Huge myth busted in Europe after airport ad about Australia went viral

If you accidentally fly to Austria instead of Australia, there is not a dedicated desk at the airport waiting to help you.

And there is definitely not an SOS button specifically for travellers who confused the two countries 14,000km apart.

People across the world have been fooled into thinking so in the past fortnight when posts claiming the above went viral on social media.

One TikTok alone gained 4.9 million views in just over two weeks.

The rumour has been so widely circulated and believed, Austria’s Salzburg Airport has had to officially deny it.

Writing on Facebook on Tuesday, the airport said in a post that in recent days it had requests all the way from Washington and Sydney wanting to know if it was true.

The airport said no counter had ever existed and it is believed the rumour stemmed from an old advertisement at the airport, which has been shared out of context.

The billboard on a baggage carousel read: “Sorry this is Austria, not Australia! Need help? Press the button.” It was for an Austrian-based company that sells intercom systems.

In smaller font the ad said: “Commend provides Security and Communication. From Salzburg to the rest of the world. Even for the most unlikely of situations.”

After confirming the rumour about the Australian help counter was far from true, Salzburg Airport said: “In any case, we would like to congratulate the creative minds behind this ingenious advertising idea and look forward to all guests who want to go on vacation in our beautiful region and land at Salzburg Airport!”

On TikTok, the viral videos mostly involved creators saying if you are ever having a bad day or accidentally take the wrong bus or train, to remember there is a dedicated counter for people who had flown to Austria instead of Australia.

The false claim was quickly believed, with social media users wanting to know if Australian airports had the same counter for travellers who meant to fly to the European country.

Many didn’t think the concept was very far fetched given the times they had witnessed people confuse the countries.

“I was born in Austria and let me tell you the number of times I’ve said I’m from Austria and people jump straight to talking about Melbourne and kangaroos,” wrote one person.

“I was just in Austria and there were souvenirs saying ‘no kangaroos in Austria,’” said another.

Over on X, formerly Twitter, one viral post with a picture of the billboard claimed: “More than 100 passengers a year fly to Austria when they meant to fly to Australia. So Salzburg Airport has a special counter for them.”

That would mean the mistake would be made once every three days.

Susanne Buchebner, deputy head of public relations for Salzburg Airport, told the Washington Post not only was the counter non-existent, she had “never heard of anyone travelling to Salzburg by mistake, when they actually wanted to go to Australia.”

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