How to Buy a Plane Ticket for Someone Else?

Whether you’ve got free flights saved up or you’re treating a family member to a vacation, all airlines allow you to purchase a plane ticket for another person.

To buy a plane ticket for someone else, you’ll need to:

  • collect their personal information
  • choose a flight
  • correctly add the passenger and billing details to the reservation
  • forward the passenger the confirmation 

One tiny error during your airline ticket purchase can create a travel nightmare for the person taking the flight, so you must follow this step-by-step guide when you pay for a flight ticket for someone else. 

4 Steps to Buy a Plane Ticket for Someone Else

1. Collect Their Information

Without having all the details needed to book another person an airline ticket, you won’t get far. Therefore, you’ll need to note their personal details, preferred travel dates, airport preferences, and any additional requests they may have.

Passenger Details

To buy airline tickets, you’ll need the passenger’s details, including:

  • Legal name
  • ID number or passport information (for international travel)
  • Country of residence and billing information
  • Birthdate
  • Email address 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only accepts select valid ID forms for domestic and international flights within the US. So, you will need the identification number and passenger details exactly as written on their ID to pay for airline tickets for someone else.

The most common forms of ID needed by the airline and TSA include:

  • DMV driver’s license
    • After May 3, 2023, the license must be REAL ID-compliant
  • State photo identity cards issued by the DMV
  • US passport
  • US passport card
  • Permanent resident card
  • DHS Trusted Traveler card
  • US Department of Defense ID

Find a full list of TSA-accepted IDs here.

Also, note that the person has to have a passport when traveling to a different country. And you may need their passport number to buy them an air travel ticket.  

Travel Preferences

When you purchase tickets on behalf of someone else, you’ll need to ask the person about their travel preferences. Firstly, inquire which airports they prefer to fly in and on which dates they want to travel. 

Nowadays, passengers must also choose their boarding class, seat type, pre-ordered meals, and whether they want travel insurance.

Airlines used to split boarding classes between economy and business class, but many companies now have more choices. United Airlines economy, for example, offers a cheaper “Basic Economy” option which carries more restrictions. 

But, if you want more add-ons, you can still find general economy and business class options when buying airline tickets.

These boarding classes may or may not include seat selection and online snacks or meals. If they do not, you can ask the passenger if they want you to select any add-ons for their journey.

Additionally, when you buy a ticket for someone else, you can add dietary restrictions under passenger information. 

Finally, you must ask the passenger if they want flight travel insurance. Most travel insurance offered by airlines covers trip cancellation/interruption, flight delays, or lost/damaged luggage for an additional cost.

Read Also >> Can You Buy Plane Tickets with Cash?

Luggage Information

Before buying flight tickets, ask the passenger how many suitcases they plan to take and their size. 

Most airlines include a carry-on bag and one personal item for the flight, but not checked luggage. In this case, you’d have to add on checked bags for an additional fee.

If the passenger has not flown before, you should also give the person information on what they can and cannot pack in their luggage.

Additional Requests

You may select additional requests, such as the need for a wheelchair, when purchasing a plane ticket online or at the sales counter.

Additionally, if the passenger is part of a Trusted Traveler program, such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you will need their associated information. 

2. Choose the Flight

Once you’ve gathered the passenger’s necessary information, you can move on to selecting their flight. Assuming you have flight dates and airports in mind, you can compare airline rates and flight times on the following websites:

If the trip is flexible, most of these websites allow you to browse nearby airports or alternative dates. This option is excellent if you need to buy a ticket for someone else on a budget.

Or, if you or the passenger prefer a specific airline, you can search the airline’s official website and book flights directly from there.

Read Also >> Can I Buy a Plane Ticket for Someone Else on Expedia?

3. Add Passenger and Billing Details to the Ticket

When you reach the details page, it’s vital to input the correct details. One wrong number on the ID form or an incorrect letter in the surname and the airline may end up voiding the flight altogether.

However, most payment pages usually list separate passenger and billing sections to make it easy, although you may have to select a box that says they are distinct. Plus, remember that the billing address should be your own address. 

So overall, read carefully and make sure you add all the information, including passport details if applicable, in the correct fields.

Additionally, remember that certain low-cost domestic airlines may require passengers to present the payment method they used to purchase the flight if they used a card. Thus, double-check any requirements before buying tickets unless you plan to go to the check-in desk with the passenger. 

Similarly, you can take a picture of the card to send with the person, but just make sure that you don’t put the security code in the photo. Or, you can give them an authorization letter. 

4. Pass Along Ticket Details

Once you have purchased and confirmed the flight reservation, you must relay all important information to the passenger. 

If you successfully added their email address to the purchase, they should receive all corresponding emails with boarding and check-in information as well as their own ticket. If not, you’ll need to forward the person their flight updates, so they have the same information that you do.

Also, if the passenger wants to make any changes to the itinerary after purchase, you may need to be present for them to do so.

Read Also >> Can I Buy a Plane Ticket for Someone Else in Another Country?

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use my frequent flyer miles to buy a ticket for someone else?

Yes, you can gift your air miles to someone else, even if it’s enough to buy them a free flight.  

To pay with your miles when you buy a plane ticket for someone else, all you need to do is follow the steps above and make sure you use your own payment information, like your own credit card, to buy the tickets. 

Airlines should not charge you a money fee when you use your miles to pay for a plane ticket for someone else.  

Can I buy a ticket for an unaccompanied minor?

Yes, you can buy a ticket for an unaccompanied minor. However, many airlines have rules about minors flying alone, so make sure you understand them before sending the child on their flight.