Flying is often one of the most stressful forms of travel there is. There are so many things that can go wrong, from missing your flight entirely to experiencing a misspelled name on an airline ticket. I’ve personally done both of those things (multiple times), and let me tell you: knowing how to deal with a misspelled name on an airline ticket is a valuable skill for fat-fingered Neanderthals such as myself.
Luckily, most airline employees know exactly what to do if you screw up the spelling of the name. If you do find your name is misspelled on your ticket, the easiest way to handle it is to bring the ticket to the attention of your airline. More often than not, they can easily change it for you.
And depending on how your name is misspelled, a change might not even be necessary at all. Read on to find out why…
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Tips for preventing misspelling your name on an airline ticket
I get it. People lead busy, stressed lives, so it’s easy to make mistakes. I’ve definitely made my fair share of mistakes over the years, and I doubt that’ll ever stop.
Anyway, as you’re booking your next flight, there are several things you can do to make sure you don’t mess up the spelling of your name:
- Take it slow
- Double-check everything
- Take advantage of frequent flyer programs
1. Take it slow
When booking your flights, more often than not, you’ll be giddy with excitement and be tempted to rush through the typing of your own name. The airline uses this version of your name when printing your ticket, so it’s important to slow down (just for a second at least) and type slowly. Use one finger if you have to. You’ll be more likely to write your name correctly if you type in a relaxed manner.
If you’re too distracted or frantic when trying to book a flight, you might accidentally hit the wrong key and call yourself “Svott” instead of “Scott.” Don’t ask me how I know this.
2. Double-check everything
If you’re booking a flight for someone else, having their passport or other identification on hand is a simple way to make sure you spell their name correctly.
If the passport matches the name of the identification document they will be using at the airport, you’re in the clear. If not, jump to the next section (as quickly as you can) before the person you’re booking the ticket for thinks you’re a total idiot.
By the way, I recently wrote a full guide explaining how to buy an airline ticket for someone else. I highly recommend reading that to ensure that you know all the rules. Additionally, because of how easy it is to use your frequent flyer number for someone else, it’s easy to make mistakes when combining your data with someone else’s. Double check everything!
3. Take advantage of frequent flyer programs
If you fly frequently, you can automatically put in all your information, like your name, passport number, and birthdate into your bookings. Auto-fill settings can prevent mistakes, so you never have to worry about making a typo when typing in your own name.
Solutions for dealing with airline tickets that have a misspelled name
A misspelled name on an airline ticket is often easy to fix, but there are some times when it can be a hassle to do. Expect fees or other inconveniences, but remember that each airline has a different policy when dealing with ticket changes.
- Call the airline
- Talk to an airline employee at the airport
If you book your flight online and immediately notice in the confirmation email that your name is wrong, it’s pretty simple just to cancel your ticket. If you cancel and rebook your flight in a matter of minutes, it’s possible to correct your mistake and get the same seat for the same price.
Note that most airlines (at least here in the US) give you 24 hours to cancel a ticket without incurring fees.
This kind of solution is the riskiest because prices and seat availability can change while you’re trying to rebook. Especially if you’re trying to get on a busy flight. Canceling might get you bumped off altogether.
It’s also important to note that most airlines will charge your credit card immediately after a purchase, so make absolutely sure they cancel the first charge if you have to book another ticket.
2. Call the airline
If the day of departure is getting closer, and the prices of the tickets have climbed since you first booked, call the airline. They can explain to you the process of changing your name and the policies they have in place to accommodate this procedure.
Some airlines might charge you an extra fee for changing your name, so be aware of that possibility before calling.
4. Talk to an airline employee at the airport
If you’ve accidentally typed your name in wrong while booking, or even if the airline is at fault, you can explain yourself as you check in for the flight. If the mistake is obvious (i.e., “Ronert” instead of “Robert”), most airline employees will be very understanding and correct the mistake for you.
However, if it says something like “Bill” instead of “Scott”, don’t expect much sympathy.
Things to consider
Mistakes happen all the time. If you’ve made a fat-finger mistake when booking your flight, know that your airline has most assuredly dealt with similar issues before.
- Don’t panic
- Minor misspellings
- Major misspellings
First things first: don’t panic!
When you’ve found a misspelled name on an airline ticket, remember to keep calm. There are processes in place to deal with these kinds of mistakes, and the airline you are flying likely has a policy addressed to just this issue.
Changing your name should not be all that difficult to do, and your airline might even tell you not to bother if it’s a minor (and obvious) mistake.
What happens for minor misspellings
If your name has one or two wrong letters, or if you’ve switched your first and last names, you can likely get on your flight without any issues.
If an airline assumes that the misspelling is due to human error, they often understand rather than condemn. Especially if you can explain to them what happened. In more situations than not, will likely let you get on with your trip without making you purchase a new ticket.
