The Most Important Thing to Check When Booking a Flight
No matter how excited you are for your trip, you should never rush through booking flights or it could really cost you.
Of course you should make sure the dates and airports are correct, but it’s equally important to double check that the name on your ticket matches your travel documents exactly — especially if you’re flying internationally. If you don't, you're risking exorbitant change fees or even having to completely re-book your trip. To avoid all of that, do yourself a favor by taking a moment to confirm your whole name (as it appears on your driver's licence and/or passport) is correct. There’s nothing worse than finally getting up to security only to be turned away because you forgot to add your middle name, or someone who booked a ticket for you misspelled something.
To guarantee you won’t have any issues at the airport, here are some quick and easy tips to remember when you're booking that next trip.
Include all your names.
If you like to go by a nickname, remember this isn’t going to fly when traveling. You have to include every part of your legal name. When you hand your boarding pass to the airport security agent, your name should be the same as on your identification.
Consider booking on the airline’s website.
For those who already made the mistake of inputting a name that doesn’t match your passport or driver’s license, call the airline ASAP. If you catch your error ahead of time, sometimes they’ll let you change it with only a warning or a small fee. From my experience, they’ll be more lenient if you booked tickets directly on their site.
You have 24 hours.
Regulations require that airlines refund your ticket if you change your mind within 24 hours. It's not a ton of time to recognize any oversight, but it’s better than nothing.
Be extra careful if someone else is booking your ticket.
While having another person take care of travel arrangements for you is nice, you can’t put the blame on them at the gate if they mess up your name. Whether you’re traveling on business and your company is doing the booking for you, or your significant other is handling it, remind them of your full name, as it's written on your passport, so there’s no miscommunication.
Calling all newlyweds!
Once you get married, it will take two weeks for your official marriage certificate to be issued. If you’re heading off to your honeymoon within that time frame, it’s best to grab a flight under your maiden name because the airline will charge you for any changes. It’s easier to update your name when you return, as the State Department gives you 12 months from your wedding date to file for a passport with your married name, free of charge.