Will they let her on the plane?
January 8, 2013 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I was just going over our flight info-my husband and I and our two adult daughters are flying out to Texas to my son's wedding. I just noticed that our travel agent used my younger daughter's maiden name instead of her married name (she is separated but not divorced.) The travel agent is calling me back in a bit but how screwed are we?

Her ID is in her married name. She does have her birth certificate and her marriage certificate, but ideally, should I expect the agent to fix this? (I TOLD him the correct name over the phone but you would think I would have checked the printout before now.) I just want to avoid excess hilarity at check-in. What do we do? We are flying Delta, if that matters. Oh, and I just got off the phone with the agent and he has been less than helpful.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies to Travel & Transportation (30 answers total)
I can't offer any advice about your travel agent, but when this happened to me, I just showed my marriage certificate at check-in and everything was fine.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:10 PM on January 8, 2013

Best answer: Oh, hang on; disregard. My passport was still in my maiden name, so the situation isn't quite the same. Sorry.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:12 PM on January 8, 2013

Best answer: I have recently flown domestically and internationally with a maiden name ticket and marriage certificate. Provide it up front and should not add more than a couple seconds to check-in. The only problem I had was flying back INTO the U.S. when I was forced to use an electronic check-in and passport. First agent was confused, customer service straightened it all out in under 10 minutes to make my flight just fine.

Edited to add: make sure it is the notarized certificate and not a copy. I asked at one airport, out of curiosity, if they would take a copy and the answer was to the effect of, "oh HELL no."
posted by keasby at 3:13 PM on January 8, 2013

Why don't you call the airline you're flying from directly if the agent isn't being helpful? You may need to pay a change fee, but it's better then being denied entry to the plane. This is a big deal that could cause one to be denied.

If her passport is correct, use the passport instead of license.
posted by lpcxa0 at 3:13 PM on January 8, 2013

The TSA website explains that the name which is provided to the airlines at the time of booking is used to verify that you are not on any No-Fly lists. Assuming you've passed that hurdle, the absence of an exact match between the ID and the boarding pass is not necessarily a problem.

An FAQ section on the TSA website says ...

"If the name printed on my boarding pass is different than what appears on my government ID, will I be turned away at security and unable to fly?

Boarding passes may not always display the exact name you provided when booking your travel. The name you provide is used to perform watch list matching before a boarding pass is issued, so small differences should not impact your travel."

Also, depending on the length of time you've dealt with this travel agency/agent and the amount of money you've spent there, you might want to escalate your concerns to another level.
posted by John Borrowman at 3:14 PM on January 8, 2013

Best answer: I had a passport in my prior married name and D/L in maiden name (changed after I divorced). I had to pay a $100 change fee to AA to make the ticket match the ID that I was using to travel, the passport. I could not use my D/L because it was an int'l flight. So whatever ID she's using has to match the ticket. I also got shuffled around with "you should be fine" by the travel agent, only to have to fork over the $100 on check-in. Verify with the airline but pretty sure the picture ID has to match the ticket.

If it was the travel agent's mistake, I would expect them to fix it and eat the charge.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:20 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: Just got off the phone with Delta. They are referring me back to the travel agent. He's a one horse outfit we have used for years and until now has been great. Sigh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:31 PM on January 8, 2013

This exact thing happened to me and I was ok presenting a copy of my marriage certificate at the check-in counter.
posted by yawper at 3:46 PM on January 8, 2013

Not sure when you're leaving but if you don't have time to deal with your agent, I would also post your question on this forum , Delta has reps that browse the frequent flyer section regularly. You should get some feedback even if it's a bit snooty. Also, if you have twitter, post a twit (?) to hash tag (?, I don't use twitter so pardon the incorrect lingo) @DeltaAssist.

