Recently, I traveled with a relative who doesn’t enjoy flying alone. The only way the relative was okay with flying was because I would be with them both legs of the trip. Which meant I would fly cross-country with this person to make sure they were safe and comfortable, then fly back to my home the following day.
To eliminate the extra flying on my end, my cousin offered to pick up our relative and take her back instead. The only issue was that she wanted to use my ticket and just change the name. I thought about how nice it would be to not have to drop this relative off, but then I wondered—can you change the name on an airline ticket?
After seeing thousands of search results on Google, I realized it was a common question travelers ask. If a friend couldn’t make a trip, or there was a typo in your name, could you change it before flying?
Although there is no one-size-situation-fits-all, there are certain factors that will determine what each airline will allow depending on their policies and fees.
Can I change the name on my airline ticket?
Unfortunately, you cannot travel under a different name. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the name on the boarding pass must match the passenger’s government-issued ID.
Essentially, it’s to make sure that every single person flying has been approved to fly and is not on any government watchlist. The best thing to do is to call the airline and speak to customer service. See what you can do about updating the reservation or making note of the issue.
Is there a way to correct a typo in my name?
If you notice an error on your reservation, whether immediately after booking your trip, or hours before you fly, notify your airline. For all airlines, you have 24 hours to correct the error, charge-free, directly after booking.
Sadly, if it has been more than 24 hours, airlines have the right to charge based on their policy. Some might allow one free correction, whereas other airlines might charge up to $200 to process.
If your name has legally changed since you booked your flight (i.e. you got married, etc.), then all you need to do is bring documentation of the change (marriage certificate or court order) and your ticket. This will prove that you are the right person.
To avoid typos, extra fees, and sheer panic, you should always review your information before purchasing a flight and review confirmations immediately after purchasing. Basically, when airlines say tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable, they mean it.
Fine, but can I give my ticket to a friend?
Short answer: No. You will find that airlines are usually very willing to assist you in correcting the name, but will hardly allow you to change from the original passenger to a whole new traveler. The only airline we know of that allows you to change the traveler is Frontier Airlines and they charge $75 in order to do so.
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