/ Travel & Leisure

Why are ‘name change fees’ on airline tickets sky high?

Ticketing sign in airport

If you make a mistake typing your name when booking a flight online it could cost as much as £100 to fix it. So, if you leave the auto-fill function on, or accidentally use your nickname, it could prove very costly…

If you’re anything like me, booking an online flight can make you feel as though you suffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder.

Before I click that all-important confirmation button, I tend to read, re-read and then read again all my details to make sure they’re correct. This might seem a little over the top but I don’t want to risk being charged a huge fee to amend my name or to correct a simple mistake.

And with good reason – my partner and I have been stung by these name-change charges in the past, when he booked a flight for me from Glasgow Prestwick to London with Ryanair.

While he was making the booking, he had the ‘auto-fill’ function enabled on his computer which meant the flight was booked in his name instead of mine. He noticed this after receiving the e-ticket and contacted the airline immediately to amend the booking. But, he was told he had to pay a name-change fee. In the end it worked out cheaper to buy a new ticket instead of changing the name.

Charges vary between airlines

If you mistakenly book your flight in your married name instead of your maiden name or in the name of Kate when your full name is Kathleen, for instance, then you’re likely incur a fee. And name change charges can vary significantly between airlines.

Monarch and Ryanair charge a flat fee per booking of £100. Bmibaby, Easyjet, Flybe and Jet2 charge a flat fee per single flight plus any difference in price between the day you booked and the day you make your amendment.

This difference could end up being quite a pricey charge, especially if you bought a really cheap ticket to begin with.

Errors shouldn’t be penalised

Airlines say they charge a name-change fee to prevent anyone from buying up large numbers of the cheapest tickets, changing the names and then selling them on for profit – which makes sense.

But, there is a difference between an overall name change and a simple error or amendment. Bmibaby, Flybe and Thomson do allow a 24-hour grace period for genuine spelling errors. But if you don’t notice your spelling mistake until you print out your e-ticket, this grace period will probably have elapsed.

Easyjet and Jet2 told us they would correct spelling errors at no extra cost while Monarch and Ryanair said they would do so on a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee dodging a hefty charge is to double check that all your details are entered correctly. So I’ll just have to put up with being a little obsessive when booking flights in future…

Comments
Guest
Tristan Jackson says:
4 February 2015

£185 to change £110 flight for two 24hrs later because my pregnant wife needed an emergency scan. Cheers Easy Jet.

£95 to change £90 flight as someone dropped out of a stag do and I managed to find a replacement. Cheers Flybe.

Is there someone actually campaigning against this, rather than just aimlessly venting on here?

Guest
cath martin says:
5 March 2015

we should stand against this charge ..i was told by passpoert office to keep using my passport even tho i got married because it still had 6 years on it ..but thomas cook charged me 110 quid even tho i had my marriage lines with me as passport office said to do??? m kept waiting both sides of holiday s*** eh

Guest
David Christou says:
2 May 2015

So you think that is bad!
I booked via a very well know online holiday company, ATOL members etc and very reputable (I won’t name the company at the moment as I have started my complaint today, 2nd May 2015 and want to give them the opportunity to reconsider the decision made over the phone on a Saturday morning??? never fear I will tell you all if this unreasonable behaviour continues) I booked a flight for a family of 3 to fly to Manila via Hong Kong for 3 nights, I gave all names in good faith, received the e-tickets etc in a matter of a few days following my deposit payment, job done or so I thought!
My wife realised that I had booked all tickets in my surname but her passport still contained her maiden name, what happened next was the beginning of a telephone nightmare, I contacted the ticket provider to be told that it would cost £1300 approximately to cancel my original ticket (original cost was around £800) and re-book! or contact Philippines Airlines and they will do it, no chance, PA UK suggested that I speak to HQ in the Phils, my wife done that bit as she is a native of the country, that did n’t work as they wanted £1450 to do the same thing as the ticket issuer, I was then told to re contact my provider AND Phils Airways in the UK, the provider has stuck to their guns but now wants to add an admin charge plus the cost of the new ticket.
With steam leaving my ears I re contacted PA in the UK and spoke with Tanya, a lady that new her stuff and actually tried to deal with my error in a positive way rather than just throwing me to the wolves of the extortionate fees industry, she had a very sympathetic ear but certain people were not available due to the bank holiday weekend, just my luck as I was seething and looking for a fairly immediate resolution, not to be at this stage.
I do hope that someone with authority picks up on the comments made on this page, it is daylight robbery at it’s best, what other industry would get away with it????
I will come back to this site and let you know the result of my attempt at trying to get Goliath to see David’s reason.
Try not to forget maiden names in passports chaps.

Regards

David

Guest
tittu says:
16 June 2015

we brought a ticket with travelexpertzz.com .we send our passport copies and all document but they done mistake my first name . I contracted travelexpertzz and Qatar air ways .they are not corrected. please give a advise.
my travel agent is not responding . Qatar airways said to me contract your travel agent.

Guest
tittu says:
16 June 2015

we brought a ticket with travelexpertzz.com .we send our passport copies and all document but they done mistake my first name . I contracted travelexpertzz and Qatar air ways .they are not corrected. please give a advise.
my travel agent is not responding . Qatar airways said to me contract your travel agent.

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
Guest

Morning Tittu, and thanks for your post. If the name on your ticket is misspelt you may be denied boarding or entry into the country you’re visiting. As it’s the error of the company, then they are obliged to amend the name/s free of charge. In your position, I’d call and email the company.

