7   +   4   =  

My name is Gilbert R Ott III and I know airline ticket spelling mistakes like few others do. You may already see the potential for boarding pass spelling issue here. I’ve been issued boarding passes reading GilbertR Ottiii, Gilbert Rott and just about every silly permutation you can think of – so when I say I feel your boarding pass spelling mistake stress, it’s the truth. And by the way, in each case, I boarded without issue. Before you go too crazy worrying – here’s everything you need to know about boarding pass spelling mistakes – and fixing them.

Complete Name Change

The clock is ticking! If your flaky friend just bailed after booking, most airlines allow name changes – or alternately, free cancellation within 24 hours of booking. So yes, you can change your friend John to your friend Jane, or Hussein within 24 hours of booking. You’ll need to call the airline to change the name or cancel the booking and make a fresh one, with no penalty. Either way works – so just call and ask which is easier. But remember, 24 hours or bust. If you’re worried about having left your middle name off a ticket – don’t sweat it, no one cares.

Small Spelling Mistakes

Sometimes the best deals are just so exciting, you make errors in the booking process. Assuming you managed just a simple error, fear not. Single digit, or simple changes can almost always be done up to two days before actual travel without any fee at all. Simply call the airline and politely ask to correct a minor spelling mistake. Virtually all airlines stipulate that single character spelling corrections can be done free of charge. Be sure to note the passenger is the same, there was just a simple error. Things can be more complicated if you booked with a different airline than the one you’re traveling with – so get started as soon as possible if that’s the case.

Marriage, Divorce, Last Name Changes

Congratulations, apologies – or whatever is in order. Last names change all the time for a plethora of reasons and when a name changes legally, airlines are generally happy to help get everything in order. But – don’t complicate things if you don’t need to. Always travel on a ticket that matches your passport name, so if you plan to change your name but haven’t changed your passport yet – stick to whatever name is on your current passport. To change the name on an airline ticket that’s already issued, be prepared to fax in documentation of the legal change – and try to do so as far in advance as possible.

Uncorrected Mistakes

Almost all easily explainable ticket mistakes are nothing to worry about – even when traveling internationally. Hilton Jr changing to Hiltonjr is an obvious system error. If you’re paranoid about an issue such as this one, don’t over worry. You may go through additional immigration scrutiny, but in almost all cases – you’ll travel without issue. There are no guarantees, but in my career of misspelled tickets, I’ve never been refused entry or boarding, no matter how off my name appears.

Have you ever had airline ticket spelling issues?

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