When booking your flight ticket, it seems so simple: fill in your first and last name (or family name) in accordance with your passport or identification. If your name is Peter Smith, it is done quickly. However, if you have multiple first names, you are a married lady or your name contains an accent, diaeresis or special characters, there are still some things you need to pay close attention to.
Do you want to know how to enter your name correctly when booking an airline ticket? JustGo.Travel gives you the insider tips and tricks for correctly entering your name on your flight ticket according to your passport or identification.
1. Fill in the name as stated in the machine-readable strip
Many travelers fill in the personal details as they appear on the data sheet in your passport or on your identification. But actually the strip on your passport or your identification is leading. This is also called the machine-readable strip and may contain the following data:
- First name and last name (family name)
- Date of birth
- Document number
- Personal number
- Expiry date
Is one of the following applicable to you? You:
- have a first and/or last name which contains accent(s), diaeresis and/or special characters.
- have got two first names.
- are a married lady.
Please bear in mind that your name will be stated differently in this machine-readable strip and you must also enter your personal details according to this strip during the reservation process.
Where the machine-readable strip can be found on a passport and/or identification may vary per country.
2. Never fill in your nickname
A common mistake which I encounter regularly during my work in the travel industry is that the nickname is entered. Almost always when I receive a name in accordance with a passport or identification, such as Mike. I am almost 100% sure that the person in question is called Michael in his passport or on his identification. This suspicion is being confirmed often.
Certainly when you book flight tickets for other people, always check the exact first and last name in accordance with their passport or identification. If you want to be 100% sure, ask the relevant traveler(s) if they want to present their passport or identification. It would be a shame if you book a flight ticket with a wrong name and you cannot travel on the flight ticket or you need to pay a change fee to have the name changed (if possible).
3. Do not use accents, diaeresis and/or special characters
Some of us have a first and / or a last name with the grave accent, an acute accent or a diaeresis such as René or Zoë. With these names, it is good to remember that accents, diaeresis or other special characters are not used on flight tickets and are therefore omitted.
In the machine-readable strip you will also see that your name is written without any special character. In this case, the name as stated in the machine-readable strip is leading. René and Zoë will enter Rene and Zoe in this case.
At first and / or last names with the acute accent, such as René, an extra check is definitely important. In most cases, these names are indicated in the machine-readable strip with a double “e”. In this case, therefore, Renee. Please check this and fill in the name as shown in the strip!
4. Do you have multiple first names?
When booking your flight ticket, airlines always ask you to fill in your first name in accordance with your passport or identification. But what do you need to fill in if you have two first names. For example, Joe Michael or Mary-Louise? At first sight, both travelers have several first names here and you think you should enter them both. Yet, reality is different.
- If your first name is not connected by means of a hyphen, only enter the first name. For example, Joe Michael, the first name of JOE is enough.
- If your first name is connected by means of a hyphen, enter both first names. For example, your name is: Mary-Louise, you must enter the full first name MARYLOUISE.
5. As a married lady you always travel on your maiden name
As a married lady traveling on your married name or spouse is not allowed. For married ladies it is important that you enter your maiden name, provided that it matches your passport or identification. The name of the below lady is Willeke de Bruijn and is married to Molenaar (e/v stands for married to). As a last name this lady fills in DE BRUIJN, her maiden name.
6. Select the correct gender
Of course you know whether you are a lady or a gentleman. But there is nothing more worse than receiving your e-tickets in your mailbox and seeing that you are not booked as a lady, but as a gentlemen or vice versa. During the booking process, it may always happen that something went wrong after selecting your gender properly.
With a drop-down menu, there is a small chance that you indicate the wrong gender, because you really need to select your gender. But when a website uses a scroll-able menu, it may happen from time to time that while scrolling down on the page, you might scroll down too far and select the wrong gender.
Therefore make sure that, before you hit the reserve button, you have selected the correct gender.
7. Check, check, double check
Once you have filled in all the necessary information, do not push the reserve button straight away, but always make sure you double check the information you have entered. During the booking process, it may always happen that you have accidentally changed data. There is nothing worse then that you receive your e-tickets on which is indicated that you are a lady instead of a gentleman or that your first and/or last name has not been filled in correctly.
Once you have received your e-ticket also check all your entered data. Most likely, after receiving your e-ticket, you will find out that your first and last name has been fully written. For example, you will find the name Joe Smith on the e-ticket as SMITH/JOEMR. Like accents and diaeresis, spaces are also omitted in airline reservation systems. If you see this on your flight ticket, do not worry. Everything is alright and you are ready for departure.
8. If in doubt, contact customer service
Are you still in doubt how to correctly enter your name on your flight ticket? Please contact the airline or booking website for advice.
9. You have inserted a wrong name on your flight ticket. What to do?
If the personal data on your flight ticket does not match your passport or identification, then an airline has the right to refuse you on the flight. In this case, you will have to change your name change via an official name change or you need to purchase a new (more expensive) flight ticket.
This procedure is different per airline and depends on the conditions of your flight ticket. More information about name changes on a flight ticket and the procedure can be found in the following article: a wrong name on your flight ticket. What to do?
Has it happened to you that the data on your e-ticket did not match the details on your passport or identification?
Markjul 11, 2018
Traveling as a US citizen, you would enter your married name . Apparently this is written for an audience in the Netherlands where married names are not allowed.
JustGo.Traveljul 15, 2018
Hi Mark, as a travel agent we are informed by airlines that we always must hold on to the maiden name (if this is shown in the passport), unless stated differently in the passport. If in the US the maiden name of a lady is changed to the married name after marriage and this married name is only shown in her passport, you can hold on to that.