/ 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…

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.

Andrew Caughey says:
21 October 2017

I paid a fee of £650 for a family member to fly with Thai Airways, she cannot now come, i had another family member who wanted to take her place.
I notified Trailfinders, the trip was booked via them, i was told that the flight details cannot be amended, her flight will be cancelled and the maximum i will get back is 50%. In addition to this they cannot guarantee that i will be able to rebook this seat for the other family member.
Firstly, i understand that this requires a few minutes keyboard work to change a name and details, i would be prepared to pay for this without a problem, but to cancel the whole flight and rebook a seat, not necessarily the same one, whilst charging me £325!! NOT ACCEPTABLE AT ALL!!!!!

Carolyn Wilkins says:
29 July 2018

Today I accidentally used the auto-fill function on my computer when filling in my name on an EasyJet booking. I did not realise that this had also overwritten the name of the first named passenger, and it was not until I was going through the confirmation that I noted with dismay that the booking was for Mr Carolyn XXXXX and Mrs Carolyn XXXXX. The EasyJet booking system would allow me to change the incorrect name, but at a price of £20 per change.
Luckily, I found an EasyJet number to call (0330 365 5000), and the member of staff could not have been more pleasant or helpful. She informed me that they could deal with name changes within 24 hours of booking FREE OF CHARGE.
One happy customer!!!!!