Ticket showing the wrong name? Here’s how to get on the plane.

Imagine trying to check in for a flight only to be stopped because your name is wrong on the ticket. A small oversight – like a missing letter or using a preferred name instead of a legal name – could cause big delays with airline agents and security personnel. When you find an error, take action immediately. Here’s some advice.

When can you change a name on a plane ticket?

As soon as an itinerary or ticket is issued, carefully check (and double-check) all of the passenger name details. Airlines place significant emphasis on security regulations and confirming the identity of passengers. Whether using a travel arranger or an online booking tool (OBT), travelers should always confirm that the name on their ticket matches the legal identification they use for travel.

Depending on the scenario, name changes on tickets are allowed. Airline policies, terms and conditions may define circumstances differently, but some common name change scenarios are:

  1. Typos and spelling mistakes: Many airlines permit agents to make minor name corrections, but a fee may be assessed.
  2. Legal name change: If the name on the flight ticket has to be updated after a marriage or a name change due to other legal circumstances, the airline may require relevant documentation (marriage certificate, marriage dissolution papers, etc.) as proof of the change. Some airlines allow this type of change free of charge, while others don’t allow it at all. In the second case, the airline ticket may need to be canceled and rebooked. If a passport has already been issued in the new name, then the flight ticket must also be issued in this name. If a visa or travel authorization is required to enter the destination country, the name on these documents must also match the name on the identification documents.
  3. Completely different name: If a traveler wants to change the name on a ticket because someone else is planning to take the flight, it won’t happen. This type of move is only allowed with a transferable airline ticket.

How to change the name on your plane ticket

To change the name on an airline ticket, contact the airline or travel agent you booked with as soon as you realize a change is necessary. This is because many airlines have a deadline for name changes (usually 24 hours before departure). If the error is discovered at check in, the traveler must work directly with airline staff to resolve it.

Most airlines have customer service representatives available via phone, email, or online chat. Provide them with all the relevant details, including your booking reference, the correct spelling of the name, and any supporting documentation, such as a passport or ID. Be patient on the call. Remember the customer service representative is there to assist you.

Airlines may allow minor name corrections without any additional charges, especially if the mistake is evident and does not involve a significant change. Examples of this might be a letter being left off of a name or booking a flight in the name “Becca” instead of “Rebecca.” When name correction fees apply, the fee charged depends on ticket type, when and how the ticket was booked, how the correction is made and, in some cases, whether payment of any fare/tax differences is required. Here also, there may be cases where the flight may have to be canceled and rebooked.

You may also find changes difficult or impossible in destination countries with strict entry requirements, especially when visas are required. If the airline has a strict name-change policy or if the correction goes beyond a simple spelling error, an airline representative can assist with details on terms and actions you’re permitted to take.

Need help fixing the name on a plane ticket? Try social media.

If you encounter challenges with the airline’s customer service, consider reaching out to them via social media. Many airlines actively monitor their social media channels and respond promptly to customer inquiries. Clearly state your issue, provide necessary details, and request assistance. Social media platforms can sometimes get you to help faster.

To avoid security delays and travel issues, double-check all passenger detail information while booking tickets. This is the best opportunity to review and correct any errors before finalizing the reservation. Taking these proactive measures can save you time, money and frustration.

  • Carefully review your ticket upon receipt.
  • If you spot a problem, immediately contact your airline’s customer service department or your travel arranger.
  • Try social media channels for faster help.
  • Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, e.g., legal ID, a valid passport, or marriage, divorce or other legal paperwork.
  • Review the airline’s policies regarding name corrections.
  • Remember: fees may apply.
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