Traveling by plane can be convenient, especially if you’re traveling longer distances. Before you head to the airport, you should prepare your travel essentials, which includes your belongings and travel documents. Make sure to also double-check that your personal information provided to the airline is correct to avoid any hassle. You don’t want to be at the airport ready to fly, only to be turned away by TSA or the airline for a minor spelling error in your name. If you need to correct the name on your ticket, we’ve compiled tips and major airlines’ policies for you.
Are name changes allowed?
Generally, only minor name changes or corrections are allowed, such as fixing a typo or updating the ticket to reflect a legal name change (e.g. last name change through marriage). Name changes to transfer flight tickets are generally not allowed for a few reasons. First, the airline needs to closely monitor the seat availability and ensure no one is left behind. The second reason is security. After booking, passenger details are being forwarded to TSA in which the passenger will go through the checkpoint and screening – they won’t let you in if you are not the traveler booked!
What if my name recently changed?
The name on your flight booking should match what appears on your government-issued photo ID or passport when you travel. If you recently changed your name, but your photo ID or passport doesn’t reflect the change yet – don’t worry! As per the Department of Transportation’s Fly-Rights, you should be able to fly still given that you bring documentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order). Though that policy is in place, you may still want to use the name that is on your photo ID or passport to avoid the hassle – it’ll make your travel as stress-free as possible.
TIP: If you book a trip for a honeymoon right after the wedding, it is wiser to use your maiden name as it takes months before your passport or visa can be updated to reflect your wedded name.
What are the major airlines’ policy on name changes?
We know it can be stressful when you realize that the name on your booking is incorrect, so we wanted to share the policies of major airlines if you do find yourself in this situation.
Alaska allows one-time minor name correction free-of-charge under the following circumstances:
- Corrections of no more than three letters (i.e. Britny for Britney or Brittany; John for Jon)
- Obvious misspellings (i.e. Jeffrey for Geoffrey, Smith for Smyth, Gonsales for Gonzalez)
- Completing a first name (changing Jeff for Jeffrey, Tom for Thomas, etc.)
- Names inverted (i.e. JOHN/Doe for DOE/John)
- Last name change due to marriage or divorce
Name transfer is allowed by Alaska for a $125.00 name transfer fee plus any difference in fare. Great news! This fee is waived when transferring a ticket from a Gold member to another traveler. However, the name transfer fee does apply when transferring a ticket from a non-Gold member to a Gold member.
AA allows its customers to correct the name to match their TSA government required document(s) for miss-spellings, married/maiden/divorce names, legal names, secondary last name, inverted names, etc. However, name change or transfer to another individual is prohibited.
Delta Air Lines
If you used your nickname “Bob” instead of “Robert”, don’t worry! Delta allows you to correct your first or middle name on the ticket. Corrections to the last name is limited to a maximum of three characters and in case you missed your second name to your hyphenated last name, this can be fixed still as long as it’s not another person. If you ever mistakenly inverted your first and last name at the time of booking, don’t worry, you’re covered.
If you’re unable to travel or if the changes to be done does not fall under the above scenarios, JetBlue allows you to use the value of the ticket subject to its respective reissue fee and fare difference.
With Jetblue, you can have your misspelled name corrected (e.g. First/Middle/Last names; Nickname to Legal name; Inverted names; Adding Middle name; Adding an additional Last name) or if it’s a result of marriage, divorce, or adoption. Only one correction per customer is permitted.
Name change or transfer is not permitted; however, minor name corrections can be made as follows:
First or middle name
Examples (not all-inclusive):
- Add or remove middle initial
- Initial to full name (i.e., S Harris to Sasha Harris)
- Nickname (i.e., Bill to William, Memo to Guillermo or vice versa)
- Misspelled (i.e., Cathryn to Catherine, Vivian to Vivienne or vice versa)
- Incorrect (i.e. John to James)
- If the last name has at least five (5) letters, then the last name correction is limited to three (3) letters.
- If the last name has less than five (5) letters, then the last name correction is limited to two (2) letters.
- Hyphenated name: Add to last name without altering original last name (i.e. Smith/Alyssa to AndersonSmith/Alyssa)
- Inverted name: May invert names without altering spelling of either (i.e., Henry/Edmond to Edmond/Henry)
Regardless if you book your flight with a travel agency or with the airline directly, processing a name correction could take hours to be fixed. To avoid this hassle, review the booking prior to checkout and verify the email confirmation.