/ 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
charlotte says:
21 August 2012

I booked a holiday to China/Japan for October 2012 with my usual travel agent STA who on all previous bookings used my correct name. but for some reason this time round the agent missed out one of my surnames (its double barrel). I didn’t even realise the mistake until I went back to sort out my Chinese Visa and another agent noticed the mistake. So far they are saying KLM are charging me £40 to change the name (though my agent called today and said this may be wrong and i might have to pay more) while my flight between china and japan is going to be another £188. For something that isn’t even my fault I think it’s ridiculous but there’s nothing I can do as I didn’t realise the mistake sooner. whats worse it that my original tickets are non refundable so I won’t see a penny back. Has anyone managed to get any money back?

Steve A says:
13 September 2012

RE Monarch’s £100 name change fee. I guess it depends on the circumstances but I put my wife’s married name where I should’ve put her maiden name because that’s what is on her PP. After nearly choking when trying to do it online because of the fee, when I called up to explain Monarch duly obliged free of charge as long as I faxed a copy of our Marriage certificate and her PP.

If you still don’t get anywhere, I heard of someone saying they told BA they were dyslexic when then put Juyd instead of Judy!

I bought a ticket for friend and I. When I went to the travel agency she told me that it is fine with one surname as my friend got two surname on her passport. She also told me that there is only two sit available so I bought the ticket, while checking where my place in the flat I would want I then sow that there were plenty of free sits. I did bough my ticket but was intrigue on why she told me few minute back that there were only two sits???
Few weeks after the friend surname should have been written full as on her passport. So I called the agency saying that there were a missing name so the agency told me that the ticket will have to cancelled then I said that is not acceptable then the travel agency said again I may have to pay a fee. Which I am still speechless… When I confront her she said that I have sign the agreement.

Bob Petrie says:
27 September 2012

I thought your readers may wish to hear of a recent experience involving easyJET, in order to avoid the problems we have had. Basically, my wife and I wanted to take our daughter and a friend for a break in Crete and thus, in May of this year we booked four flights at what we considered a very reasonable price of £150 each.Unfortunately, several weeks before we were due to depart, it became apparent that our daughter’s friend would not be able to come with us. Thinking we had a “free” spare place, we agreed that our daughter could invite another friend as a substitute. When we came to change the names on the ticket, we were horrified to discover that easyJET charge £35 to remove one name, another £35 to replace it, PLUS the difference between the original purchase price of the ticket and the, then, current price. In total the cost was £236 ! We complained and appealed but they stonewalled on what I considered to be very spurious grounds and so, in the end, we felt we had no choice other than to pay up. Only guess what ? By the time we came to do so the difference in prices from the original to the current cost had gone up !! In total we had to pay just under £280 !!

This feels like a rip off. We’d paid for the ticket once and had anticipated only a small administrative charge to alter the names on the tickets. In the event it feels like we had to pay for the ticket twice and at almost twice the original price second time around. But, seemingly, this practice is fairly widespread and is contained somewhere in easyJETs codes and conditions – a bit like the banks, really, I suppose !! We won’t be using easyJET again !!

Donna says:
8 October 2012

I booked 2seats for Manchester to Barcelona in august 2012 I booked it for October the 6th to 8th ,I must have made a mistake there saying because it’s for nxt year as idealised when we got to the airport where they wanted to charge me £200 per seat 1 way ,and the lady on customer services told me it happens a lot but they won’t change the set up on the web page as they make a fortune

mick edwards says:
18 November 2012

I booked flights for my family of ten ,Printed out the itinerary then noticed i had left an a out of Barbara,
Went into my booking and clicked on change name. this requested a fee of £100 .Rather than proceed
I sent an E-mail to Monarch’s customer service dept.explaining my error,and requested help.Within 30 minutes I received a reply to say that the mistake had been corrected at no cost.
Well and thank you Monarch for your first class service.

mayank says:
16 December 2012

I have booked tickets for my fiancee in qatar airways, aegan airlines, olympic airlines and saudia airlines. i have done the bookings using her name as per her passport. In all the bookings i have put Mrs. since we will be travelling after the marriage. i hope that should not be a problem as an indian passport does not indicate wether ur married or unmarried. O r do i need to change her tickets from Mrs. to Miss

Jake says:
17 January 2013

My passport name is not accompanied by a title i.e Mr/Mrs/Ms.
I notice that in my booking form I am titled as Mrs. Does this matter? I am travelling to the USA on BA flights.