You will not be able to use the ticket until the name has been amended.

Guest
nigel says:
8 July 2015

my daughter & her boyfriend have booked a holiday to mexico but have fallen out . his name is the main name on the booking form , but she payed most of the holiday off & she has recepts to prove it . does any1 know if he can just change her name on the holiday without telling her & without any sort of compensation

Guest
Emma-Leigh says:
10 September 2015

My situation is a little different: so we originally booked online with Thomson way back in April to go to Tunisia. We put in all our names as they are on our passports – my son is from my first marriage so he has a double-barrel name (as an example) he is known as Bob Smith-Jones at the doctors, dentist and school, but his passport says Bob Jones.
Fast forward a few months and Tunisia became unsafe, so we went in branch to change our booking. The rep asked for all our names, so we gave them but our son’s we gave as Bob Smith-Jones (given the amount of time that had passed since the original booking we had forgotten that names had to match passports). She did not advise us that the names had to match exactly when taking the booking, so it wasn’t until I printed out our boarding passes that I wondered if the names had to match (I’d inputted the additional passenger info online a few weeks previously and I believe there was another message on there saying the api had to match the passport). When I contacted Thomson they advised that there would still be a £50 charge as it we had signed the contract saying all details were correct (technically they were, it’s only on his passport that it says Jones, not Smith-Jones!). I feel this is unfair as the rep didn’t advise about the need to match names to passports at the time of booking. Any thoughts?

Guest
Emma-Leigh says:
10 September 2015

Forgot to say that online there is a message when you input names to say they MUST match the passports, which is why I feel it is unfair that the rep in branch didn’t relay the same thing (or even look at the original booking that had the correct names!).

Profile photo of NicholasJolliffe
Guest

I cancelled my Which? membership (of 10+ years) on this issue after being told it was not a consumer issue but a legal one and that could join Which? Legal . This is a bread and butter Which? issue so not much hope if they say otherwise …

If I give it another 2 years 3 months I’ll have saved about the same amount Easyjet relieved me of for changing a surname. Unfortunately I got one of eight muddled.

Guest
Helen Thomas says:
13 June 2016

i always check and double check all details, i used to do this for a living but recently i booked a flight with Etihad and the title was wrong on the e-ticket, it is impossible to check this on the confirmation page as only the name of passenger appears and no titles. I phoned them to ask if they would change this but they claimed i would have to pay 120USD or they may refuse boarding. I was not expecting such extortion for what i believe was their mistake in the first place and for such inconsequential information as my gender. The API and my visa had the correct title so who is the airline to decide if i was born male or female anyway and what gives them the right to refuse boarding based on their perceptions. This airline has acted disgracefully, ultimately i cancelled my flight and i am currently out of pocket due to this.

Guest
Muhammad Owais Razzak says:
30 June 2016

I have had my e-tickets from Etihad only issue I have is that I have my wife’s title wrong to MR instead of Mrs.
I have heard online from folks that normally this has not been a problem and its goes unnoticed by air ticket counter when issuing boarding pass. However when we called the call centre they are charging us a hefty £110 charge. The opinion so far has been that if name matches it title does not matter. I have updated our profile through manage bookings option as well.

Guest
yddraig says:
28 October 2016

I recently booked a flight for a friend via omegaflightstore.com, flying in April 2017 via China Southern Airlines on a return flight between China and France.

My friend, I’ve always known by a particular forename, (their middle name, “M”), as they don’t like their actual forename “P”. So, when booking the flight, I used “M” as that’s what I’ve always called them.

I paid online £670 and the confirmation email arrived but as I went to click the link and enter their Advanced Passenger Information I realized that I had used the wrong forename. I contacted Omega the following morning and advised them of my mistake and was instructed to send their customer services an email with a scan of the passport which I did that evening.

The following day I received an email in reply stating that China Southern wouldn’t change the name and as the ticket was non-refundable and non-changeable my only option was to cancel the ticket and have a refund of the service tax, which after deducting Omega’s “admin fee” of £50 gives me refund of “approx” £6.

I contacted China Southern’s London office direct who said they wouldn’t change the ticket.
After a little research it appears that other airlines, will, particularly if notified quickly.

So, a cautionary tale – a stupid mistake costs me £670, China Southern should have an empty seat, and my friend doesn’t get their return trip to Paris.

Be warned – make sure you check the details entered very very carefully before clicking, “pay now”

And yes, this seems like a licence to fleece customers for an honest mistake…..

Guest
Thomas says:
18 November 2016

I booked at China Southern, first I wrote my first name, middle name and surname in a correct order. Then I’ve checked the form and changed the order, because I was not sure what comes first, surname or first name. The boxes for names had no labels. The information in which box one should write which name was inside the box, when you write the name it disappears. I’ve checked it afterwards.
To keep the story short, after I paid for the ticket I noticed that the sequence of names is wrong. I called the China Southern, even talked to a nice English speaking lady, she talked to the supervisor and I had to cancel the ticket, as they only change some letters (up to 3 as I remember). They cannot change the order of the names. And this all after I had bought this ticket 20 minutes earlier. Cancelling $340.
I’ve cancelled and bought another ticket, this time paying more attention. A costly mistake.

Guest
Guy says:
27 June 2017

Malaysian airlines just charged me £100 for name change. My error. But £100 to alter part of a name? On an eticket? Profiteering, exploitation… it hurts. But what ya gonna do?? According to them, despite the flight departure being a month away, I’m lucky it’s just £100.
Lucky me. Lucky us.