You will not be barred from flying if:
- Your name has one wrong letter
- Your middle initial is wrong
- Your name has been shortened
- Your first and last names are switched
- Your first and middle names are put together into one name
What happens for major misspellings
If your name has been so badly misspelled that it’s unrecognizable, you need to have it changed before you can go anywhere. You should also learn to slow down when booking airline tickets…
A few minor mistakes are acceptable as human error, but showing up with a ticket that names you “Bhavdeep” when your passport says “Jacques” is going to end badly.
You could (will) be prevented from flying if the name on your ticket does not closely match the name on your ID.
You may have to pay a change fee
Having to change the name on a ticket counts as a modification to the ticket for most airlines, and as we all know, modifications incur fees on non-refundable fares. If a name change is required, expect to pay a change fee.
For most airlines, if the mistake is their fault, they won’t charge for a correction.
TSA policy on misspelled names
Generally, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) understands typos and will not prevent you from flying with a slightly misspelled name. It’s been my experience that the TSA’s rules on names matches the rules of the airlines very closely.
If it’s a very minor misspelling, you’ll be ok. If it’s a completely different name, they won’t let you proceed through the security checkpoint without correcting it with the airline first.
Was gonna scroll past this but I had to click on it the article after seeing “SANspitter” written on the boarding pass. Good job, very good chuckle.
Haha, THANK YOU for noticing! I would have been miffed if nobody noticed.
A great article! I wonder if you write, for example, “Al Azhar” when the name in your passport is “Imam Al Alzhar” will be treated as a small, charge-free mistake
That’s a tricky one. Definitely call the airline to be sure!
Flying with Turkish Airlines. My last name in a passport Krylovetsky,but at the ticket is Krilovetsky.
One letter typo. Airline does not want to help:(( You think i will have an issue at the check in counter?
That’s a tough one. Here in the US, the TSA (and the airlines) will usually let a 1-letter mistake like that slide. I’ve misspelled my name on a ticket before with a 1-letter typo, and there were no issues. Although they did lecture me on being more careful next time.
It really depends on what the Turkish Airlines policy is on this. Personally, I think you’ll be fine. However, I’d try to reach out to them any way possible (call, social media, website support form, etc) to get a definitive answer. Good luck!
The ticket was booked through the agency, TK cannot touch this ,sadly((
Agency keeps telling me ,that the changes are not permitted.
TK allowing up to 3 letters typo in the name ,but the customer service rep told me ,they cannot promise me ,that I will not have problems.
I am extremely nervous((
Ana , did you end up flying? What happened? I have the same problem with Turkish Airlines!
I booked two business RT tickets to Rome with AMEX travel next April and omitted my wife’s last letter of her first name. They are unable to fix it with airline (long story). Although the article above is encouraging, I feel uncomfortable taking my chances on the day of travel with a strict TSA agent, as their policy states:
“Does the name on my airline reservation have to match the name on my application?
Yes. The name submitted on your airline reservation must be an exact match to the name you provided on your application. ”
It is a 3.5k ticket, and if AMEX does not solve this I am not sure if I should chance it.
Hi Juan – in my experience, the TSA will generally forgive a simple one letter mistake like that (with a stern warning to double check in the future). It all depends on the mood of the TSA agent though, and there is no guarantee that you’ll get through. If this is a really important trip, and she absolutely cannot afford to miss her flight, I would cancel the ticket and purchase a new one.
You will have to pay $200(ish) to cancel, but you will be able to apply the remaining balance towards the cost of a new ticket.
I booked my ticket through CheapOair.com. My ticket is misspelled Bradon instead of Brandon. I’ve been so stressed out getting through the agency and airlines to get it correct. I spent countless amount of time on the phone with them but no luck. I have connecting flights with ANA and Asiana in Korea and Tokyo. What are my chances of getting through security? Will the airlines issue the tickets with a mismatch name? Please help! Thanks
Hey Brandon – if you were flying within the US only, I’d say that you probably don’t have much to worry about (the TSA has been known to let 1 letter mistakes like this slide). However, since you’ll be flying internationally, there’s no telling what could happen. I’d cancel the ticket, pay the change fee, and purchase another ticket with the amount left over from the original ticket.
i have book a ticket. i have mistakenly switched my name 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 1st. its saudi airline what can i do now kindly tell me am worried.
Hi Ali – normally a simple mistake of having your first name in place of your last name (and your last name in place of your first) is ok because your full name is on the ticket. However, some airlines/airports are more strict about this than others, so you should probably call the airline and have them switch it for you. Honestly though, I think you’ll be ok even if you can’t get it changed.
My son’s name is Johnathan, but on the ticket it’s Jonathan. We’re flying US to Germany tomorrow. Will it be a problem? Thanks
Usually 1 letter mistakes like that are ok at US airports. It’ll all depend on the mood of the TSA agent of course, but I think he’ll be ok.