Andrew says:
15 March 2013

£100.00 to change Tiku to Tikendra with Monarch

Simon says:
25 March 2013

Hi,
I’ve booked flights on Jet2 to Tenerife from East Midlands airport.

The party is myself and my 2 kids (family name Humphreys) and my partner and her 3 kids (family name TUNNEY) By mistake I’ve used her surname for my 2 kids air tickets…

We’ve been charged £202 for 2 surname changes from Tunney to Humphreys which includes rebooking fee of £35 each way/each child = £140 plus cost in difference in tickets…total is £202

Do I stand any chance of claiming back these monies back and if so how do I do this….they’ve said write to us to complain but I am diubting this will get us anywhere???

This was clearly a genuine mistake and not us trying to resell any tickets…please advise.

Total rip-off and we are very unhappy, any help and advice is very much appreciated

Cheers

gerry mc quillan says:
30 March 2013

Put my wife as mr instead of mrs on ryanair booking. Will they charge me to change it?

Bob Bruce says:
11 May 2013

If its Thomas Cook yes .they have just charged me £60 for one letter Julue to Julie, no flexibility an agent told me it would be “a small fee” charged me nothing but didn’t do the change when I called back they refused to honour what had been said. Complained on their Facebook page without success. Good luck

2 years ago my BA e-tickets showed me as MRS instead of MR.
Agent checked with BA who said it didnt matter – your title isnt on the passport so the name still matches.
I had no porblems.

Lisa says:
27 June 2013

My other half and I split up recently, and had booked a special holiday to the Maldives . It cost 340 to change the name on the holiday !! On top of what it had cost

Anthony says:
11 July 2013

Booked holiday over the phone with Thomsons and found they had put my first name down as TONY instead of ANTHONY. Despite my insistence that I gave my name as Anthony and the agent had got it wrong they would not change it without a £25 fee. Tried to cancel the holiday on principle but they said if I did the money was not refundable. Didnt receive email confirmation either as they got that wrong too. Outrageous! Wont be using Thomsons again!

Colin Clarke says:
6 August 2013

Mistake on online booking with BA, who DO NOT ALLOW name changes currently costing me 530 pounds, new ticket cost plus miserly refund from initial ticket, against an initial cost of 290 pounds.

Clearly an issue with airlines using passenger errors as a revenue stream.

Can WHICH not lobby to get this simplified and made a fair procedure with a “reasonable” admin charge for necessary and justified changes?

Here’s hoping

Marjan Driscoll says:
11 January 2014

By mistake I put my maiden name on my flight ticket (as I use my maiden name regularly at work). I had booked two round trip flights between Manchester- New York- Toronto- Manchester for the new year, for myself and my husband. As a result we could not fly at all and completely lost two tickets worth £850 each. This is a hefty penalty for a simple human error.
I booked the flights with Opodo and they booked it with Delta Airlines. I had paid Opodo extra to allow for flexibility and potential changes in the travel.
The outbound flight was with KLM on Saturday 28-12-13 at 1.45pm. The name error was not picked up when I checked my baggage in, but was noticed when I was boarding the plane. The KLM attendant did not allow me to board. My baggage was taken off the plane but KLM made a note on my records that I had attended.
In the meantime, I rang Opodo for help and tried to get my name checked. However, Opodo’s help desk shuts at 2 pm on Saturdays. By the time I rang, it was too close to 2 pm. The lady tried to help, but she said that the name has to be changed by Delta, and they did not re-open till Monday morning. She rang KLM central and they agreed to change my name. She asked me to ring Opodo on Sundady morning to make the changes.
I rang Opodo on Sunday morning, but the attendant was very unhelpful and dismissive. He did not try to contact KLM at all. Rather he asked me to ring back again on Monday to speak to Delta.
In the meantime, I only had a limited amount of holidays and needed to get to NY. I decided to book my outbound ticket to NY independently and then try to change my name for the rest of the journey. I booked a ticket to NY with Lastminute.com on the Sunday and flew to NY with British Airways on the same day.
On Monday morning, I rang Opodo again from NY, to get my name changed for the rest of my trip. But the attendant was very unhelpful. She said that because I had flown to NY independently, the rest of my ticket was invalid. I could not use my ticket between NY to Toronto and back to Manchester. She was well aware that I had attended the airport, and KLM had registered me. But it did not make any difference in invalidating my trip.
I would like to complain to an independent authority. Would you be able to tell me who to complain to?

