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There’s a Misspelled Name on the Plane Ticket

I was skimming an email confirmation I got from British Airways when something made my eyes pop. They had spelled my little sister’s name wrong.

I’ve always been curious about this but always in the way like what would happen if I lost my ID, got detained or missed my flight because I was too busy flirting with a cute guy. (All three may have actually happened at some point in time.) In other words, I prefer these situations to be hypothetical musings instead of actual real-life situations.

Fast forward to an over-the-phone booking. Clearly, the first thing to do when you catch something like that is to call the airline and sort out the issue before you ever have to set foot in the airport. In most cases, the airline will usually present you with two options: they can cancel and reissue the ticket or leave a note for the reservation agent when you check in. In my case, they offered to reissue the ticket but I didn’t want to lose the four tickets on the reservation. I chose door number two.

Most travelers, though, have reported that if it’s a minor mistake—like if it’s off by a letter or two—they haven’t had any issue, even if it’s traveling internationally. I guess it depends on how anal the security dude you run into is but I’m as Type A as it gets and even I probably would let that slide.

Just to be sure, I emailed TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. She was kind enough to clarify things for me:

Our officers have some leeway to allow for a non-substantial difference in names such as a letter being incorrect due to a typo. With that said, we can always rerun the person’s name through Secure Flight to verify the traveler’s identity and ensure that he or she is cleared to fly. We also can contact the Identity Verification Call Center to help provide verification of an individual and to ensure that the person is who he/she claims to be.

Sounds good enough to me. Time to test it out on a 10-year-old.

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