Wrong name on plane ticket
January 4, 2011 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Out of habit, I bought a plane ticket for my wife with her maiden name, while her driver's license now shows her married name. How much trouble will she get into at airport security?

They're different last names, no hyphen. We'll be bringing a copy of our marriage license and an old driver's license too. Will TSA be reasonable or am I going to be out the $300 for a new ticket?

And yes, I'm kind of an idiot.
posted by miyabo to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This happens to me sometimes (the company flying me out buys the ticket under my working name instead of my legal name.) I always bring my pocket birth certificate with me, and not once has anybody done more than looked at it and sent me on my way.
posted by headspace at 7:21 PM on January 4, 2011

You might give the airline a call. If you explain the situation, they can probably just change the name on the reservation, even if the ticket is supposed to be non-transferrable. Phone agents have enormous amounts of leeway.

Also, does she have a passport? Has she gotten around to getting a new one? Even if so, the old one (if not expired) is just fine as ID for the purposes of getting past TSA.
posted by rockindata at 7:26 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

At most she will be labeled 'flying without identification' - which is perfectly legal. If they care, they'll pull her aside for extra screening. No big deal.
posted by jenmakes at 7:26 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have her bring her marriage certificate. She'll be fine.

Also after we had been married for 4 years and 3 years after I changed my name legally my husband called me from the lobby of my work, outside of the secured door that you call to get buzzed in. He said I don't see you listed on the directory. Puzzled I walked down to let him in so I could look at the board also since I know my name was listed in the past. I get there and of course I'm still listed. He was looking for my maiden name not my married name which was also his name. Now that is being an idiot!
posted by MimiC at 7:34 PM on January 4, 2011

She can bring her marriage certificate.
posted by apricot at 7:37 PM on January 4, 2011

The marriage license is the official thing you are supposed to bring to deal with this situation, it should be 100% fine. Never any guarantee TSA won't be dicks, but they have no reason to be.
posted by crabintheocean at 7:42 PM on January 4, 2011

(license/certificate - that thing you get!)
posted by crabintheocean at 7:42 PM on January 4, 2011

Seconding jenmakes. You can fly without ID in the USA, as long as you submit to a perfunctory identity-verification quiz. So that's pretty much the worst-case scenario.
posted by Dimpy at 7:53 PM on January 4, 2011

Thirding jenmakes, I purchased a ticket for a co-worker by the name I new him as, where his legal name is totally different. The ticket counter agent was understanding, mentioned it happens often, and marked his ticket in a manner which had him searched thoroughly. No issues outside of that.
posted by oblio_one at 8:00 PM on January 4, 2011

Is her old driver's license still valid? If so, I would just use the old ID and not mention the name change.
posted by gnutron at 8:00 PM on January 4, 2011

Does she have any store credit cards or anything semi-official with her maiden name? My friend just had a similar issue and they accepted her Costco Card and a credit card for domestic travel within the US.
posted by kaybdc at 8:44 PM on January 4, 2011

Yeah, I carried my marriage certificate too - my passport was in my maiden name and tickets were always in my married name.
posted by tracicle at 12:11 AM on January 5, 2011

even internationally, I was told they would have changed it if I'd had my marriage certificate with me. I didn't, although they kindly reimbursed by first ticket when I had to buy a new one there and then.
posted by Wilder at 2:04 AM on January 5, 2011

I have done the same a few times - my passport is in my maiden name and my driver's license is in my married name. I had to fly to Canada with my married name on the ticket, and my maiden name passport. I brought my driver's license, marriage license, new and old social security cards - the airline staff gave me a hard time, but the TSA was fine with it.
posted by elvissa at 6:32 AM on January 5, 2011

Anecdotally (is that a word?), it's probably a good idea for your wife to carry a copy of the marriage license with her as long as she's got anything in her maiden name, just in case someone questions the mismatch. We rented a car just after my wife changed her name, so her shiny new driver's license had her married name but her insurance card had her maiden name. When she pulled out the marriage license at the rental counter, the lady behind the counter gave us a free upgrade because we were "newlyweds". This was 2+ years into our marriage.
As far as the airport, if you've got ID that matches the name on the ticket, you'll probably have to undergo a more extensive check-in process (give yourself extra time), but you shouldn't have problems actually getting on the plane.
posted by Morydd at 5:19 AM on January 7, 2011

Response by poster: She just showed her old (clipped) ID and TSA had absolutely no problem. Thanks everyone.
posted by miyabo at 7:58 AM on January 10, 2011

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