Elizabeth Esson says:
8 March 2014

Thomas Cook charged me £110 pound when checking in at Glasgow airport for a flight to
Fuerteventura . A genuine spelling error I made when booking online . An extra e in a surname of one of the passengers travelling with me . I explained to staff I was unaware the other passenger spelt their name without the e but was told as I had booked flights 10 months before I would have to pay £110 . I explained it wouldn’t have made any difference if I had booked 2 days before as I would still have spelt the name the same.I accepted I had made mistake and said I would be happy to pay a smaller charge even £50 especially since it only took a 10 minute phone call to rectify but was told it would be £110.I phoned complaints departments when I returned home and was told by a woman with a mouthfulof food and couldn’t care less attitude that it was standard charges and there was nothing she could do in way of refunding any money. The amount of money they charge for small mistakes that can be easily rectified though call centres I believe ! is a disgrace .Its just another way of getting as much money out of passengers as the possibly can.Also amount of leg room is shocking. I will not be using this airline again .

ck says:
19 May 2014

i have just been charged £25 admin fee by thomson as there was one extra letter added to the surname, this took less than ten minutes to correct bearing in mind its still another 35 days until we flyI find this disgraceful, I was told that somewhere in the small print you can change it if its 70 days before you travel. you cannot beat them though as customer service is none existent in the UK its a harsh premium for a genuine mistake. I won’t be travelling with Thomson ever again after this if this is how they treat you having spent over £1300 of the holiday. shame on you TUI……….!

Disgruntled Traveller says:
20 May 2014

We booked a holiday with Love Holidays over the net last Sept, checked all details we entered were correct yet we received e tickets with my daughters surname spelt wrong yesterday, Phoned up about the mistake( not ours) and was told we would have to pay for the name to be changed , they said WE should have recogonised the problem in Sept when they attached the first confirmation of booking (e tickets where attached on the bottom ) yet on their website they say the e tickets will be issued 72 hrs after FULL payment was made which was in April this year. They sent a confirmation of payment on the same day and then yesterday they sent all the booking details again thats when we noticed their mistake. Somewhere between the Agents and the Airlines Thomas Cook the mistake has been made , its not ours,,,,

Cecille says:
24 May 2014

I am posting this while I am reading problems with other agents, which is i really need. I got the booking to LA with the Opodo last Thursday and rescheduled it of having no passports yet. Agreed First ticket payment was 547 and while checking on the bank Opodo charges me 807. While no one was bothered from the agent to contact with the charges , I contacted Opodo and promise to refund me within 2-15 days. You think this doesn’t sound right easily charging you and takes you ages for the refund. Now flight has to be rebook of having no passport and rebooking charge was an additional of 388.40, OMG. Where all this money goes? and that up to today reconfirmation has not been emailed, imagining calling them on the phone for the rebooking of 45 minutes and while saying to have an open booking, and telling me not possible because you will loss the flight, can’t have it, hold on the phone.
Anybody who can help me this now. I am very very much depressed. Payment had been done with the reschedule of 388 and still having no confirmation.
So guys be careful when booking and I think better to book directly because rather than saving you’ll be begging and become a beggar of their charges…. Help help help, I need an advise where to go and what to do?

Confused passenger! says:
2 January 2015

We booked a holiday to Orlando online with Thomson, but when we came to filling in the passenger forms, we discovered there was not enough room for my partners name! It says you must write the same as on your passport. My Partner is Spanish so he has a first name, a second first name, a surname and a second surname. 29 letters in total. We had to put his surnames together, with no gap.EncinasMartinez (which comes out on the printout as Encinasmartinez!!! not even the capital M to distinguish the 2 names!) The lady at the travel agency said she cannot amend our booking because we booked it online but it should be fine and it happens a lot. As long as we have all the names on there it’s ok. Seeing all these comments makes me worried! It’s not our fault the boxes don’t allow long names! I know people with even longer names than that so I don’t know what they’d do! Hopefully we will not be charged as it’s not our mistake, or even worse, not allowed in the country!