It’s a question that many travelers have asked themselves: Can I change my name on an airline ticket? Although every airline has procedures in place to help passengers with this issue, factors such as the distance between the ticket and the flight can affect how close you can get to the change.
If you made a mistake while purchasing an airline ticket, most airlines will let you make a small correction to your name. However, if you’ve got a legal name change, getting your reservations and ID all lined up may take a bit more work.
It’s usually a simple process to change the name on a plane ticket. However, make sure to check the details of the booking within the first 24 hours. Since there’s a right to cancel a ticket within the first 24 hours, airlines can’t play hardball. In case your mistake is not something that can be corrected, you can cancel the ticket within 24 hours and rebook with the correct details.
What To Do If You Make A Mistake In Your Name
If you made a minor mistake while entering your name, most airlines will let you fix it online or contact their customer service desk. However, be sure to check the airline’s website or call their customer service department before the last minute to avoid getting kicked out of the airport.
You should always contact the airline or the travel agent you booked with to change the name on a ticket. Usually, major name changes will incur an additional fee. If you find an error while entering your name, contact the airlines or the travel agency you booked with immediately. They’ll do their best to fix it.
Minor changes are permitted, such as adding a new last name or fixing a typo. However, name changes to transfer tickets are not allowed for security reasons. Once a passenger has been booked, their details are forwarded to the Transportation Security Administration.
The name on your flight ticket should match the information on your passport or government-issued photo ID. If it doesn’t, then you should still be able to fly once you present proof of the change.
Although name changes are not allowed on transfer tickets, you should still use the name that’s on your passport or photo ID to avoid the hassle.
TIP: If you’re planning a honeymoon soon after your wedding, it’s best to use your maiden name because updating your passport or visa to reflect your married name can take months.
What Is The Procedure For Changing The Name On A Plane Ticket?
There are three various types of name modifications that can occur, each with its own set of procedures.
Minor Name Corrections
A name change is not considered a name change when it’s done to fix a typo or a spelling mistake. Instead, it’s usually considered a minor name correction.
Minor name corrections could include the following:
- Names for the first time (Jon to Jonathon)
- Initials and surnames (3 letters or fewer)
- Changing the middle name
- Changing your name from an initial to a complete name
- Changing a nickname to a legal name (“Bob” to “Robert”) is a common practice.
- Including a second last name (hyphenated last name)
- First and last names reversed
- Changes in suffixes and prefixes
If you need to make a minor name change, contact the customer service department of your airline and let them know about it. They will then refer you to the appropriate step.
If you have a travel agent, you can inform them about the error and allow them to make the change for you. Sometimes, a minor name correction can limit the number of characters that can be changed. For instance, if you are changing the last name, the limit may be two characters.
Depending on the airline and the agent’s discretion, a minor name correction can be performed. Most airlines allow people to make minor name changes for free. For instance, if you book a ticket with a misspelling, the airline may allow you to make a free name change.
Here are a few more things to consider when making minor name changes:
- If you need to make a number of minor name changes, airlines will usually treat it as a large alteration and charge you to process it.
- If you need to change your gender and/or date of birth in addition to your name, this is typically referred to as a big name change.
- It may be more difficult to make a minor name change if your itinerary includes flights on codeshares or partner airlines.
Major name change
Changing the name on your boarding pass is often referred to as a major name change. However, it can be very expensive.
Fees associated with this type of adjustment could include:
- Fee for changing your name
- Difference in fare between the time you booked and now
The costs might rapidly add up to several hundred dollars in some circumstances. So, unless you want to spend a lot of money, you should attempt to avoid this technique as much as possible.
If you are not allowed to change your name, then you have no other choice but to purchase a new ticket. If your original ticket was non-refundable, then you may be able to receive a flight credit. However, make sure that the expiration date of the credit is indicated.
Legal Name Change
If you need to change your name due to legal issues, such as divorce or marriage, then it’s important that the airlines accommodate you.
Documentation that may be required includes:
- Marriage Certificate
- Order of the Court
- Decree of Divorce
- Alternatively, a legal name change document
You can submit this information through an airline’s website or by sending an email to a specific address. It can take a little bit of time to complete this process, so it is best to submit as soon as possible.
If your name and ID have changed, bring documentation of the change, such as a marriage certificate or a court order.
What Is The Policy Of The Major Airlines When It Comes To Name Changes?
We know that it can be very stressful when you accidentally book an incorrect flight. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the policies of major airlines.
Under the following conditions, Alaska provides free minor name corrections on a one-time basis:
- No more than three letter corrections (i.e. Britny for Britney or Brittany; John for Jon)
- Misspellings that are obvious (i.e. Jeffrey for Geoffrey, Smith for Smyth, Gonsales for Gonzalez)
- Putting the finishing touches on a first name (changing Jeff for Jeffrey, Tom for Thomas, etc.)
- Inverted names (e.g., JOHN/Doe for DOE/John)
- Due to marriage or divorce, you may need to alter your last name.
Alaska Airlines allows name transfers for a fee of $125. However, if you’re transferring a Gold member’s ticket, the fee will not apply.
AA allows its customers to match their name to the document that the TSA requires. However, they cannot change or transfer their name to another individual.
Delta Air Lines
If you used the wrong nickname on your ticket, Delta will allow you to correct it on the ticket. In addition, if you accidentally inverted your last name at the time of booking, Delta will cover it.
If you have a misspelled name, JetBlue will allow its customers to have it corrected. It can also be done if it’s caused by a divorce, adoption, or marriage.
Although it is not possible to modify or transfer one’s name, minor name modifications can be made as follows:
Is it your first or middle name?
Examples (not exhaustive):
- Remove or add a middle initial
- From first name to last name (i.e., S Harris to Sasha Harris)
- Namesake (i.e., Bill to William, Memo to Guillermo or vice versa)
- Spelled incorrectly (i.e., Cathryn to Catherine, Vivian to Vivienne or vice versa)
- Inaccurate (i.e. John to James)
Last name corrections that are permitted:
- The last name correction is limited to three (3) letters if the last name comprises at least five (5) letters.
- The final name correction is limited to two (2) letters if the last name contains less than five (5) letters.
- Hyphenated name: Adding a hyphen to the last name without changing the original last name (for example, Smith/Alyssa to Anderson-Smith/Alyssa).
- Inverted name: You can invert names without changing their spelling (for example, Henry/Edmond becomes Edmond/Henry).
If you book through an agency or an airline, the process of correcting a name could take several hours. To avoid this, review the details of the ticket and confirm the email confirmation.
If you’re just changing a typo, then it’s a simple process to do so. Having the necessary documentation and time to prepare for your flight are also important factors.
Getting ready to make a major name change can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not sure how to proceed. So, make sure to take care of all of your details in advance.
One of the main reasons to make a name change as soon as possible is because most airlines allow you to change your reservation without paying a fee. Also, most of them will allow full-on cancellation within the first 24 hours.
Unfortunately, most airlines won’t allow you to transfer your reservation to another party. Doing so usually comes with a huge fee, and most of them won’t let you do it.
However, if you’re on a budget or a flexible ticket, then a name change is also an option. You can cancel the ticket and then use the refund to book another one in the correct name.