Your ticket shows the wrong name. Perhaps, you made a minor spelling mistake, you got married (congratulations!) and changed your maiden name, or someone else is travelling in your stead.
Is your ticket still valid?
You will have to make some changes. Airlines have various name change policies and fees for the procedure. But do not panic! Simply follow our step-by-step guide.
Can I travel with a ticket showing the wrong name?
Unfortunately, this will not be possible. The security officers at the airport usually verify whether your ID or passport corresponds to your boarding pass, and if the name on both documents does not match, you will probably be refused boarding.
The rules are very strict, especially with heightened security on airports in recent years, so if your name has been misspelled, you need to have your ticket reissued.
Otherwise, you may be denied boarding and the airline would not be required to pay you compensation.
Can I change the name myself? Can I do it online?
Name change is only possible if the fare conditions of your flight ticket and your airline permit it. With some air carriers, you can alter the name if you have not checked-in (online) yet.
However, bear in mind that, if you need to make a name change, you always have to contact the booking website/airline. They will need to reissue the ticket with the correct name on it.
How much do I have to pay?
If you found а spelling mistake or realised you need to amend the name on your booking within 24 hours of your purchase, you may be able to cancel it for free.
In 2012, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) enacted a rule, which permits passengers who have booked a non-refundable ticket to cancel it within 24 hours. The only condition is that the booking is made more than 7 days before the flight departure date.
Each airline has its own particular policy regarding name changes. Therefore, you will have to find out the conditions of the particular air carrier/fare class of your booking, to see if name alteration is allowed. These conditions are usually received along with the airline ticket or are available on the carrier’s website. You can always contact the airline’s customer service team if you are unable to find the necessary information on the booking or online.
Head to our section below to find out the name change conditions of some of the largest airlines in Europe:
In general, administration costs/change fees vary with the airline/fare class. Furthermore, change fees can be calculated in various ways:
- single change fee - you pay a one time fee to change your whole booking,
- change fee per passenger, per flight, or per trip segment (when there are connecting flights involved) - the change fee is applied to each leg of your journey,
- change fee per passenger, per flight or segment, plus the difference in rate between old and new booking - if the new ticket is issued later and the price is now higher, it is added to the change fee,
- cancellation fee for the old booking, change fee plus any difference in rate and/or tax - you may have to cancel the old booking and get a new ticket issued (possibly at a higher price).
Additional administrative costs may apply for the processing of the booking.
The good news is that if you only made a minor spelling mistake in your name and found out about it right away, the Customer Service representative may make the change free of charge.
Is the price different when amending a misspelled name and changing the name of the traveller altogether?
Although name change costs and conditions will depend on the particular airline, generally the fees for changing the traveller would often be much higher than fees for simply correcting a spelling mistake. Keep in mind that some airlines will not permit you to amend the name of the person on the ticket at all. You will have to cancel (and possibly pay a cancellation fee) and then make a new reservation (at the current price).
In case of a name change due to marriage, our best advice would be to contact Customer Service as soon as possible and request their assistance. They will probably ask for some supporting documentation and may make the modification without too much hassle.
How long before departure can I change my name on the ticket?
Name change procedures vary depending on the fare conditions and the airline, yet the general rule would be: The sooner, the better.
Some airlines let you amend your name up until 24 hours before departure, others do not allow name changes after online check-in or do not permit it at all, so you will be forced to cancel and rebook.
Meanwhile, under DOT rules in the US, even non-refundable bookings can be cancelled within 24 hours of purchase (unless there are less than 7 days left to departure).
Essentially, you will have to find out the current conditions for your fare class and airline - you can consult our list below or visit the website of the corresponding airline.
I want to change the name on my ticket. What should I do?
- Check conditions.
Read the small print on your reservation or visit the airline website to find out if your airline and your fare conditions permit name change.
- Verify costs/fees.
You will have to find the Fees section of the carrier’s Terms and Conditions (we feel your pain) on the airline website and go to Change and Cancellations or find Name Change on the web page. Read this section carefully as conditions may vary depending on the circumstances.
- Contact customer service.
Once you know the conditions and the fees, you need to get in touch with the relevant Customer service. Bear in mind that you will have to make your request with the company that sold you the ticket. An airline customer service cannot view, alter or cancel the reservation of a booking website; therefore, in case of a reservation made with a third party, you will have to contact them (say, exampleagency.com) and not the air carrier.
If you booked with the airline directly, you need to call their Customer support team. You may have to answer a few security questions correctly to verify your identity.
- Explain clearly.
The Customer service representative can only help you if you provide the necessary information. You will have to state your name as it appears on your ID or your passport and explain how it differs from the name on your flight ticket.
- Let them offer a solution.
Once they know what the problem is, employees can often come up with a quick and even cheaper solution than the one you have prepared for after your preliminary research.