My son’s name is Brian Matabile and I put Matabile and his suppose to go to Zimbabwe on the 6th and I called the agent as soon as I saw the mistake and she told me to pay, I’m just stressed his going for an exam. I send an email to SA airline try to call but nothing yet.
Hi – it would most lily be ok if this was a domestic US flight, but since you are flying internationally (and it sounds really important), you might want to cancel the ticket and purchase a new one with the correct spelling. You’ll have to pay a cancellation fee, but you’ll be able to apply the remainder of the cost to the new ticket.
Of course there is a chance that it won’t matter, but if he really needs to be there on that exact date, a new ticket is probably the safest option.
Hello Scott So I booked one to Mexico from Portland and it says my first name as. Israel dexter and my last name as dexter My name is Israel dexter so it’s all right but dexter twice. I am flying from Portland OR to Mexico City. And I’m so freaked out they will not give me a refund if I cancel it and I do not have enough money to get a new own so. I’m not sure it will be ok. I fly out October 32st
Hi Israel – I think that’s going to be ok. If it makes you feel any better, on my last trip to Mexico, the name on my ticket somehow ended up having my first name and middle name being put together as one name (with no space). It was “Firstmiddle Last” instead of “First Middle Last”). Nobody even batted an eye.
My dad is flying on this Sunday from NYC to Karachi with me from Turkish Airlines. Did lots of calls back and forth but nothing helped.
The agent misspelled his last name. Instead of “Akhter” spelled “Akther”. I’m so stressed. He can not travel alone that’s why I was going along with him. Please suggest if that is an issue?
Hi Noreen – yes, that’s a tough one. If you were flying within the US (or maybe even Europe), I’d say that you’d have nothing to worry about. 1-letter mistakes happen all the time and the airlines / security checkpoints are used to seeing it.
I’m not as confident about this when traveling internationally on non-US airlines unfortunately. It might be ok. It might not.
You might want to consider going to the airport ahead of time and taking to a Turkish Airlines agent about it. That way there will be no surprises on the day of departure. Good luck!
I have booked flights with booking.com and they wrote my son’s name wrong: First Name OK. They wrote his Middle Name as his Last Name. His Last Name is not written, but his sister’s and my ticket have the same Last Name, so I hope it will be OK.
The airline says I need to change it with Booking.com, however Booking.com says I need to cancel the booking and book again, which I said many times I will not do. They say they will send a request to the ‘Concern Team’, who will ‘try to fix it’ and ‘I will pay’. I said this is their mistake because I am very thorough and I would not have missed writing my son’s Last Name. They said to call again if I did not hear from the Concern Team within 24-36 hours. What I think is that Booking.com deliberately made a mistake so that I will return this ticket, because it was a rather good deal. How difficult it can be to change your own database? I am sure it is their fault. I will contact Air Canada again and send scans of our passports and ask them to write a letter to me that I can present at the airport. What do you think?
Hi Laura – it’s definitely worth a try! Sounds like Booking.com is not going to budge, so contacting the airline is probably the only option you have left. You might be ok (especially if he has proper identification) but I think you need to be prepared to purchase a new ticket if nobody can give you a clear answer.
I have had instances where my last name appeared as my middle name (and my middle name as my last) on a ticket without any issues before. Airline and airport security agents are generally forgiving if it’s 100% obvious if there was a simple mistake, which is what your scenario seems to be. If was a completely different name altogether (for example, Jason instead of Michael), you’d have a real problem.
Jose J Grateraux
I just booked 3 flying to LAX for next March.
I just noticed my first name is Jose my middle name is Juan but my ticket says Jose Antonio.
But my date of birth and other personal information are mine. I also have skymile with Delta which is attached to my name.
Do you think than I will have a issue to fly ?
Hi Jose – I think that might be a problem. Usually it’s no issue if it’s a simple 1 letter mistake (or the names are switched), but having a completely different name is likely to cause problems. I’d cancel the ticket and purchase a new one if I were you.
My son purchased a TAP airlines ticket through an agency, and they put his first name twice on the ticket, i.e., TrevorTrevor. The airline honored the ticket going to Europe but didn’t honor it on the way back, and he was stuck at the airport and they made him buy a new ticket ($1.7k). Is there anything that can be done about getting a refund or credit for the original (unused) ticket? The gate person said he should be able to, but of course a complication is he got the ticket through some discount go-between service. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
Hi Phil – good question. The fact that he purchased it through a 3rd party makes things difficult. However, it’s still worth contacting the airline and trying to get the amount of the unused ticket credited to his account (minus the fee they usually charge, which will probably be something like $200).
But even that might not work since the day of the flight has already passed. In order to get credits for unused tickets, it usually requires cancelling the ticket before departure. Still, I’d contact the airline (but don’t get your hopes up). Good luck!
