Name on passport differs from air ticket

Dec 4th, 2014, 05:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 64
Name on passport differs from air ticket


- I am travelling on a European passport (Visa waiver program), via Emirates to the USA. The spelling of my first and middle names differ slightly from my air ticket to my passport.

I do have dual nationality / a 2nd passport (South African) which shows the correct spelling - but this passport doesn't have a US visa, hence me travelling with the European passport.

Changing and reissuing the ticket is approx $ 400!

Will I have problems with immigration control going into or out of the USA?
Or travelling on flights within the USA?
alexcactus is offline  
Dec 4th, 2014, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5,309
Even though it would probably be ok, I would call the airline and get them to correct it. The same thing happened to my husband this summer on a Delta ticket to Japan with a return ticket on a partner carrier. It was issued with the first name on his drivers license Randy versus his passport Randell. He called and an agent said he might lose the flight which was booked with miles. He went to a local Delta counter and it took 15 minutes, no charge and the counter agent said it could have been done over the phone. You can check my topics to see the responses I got here that made me insist my husband correct it before the flight. Good luck!
SeeHag is offline  
Dec 4th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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There is no definitive answer. You may be OK and you may be hassled or even refused entry. So unless you want to take that risk you must get it changed.

Who made the mistake in the spelling on the ticket? I find it hard to believe you misspelled your own name. If the airline made the mistake then they should correct it at no charge.
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Dec 4th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Depends on how many letters are incorrect in the first and middle name. If it is one or two characters, it will not matter. If it is any more, then it might. So does your ESTA match your European passport name or does it match your ticket?
Odin is offline  
Dec 8th, 2014, 05:31 AM
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Thank you everyone for the feedback.
Unfortunately I was the guilty party, embarrassing as it is to admit When I booked the flight I must have been having an airhead moment.
But it is ridiculous of the airline to want to charge these sort of fees.
I will try to go to the Emirates counter and see if they can assist.
alexcactus is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 08:34 AM
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"But it is ridiculous of the airline to want to charge these sort of fees."

I never understand why people think something is 'ridiculous' when it is included in the terms of the contract they agreed to. Nothing an airline (or any other business) does is 'ridiculous' IF you agreed to it. That you don't LIKE it, doesn't make it ridiculous.
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 09:14 AM
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Sorry, SJT, but a scrivener's error doesn't impact the terms of a contract in any state in the U.S., and can be changed, without fee unless the contract states specifically misspellings require a fee to be corrected. It MUST be that specific, or it doesn't apply.
apersuader65 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 12:18 PM
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Not sure I understand the connection between a contract in any state of the US and Emirates which is a non US airline and a traveller who is non US and the T&Cs of an air fare which state names changes are not permitted. Correcting the spelling of a name is a name change. The rules about entering the US on an ESTA are determined by US immigration, having a correct name on an air ticket is one of them. Small errors of 3 or less characters can sometimes be overlooked, but there is no guarantee.
Odin is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 12:30 PM
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You have two problems. First, you need to get on the airline. The airline needs to make a note in your reservation that the spelling on the ticket is incorrect. If it's something like Markus vs. Marcus or Schmidt vs. Shmidt, you will probably have no problem. If it's a bigger error, you could. But I'd definitely ask the airline to make this notation. They don't generally charge for this, and it doesn't require a change of ticket name.

So let's assume that the airline allows you to board. The airline still can't do anything to influence US immigration.

Again, however, what they care about most is that the passport you register when you check-in for your flight matches the one you present when you arrive in the US and that the names are close enough that there's no confusion. Even the immigration service says on its web site that a simple misspelling isn't generally a problem. But no one can guarantee that it won't be a bigger issue, so what Odin says is entirely correct.

You've unfortunately created this problem yourself by having differing spellings of your name on different documents and making the error on the airline ticket. To be absolutely sure, you have to bite the bullet and change the name on your ticket. (Insurance won't cover this as it's your mistake, so you have to weigh whether you feel you can get through or not.)

I'm definitely no expert on this, so I can't give you any advice (albeit in my opinion Odin has accurately described US policy on this issue). How it's actually interpreted, however, depends on the immigration agent you meet on arrival.
doug_stallings is offline  
Dec 9th, 2014, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Apersuader65, I understand you USED to practice law of some kind in the USA. I would have expected more attention to detail. Perhaps there is a connection somewhere.

The OP wrote, "But it is ridiculous of the airline to want to charge these sort of fees."

That comment has NOTHING to do with US law anywhere. It has to do with the contract between the OP and the airline. The airline contract SPECIFICALLY says (as most if not all these days do) that a spelling error can get you refused boarding.

Anyone who has done much travelling knows that the airlines do insist on this REGARDLESS of where in the world you might fly into or out of.

I suggest once again that you lose your US-centric thinking. The OP isn't even flying on a US based airline so where does US state laws have any relevance? Answer, they don't. But even if they did, the contract DOES SPECICALLY say a spelling error can get you denied boarding by the AIRLINE. In your desire to correct me on the law, you have in fact got it entirely wrong.
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Dec 10th, 2014, 04:28 AM
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Posts: 64
Hi all. A fiery debate indeed!

I have applied for a US visa on my 'correctly spelled' second passport, a cost of approx $150. Problem - hopefully - solved.

Sojourntraveller, whatever the tiny fine print might state (have you ever tried reading the convoluted way the fine print is written in airline terms and conditions?), charging an admin fee of +- $ 440 for a very minor change on an e-ticket IS ridiculous no matter what anyone says. Legally permissible perhaps, but ridiculous in any event. I do believe in fair business practises and these fees don't meet my definition of that.
alexcactus is offline  
Dec 10th, 2014, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 660
I agree that the fee is high alex and perhaps even ridiculous although only if you misuse the word ridiculous given the actual meaning of the word. Excessive would be a better descriptor I would say. However, I still stand by my commment that, "Nothing an airline (or any other business) does is 'ridiculous' IF you agreed to it." The operative phrase there is 'IF you agree to it".

We are all free to decide not to do business with a company who charge fees we feel are excessive. The size of the 'fine print' is irrelevant.
Sojourntraveller is offline  

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