Can You Change The Name On A Plane Flight Airline Ticket?

In some select circumstances, you can change the name on a plane ticket.

Many airlines will change the name for free if there is a legal name change, but typo-related changes often cost money. 

Also, only a few airlines allow the name change to transfer the ticket to someone else and usually charge for this service.

Misspelling your name on an airline ticket happens more than you might think. But, most airlines understand and allow a few options for you to fix it. 

When Are You Allowed to Change the Name on a Ticket?

While there are many restrictions concerning changing the name on a plane reservation, there are some circumstances where you can. Unfortunately, though, you can’t change your name for any reason. 

The times when you can change the name after a flight booking include:

  • When there is a typo
  • When the airline allows you to transfer the ticket
  • When your name changes

Airlines allow minor name corrections if you, for instance, accidentally left off one or two letters in your middle name or mistyped the name on the ticket. 

But, problems can arise if you don’t make the name correction within a specific timeframe. 

For example, Southwest Airlines allows certain passengers to change their names online. However, no one can change their name within an hour of a domestic flight’s departure or an hour and a half before international flights.

So, you should double-check your name early because once you have your boarding pass, it’s probably too late. Additionally, quickly catching the mistake is good because some airlines may waive change fees if you notice the error soon. 

However, to save time and money, remember that the airlines do not care if you leave out a middle initial. 

Also, some companies, like Delta Air Lines, allow nicknames as long as they are common shortenings of your legal name. For example, writing ‘Steve’ when your legal name is ‘Stephen.’

Transferring Airline Tickets

You can sometimes transfer airline tickets to another person, but don’t count on it. 

Since ticket prices can change drastically over time, airlines want to prevent people from buying flight tickets cheap then reselling them later. These scalpers operate the same as people who sell tickets outside of sporting events or on a secondary market. 

Yet, some airlines do allow you to transfer a ticket to someone else. 

The hitch is that most airline tickets cost money to transfer. Usually, it is high enough that any profit gained by theoretical scalpers would be negligible. 

So you can transfer a flight ticket at some airlines as long as you don’t mind paying the change fees. Major airlines that allow this include Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

However, United Airlines, for instance, doesn’t allow ticket transfers even for something like a family emergency. 

But, if you want to prevent these issues completely, get a refundable ticket instead. These tickets allow you to get your money back if you can’t attend a flight. 

Recently Changed Names

You can almost always change the name on a flight reservation if you purchase it before your legal name changes. All you need to do is put in a change request for your flight ticket.

Airlines will require a copy of the legal document, like a marriage certificate or court order, however, to verify the name change. 

And you should always begin this process as soon as possible. Bureaucracy isn’t the fastest, and no one wants to be scrambling on the day of a flight. 

Yet, if you can’t start the process before the flight, bring documentation with you. 

Thus, overall, while it may be a hassle, you can fly if you can prove you are who the airline reservation says you are. 

Do You Have to Pay Change Fees to Change the Name?

Yes, as stated above, you have to pay a change fee to transfer the flight ticket, but what about the smaller changes like a misspelled name or a maiden name change? 

Though it might seem like a simple fix, sometimes airlines will charge for the new ticket.

Luckily, though, adjustments because of name changes will not cost you money. However, typo fixes can cost you depending on the airline and when you try to change it.

In most cases, if you catch a spelling mistake in the first 24 hours after booking the flight, you can change the name on your ticket for free. Yet, past this point, you will probably have to pay.

But, certain airlines, like Jetblue, allow you to correct your name once for free no matter when you catch the mistake. American Airlines also does not charge for a name change in most cases. 

Finally, to make any changes, you need to call the airline directly or your travel agent. 

Do You Have to Correct a Spelling Mistake on a Ticket?

The answer is a definite yes if you want to fly. 

For security reasons, the Transportation Security Administration’s rules state that the passenger details on your airplane ticket must match your government-issued ID.

So, be careful when you type your name, and if you use a booking agent, make sure they can read your name back to you correctly.