If you made a typo while buying an airline ticket and made a spelling mistake, have no fear: Most airlines will let you make small name corrections to your name with a minimum of fuss. However, if you've gone through a legal name change, it may take a little more effort to get your reservations and legal identification all lined up. And if you want to let someone else use your ticket, you probably won't be so lucky. Most flight tickets are not transferable, and those that are usually come with a hefty fee attached to the airfare.

Attention Required

Upon discovering that your plane ticket information has your name misspelled, it's imperative that you act immediately, preferably within the first few hours of booking. If you're still at home and have discovered the error, such as on an email confirmation of your flight, contact the airline as soon as possible to explain the situation and find out what action, if any, the airline requires. If the error is significant enough that you likely won't be able to board the plane, you might have to apply for an immediate name change on the document. Depending on the airline's policies, you might have to pay for this change if you're at fault.

Change name on an airline ticket to fix a name misspelled on a boarding pass

If you've made a spelling error while entering your name during the flight booking process, most airlines will let you correct any passenger name online or through their customer service desk. Each airline's change policy varies, so either hunt through the FAQs on their website or contact customer service and ask how you should proceed. For instance Alaska, American Airlines and Delta Airlines charge fees up to $200 for such changes, but Jetblue and Southwest usually don’t charge any name change fee for misspellings.

Don't leave this until the last minute, though, because if there's a discrepancy between the spellings of your legal identification and your flight reservation, you might not be allowed to fly.

Change name on an airline ticket following legal name changes

Flight bookings under a maiden name, new name prior to legal name change, or the wrong name may need rebooking depending on extent of change, minor changes or minor name corrections may be done by the airline and can come with or without a change fee. Try to fix any changes prior to check in on the day of the flight, if possible. Carriers such as Delta, Emirates, American Airlines, or Ryanair often have travel agents available via phone call for support.

If you've married, divorced or changed your legal name for any other reason, contact your travel agent or your airline's customer service desk as soon as possible to register that change on any bookings, as well as your frequent flyer account. It could be helpful to keep a picture of your marriage certificate handy for these kinds of situations (if applicable), or simply travel with your maiden name (the one that’s on your license/passport) until you can get those documents updated with your new name. Keep in mind that all your travel documentation needs to match exactly – so your passport, driver's license and any other identification you're using will need to be updated too to avoid the hassle. Otherwise you could get slapped with some steep re-book or cancellation fees regarding the wrong name on your boarding pass.

Act Quickly for Name Changes

There are two reasons to make any name changes as soon as possible before your flight: First, some airlines require as much as two weeks to process a change to your original ticket. Second, most airlines allow fee-free ticket changes, and even full-on cancellation and full refund, within the first 24 hours of booking. So if you can get in touch with them quickly, you should have smooth sailing.

Having your name incorrect on your boarding pass doesn't necessarily mean you won't be allowed on the plane, but it's not a given that you'll be permitted to board with the typo, either. Dealing with the issue promptly is your best option, so after receiving any information concerning your flight, double check it carefully to ensure that the passenger name is spelled correctly and that the name listed is the full name on the government issued id.

The Hunt for Transferable Airline Tickets

Most plane tickets are nontransferable, which means you can't bow out of the reservation and let someone else take it instead. The few airlines that do offer ticket transfers usually charge a hefty fee for doing so. Purchasing the lowest-price tickets – which are also the least flexible – is a surefire way of guaranteeing you won't be able to make this type of change to your ticket. More flexible tickets are also more expensive, but they give you an easy out of the name change issue. If you're flying on a refundable ticket, you have the option of cancelling it and then applying the refund to a new ticket in the correct name.

Transportation Security Administration

If you can't get the ticket changed in time, it's logical for you to expect that the Transportation Security Administration will catch the spelling error and prohibit you from boarding the plane. This belief is not necessarily correct. In an article in the "Los Angeles Times," a TSA spokesman confirmed that if a name on a ticket has a discrepancy of one or two letters, the TSA can often allow the person to board the plane. If the misspelling is significant enough that it doesn't bear resemblance to your passport, you likely won't be allowed to board the plane.


Airlines and the TSA permit minor errors or spelling mistakes associated with names on airline tickets. If your first and last name are switched on the ticket, this mistake is not enough to prevent you from being able to fly. Likewise, if your name is shortened or lengthened, such as "Rob" instead of "Robert," or your middle name/ middle initial is incorrect, the airline and the TSA consider these errors minor in nature. Domestic flights may also offer more lenience than international travel itineraries.


Now that you've corrected any discrepancies between your airline reservation and your legal identification, make sure you also follow TSA regulations for packing liquids and prohibited items.