I purchased a basic economy ticket for me and my friends. However when putting the information for one of my friend, it autofilled his information which I’ve used before for shipping packages but I didn’t realize the auto fill had a middle name that he doesn’t normally have on his normal documents. I just noticed the middle name and its been 3 days since i booked. Will this middle name cause an issue? we are planning to fly from nyc to canada. Any help would be appreciated.
Hey Dylan – the only way it’ll be a problem is if (for example) his middle name is shown as his last name (and the last name is completely omitted from the reservation).
It’ll be ok if his ticket is “first name / middle name / last name” but his middle name isn’t shown on his government issued ID.
Hi Scott, I purchased three ticket in Nov for myself and my two minor sons, unfortunately I made a mistake in one of my sons last name, the last 4 of the last name should be Nani but I spelled I typed it as Nnai, so basically the 2nd last and 3rd last letters are in reverse order. I did not notice the error in Nov but in Jan I received an email from my agent stating the departure and arrival time changed so they needed my approval to rebook the ticket if the time was ok, when I saw the rebooked ticket that’s when I noticed the error and called my agent. They took 35 days to let me know that it will cost me $467.00 for extra for them to reissue. I called them with 24 hrs of the second reissue, but they did not help me, so I think they were waiting for 90 days to pass so I could not dispute it on my card and will be forced to pay them. Could you please advise if the Airline will be able to help me at the airport, it is a two leg flight both are different airlines, one is US airline the other is International. I bought three tickets 3.7K just makes it hard to sell out extra to pay the difference. Your advise will be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Hi Sheetal – if you were flying within the US only, I think you’d be able to get away with it. 1-letter mistakes are common, and most of the time, the airlines/TSA will let it slide.
Flying international (and doing the customs/immigration thing) is what makes this complicated. If it were me, I’d purchase a new ticket just to be safe. Note that you should be able to receive some credit for the cost of the original ticket after paying a cancellation fee. That’ll help to reduce the cost a bit. Good luck!
I purchased a ticket to fly from the US to Europe through Chase rewards on Scandinavian Airlines. In the Chase travel system my name on the reservation appears as First Name / Middle Initial / Last Name however on the airlines website my middle initial has been added to the end of my first name without any spaces. Is this simply a limitation of the airlines website or is this something I should be worried about. Thank You.
Hey Tyler – in my experience, this isn’t anything to worry about. I’ve flown both domestically and internationally with my middle initial attached to end of my first name without issues.
Hi There! The conference lady person who booked through 3rd party company: flyin.com (She probably book it and make this huge mistake booking my hubby ticket have his first name “Sun” and last name “Yi” put both as last name “SunYi” AND also error on the month of his DOB from July to March! I’ve been trying to reach them no response yet from conference booking lady+ the organizer, both JetBlue and Egypt Air not able to amend the change, it’s been few days now still no luck with emails/calls/chatbot still for all, flyin.com told me they can’t fit it. ONLY way is to cancel this non-refundable ticket and pay another $4K USD (which the booking lady should contact them still no response (they’re extremely busy) – I’m not paying another $4K beside my own ticket already 🙁 please help!!!). What do you think? Do you think JFK airport should be ok? Just not Egypt Cairo Airport? Would it help if I print out the website article mentioning my hubby speaking at this conference (in 5days)? Thanks in advance
Edit: forgot to mentioned JFK airport is just connecting flight, flight out from AUS airport please help!
Hi Gigi! Two things:
1). Here in the US, having his first name listed as “SunYi” (and the space for the last name being left blank) would probably be ok. Technically, his entire (correct) name is on the reservation. I’m not sure how strict they would be about in Cairo through.
2). The biggest problem is the incorrect birthdate. That has to be correct, or else he cannot fly. I mistakenly put my wrong birthdate on a reservation once, and I was denied access through the security checkpoint because of it. Thankfully, I was able to get it resolved by going back to the airline ticket counter and having them manually update my reservation.
If you cannot get the birthdate issue resolved, you will have no choice but to cancel the ticket and purchase a new one. You can still get credit for the unused ticket though! Call the airline to cancel the ticket. You will have to pay a cancellation fee (usually like $200), but you can then apply the remainder of the value of that ticket to a new one. It’ll be a lot cheaper than spending another $4000.
Hi Scott my name is Kostas I booked a flight from Greece to Canada. I have spelt my name wrong on the ticket. My name is kostantinos and I spelt it Konstantinos. They will not refund my ticket. Do you think it’s possible to flight with my current ticket?
Hi! Yes, as long as your last name is spelled properly I think it’s going to be ok. One letter mistakes (especially with given names) happen all the time. I can’t guarantee that you won’t have issues, but it’s most likely not going to be a problem.