Changing the name on a ticket, without fees

Posted on
Sep 30, 2010

I shall name all my future pets and children after you, good sir.

Disclaimer from my legal team (a.k.a., the voice inside my head that’s see one too many episodes of The People’s Court): I heard the following story from a friend. I don’t condone any of the behavior of these parties, nor recommend it to you to try. I simply think that it is awesome, and deserves our attention and admiration.

What you choose to do with this information is up to you.

A few weeks ago, a friend of a friend booked a ticket to Europe on a major airline carrier. He needed to go for work, and his spouse decided to go along, so they booked a ticket for her as well (they have different last names, so let’s just assume they’re unmarried and living in sin, shall we?).

After the tickets were booked, the young man’s spouse realized she couldn’t make it. When he called to cancel his girlfriend’s ticket, he was told he’d only receive a 50% refund on his ticket price. Considering it was an international ticket, that was quite a hefty fee to pay.

So the young man got to thinking … it was a work trip, and his gal couldn’t make it. But one of his other co-workers needed to go, anyway, and they hadn’t booked her ticket. Coincidentally, both the coworker and the girlfriend shared the same first name – one of those lovely monikers of European extraction that many gals in the U.S. have – like Broomhilde and Hortense. So the young man confirmed that his co-worker needed a ticket, devised a brilliant plan, and double-checked with his company before picking up the phone again.

He called the airline, and explained that he had booked two tickets a few weeks ago (they looked up the reservation, and found the tickets – originally purchased for him and his girlfriend). He explained that he had made a mistake when making the reservation- he had listed his travel companion’s maiden name on the ticket. Could they change it?

And they did, immediately and free of charge … to his co-worker’s last name.

Leave a Comment

  • Speaking of name changes, I met a girl at O’Hare last year, who is Caucasian and American and married an Egyptian guy. She changed her last name to his, and now she’s often searched when she flies, she can no longer check in online, and she’s subject to all sorts of blatant racism and extreme security measures. It’s absolutely ridiculous! (Also, I didn’t change my last name when I got married this spring for that exact reason: that I heard it was near impossible to get all your frequent flier programs sorted under a new name!)

  • Deliciously evil.

    We had a similar situation last year when we won a contest and mistakenly put my wife’s married name down for the tickets, forgetting that her passport was from ten years ago and in her maiden name.

    She just carried our marriage license and driver’s license and the only people that gave her trouble were US immigration officials.

    After we returned we got her a new passport, complete with her new fabulous married name.

  • Everywhereist

    Kristin – I didn’t change my last name, either (not only because I had grown attached to my maiden name, but also because it made life easier to keep the same one).

    Jonathan – Gah! That’s awful that she had such a hard time – though I’m not surprised. One US customs official recommended my husband change his name, because his passport was confusing (technically, his first name is an initial).

  • “A friend of mine” spent an entire conference (let’s leave its name out of this) with a pass claiming that her name was Chris. That can be a girl’s name, and the Chris in question was more interested in spending time in the bar. She even had some of this business cards, just in case.

    Excellent story :p

    – Christina

  • Your friend is very smart. And lucky that his co-worker’s first name is the same as his spouse. But I’ll bet that it’s his fault that the rest of us now have to list our middle name and ‘fess up to our real date of birth. Harrumph.

  • may you vanquish the snot monster, fair maiden. May all your tickets be under assumed names of long dead poets and may your days be long!

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