someone who has can confirm how this all works. – jcaron Dec 12 '19 at 6:44
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    The signs should have indicated both destinations. On boarding pass you may have only the final one (and same flight number) in case of no change of aircraft, but sometime they could change it because other reasons (and last minute, e.g. for maintenance). In my experience, maybe just 1 in 20 would take both segments of same flight. I think they are minimizing/hiding some details (extra sign/announcements "sleeping"). they are storyteller, and so you may need to "interpret" reality, – Giacomo Catenazzi Dec 12 '19 at 11:55
  • Ok -- I agree that the sign at RDU could have been scrolling or flashing back and forth or something, so maybe they only saw it when it said MSP, and were super-oblivious the rest of the time... but that still doesn't explain the seat assignments. Hmmm. – Bunji Dec 12 '19 at 13:56

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