Note: Sometimes it may be less expensive to cancel the booking and make a new reservation, instead of paying change fees for your whole itinerary, plus fare difference. If you choose to rebook, do not forget to cancel your old reservation. Otherwise, the system may detect this as a double booking and automatically cancel one of them.
- Confirm name change and the new name.
After you and the Customer service representative have agreed on the necessary name change, it is important that you provide your name’s correct spelling in a clear manner.
- Check your new ticket.
When you have successfully obtained a new ticket, it is a good idea to verify if the names on your travel ID and your flight ticket match. While you are at it, you may as well double-check all the other important data - fare class, baggage details, seat assignment, etc.
What can I do if a name change is not allowed?
Unfortunately, many airlines do not permit name alterations at all.
In this case, your best option is to cancel the old ticket and book a new one. If you choose to cancel your booking, depending on the fare conditions of your flight ticket, you can request a (partial) refund of the taxes or a reimbursement of the full ticket price. You will still have to pay a cancellation fee, however.
Note: Sometimes, due to change fees and fare difference, cancellation and rebooking may prove to be cheaper than changing your name.
Procedures for various airlines
Here are the name change conditions for some of the busiest airlines in Europe:
easyJet- How to change passenger name?
Changing the name on your ticket with easyJet is calculated per passenger per flight and is cheaper if you do it online and early on.
- More than 60 days before travel - the online fee is £25; through their Call centre you pay £30.
- 60 days or less before travel - the online fee is £50, through their Call centre you would pay £55.
Note: If you want to transfer your booking to another passenger, you do so for a fee, and the sooner you make your request, the lower the cost.
Name change fee with Ryanair is calculated per passenger. If you make amendments at the time of booking, the airline will charge you €/£115. Alternatively, the cost post-booking or at the airport will be €/£160.
British Airways - Changing Passenger Names
The British flag carrier is quite flexible when it comes to changing a passenger’s name. Spelling mistakes can be corrected over the phone which is generally free of charge. Even if you decide to replace the name of the traveller on a recent booking, their 24-hour cooling off period allows you to cancel the booking and receive a full refund.
Note that if other airlines operate parts of the journey on your ticket, matters will become more complicated as name change will also involve the other air carriers. However, if you contact Customer support, they will lead you through the process.
Remember that for bookings made with travel agents or websites, you need to get in touch with their Customer team and not BA.
British Airways’ simplified procedure does not cover package deals or flights booked with hotels, car hire, transfers or experiences. Separate conditions apply for these. Please contact the Customer support team or visit the BA website for further details.
With Thomas Cook name change fees depend on the fare and the date of the booking.
- If you booked before 16/10/2018 - Economy Light fare does not permit name changes, Economy Classic allows name change for a fee, with Flex Option you can make up to 3 name changes with no fee.
- If you booked on or after 16/10/2018 - Economy Light and Economy Classic do not permit name changes, whereas with Flex Option you can make a name change with no fee.
Note that the Economy Light fare section of the website says it allows minimal changes - you can edit a mistake in a name (up to 3 characters) for a fee.
According to the Flight Changes section, the applicable administration fees are determined in relation to flight distance:
- £35 per person, per sector, per change for short-haul flights,
- £50 per person, per sector, per change for medium-haul flights,
- £100 per person, per sector, per change for long-haul flights.
You can find out your flight’s category on Thomas Cook’s official website.
The Irish flag carrier permits name changes at a cost of €100/£80/$157 per person. Note that names may be altered up to two hours before the start of the journey and amendments have to be made for all Aer Lingus flights in the itinerary.
For bookings with airlines other than Aer Lingus in the itinerary, name changes are not permitted.
Wizz Air policy permits you to change your name online up to 3 hours before the scheduled time of departure. You can do this free of charge in the following cases:
- If there are maximum 3 characters to be changed in the name added to your booking,
- if you need to alter the gender (title) of the name,
- if you need to extend an abbreviated name (eg. John T. Smith) to a full name (eg. John Thomas Smith) in order to match your travel document.
Note that you are only permitted to make just one free name change correction in your booking.
In all other cases, the fee would amount to € 45 for each leg of your flight.
Additional fees are charged if you choose to request a name change via the Wizz Air Call Centre.
With Lufthansa it is not possible to make a retroactive name change for a booking.
Your solution in this case would be to cancel your old ticket (if the fare class allows it) and then purchase a new ticket.
The TUI website states that you can rebook your flight, depending on the airline and the fare booked. You are advised to do this by phone or through their Service Center (you can visit their website www.tuifly.com for more information). In addition, if you want to transfer a ticket to another passenger, you can do so in the applicable flight plan period.
We hope this article has been helpful and if you already have the correct name on your ticket.