Otherwise, call your travel agent and state that none of your daughter's travel documents match her ticket name and you want a reissue with the correct information to avoid any issues. You're in the right, the travel agent is in the wrong here.
posted by lpcxa0 at 3:46 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Isn't her birth surname on her marriage license? I would think that the combo of a passport made out to Jane Smith and a marriage license saying that Jane Doe was marrying Richard Smith would be enough to establish that Jane Smith and Jane Doe are the same person.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:54 PM on January 8, 2013

The FAQ John Borrowman quotes is talking about the fact the airlines have a penchant for printing the boarding pass of someone whose ID says Jane Anne Smith as belonging to Jane Smith or even Janea Smith, not Jane Jones having a ticket that says Jane Smith and a marriage certificate saying they're both the same person.

I can't actually answer your question, only point out that that FAQ is about something else.
posted by hoyland at 3:57 PM on January 8, 2013

I would use social media to get Delta's attention to work with you. I've had far more success resolving frustrations with big companies through Twitter, than any customer service on the phone.

Send them a public Tweet at one of these Delta Twitter accounts, or maybe try Facebook.
posted by raztaj at 3:59 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bring a copy of the marriage certificate. You probably won't need it, but that ought to take care of it if you do.
posted by valkyryn at 4:03 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: Ok, she has a copy of her marriage certificate. That and a social security card and her birth certificate should work. The travel agent keeps saying that if we bring that we will be okay, he has been doing this twenty years, yadda yadda yadda. He knows that if there IS a problem he will be woken at five in the morning on Friday. We are flying out of Raleigh so hopefully things will be ok.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:12 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: Oh, and that particular daughter has no passport fwiw.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:13 PM on January 8, 2013

Certified copy of the marriage certificate, not photocopy.
posted by griphus at 4:28 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: I'll eyeball it myself tomorrow, but from what she says its certified.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:35 PM on January 8, 2013

I've been turned away at the security check because of a single letter misspelling on a ticket. This was after I called the airline twice and they said it would be no problem. I didn't believe them, so I went to the airline's city ticket office, where they refused to fix the spelling despite my insistence, and swore it would be no problem. As I checked in at the airport, the airline's agent there refused to fix the spelling, and said it wouldn't be a problem. Yup, it was a problem.

I went back to the airline's check-in desk, to a different agent, who reissued the ticket for me (which by some quirk of the system also generated a $10 voucher). That last agent explained that it's a pain to change the name, even for a single letter error - they have to cancel and re-issue the ticket. Most agents don't want to go to the trouble, so they say it's impossible and "it'll be no problem".
posted by moonmilk at 5:07 PM on January 8, 2013

If it's not too inconvenient, you could actually show up at the airline's counter at the airport before the day of your flight and straighten it out there... I did that and it was annoying, but effective.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:09 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: I'm in Fayetteville. Airport is in Raleigh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:10 PM on January 8, 2013

I would leave extra time just in case you have to do what moonmilk did.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:51 PM on January 8, 2013

See the following from the TSA website information about IDs.
We understand passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, due to lost items or inadvertently leaving them at home. Not having an ID, does not necessarily mean a passenger won't be allowed to fly. If passengers are willing to provide additional information, we have other means of substantiating someone's identity, like using publicly available databases.

Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by TSA may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or onto an airplane.
I have had friends successfully fly with no id, expired ID or other issues with their ID. Unfortunately procedures vary from airport to airport, but as a general rule if you are polite, cooperative, and willing to submit to a very thorough pat-down, you should be able to get on the plane despite your ID issues.
posted by psycheslamp at 5:53 PM on January 8, 2013

My sister had no problem flying with absolutely no ID 4 years ago. They just searched her extra well.
posted by MonsieurBon at 5:59 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: Plane leaves at 6 am....we are past pros at getting to the airport mega early, so we have that in our favor, at least.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:02 PM on January 8, 2013

I just did this in June, and I was flying internationally. AND I had a tight connection in Newark that involved an airline and terminal change. It was hellacious, and involved more running like bats out of hell than I typically like to do in an airport, but I did manage to get onto all my flights. They stamped a little "OK" on my ticket each time and signed it, which apparently served as a note to security that the name mismatch had been vetted by the airline and deemed acceptable.

If you have an old ID kicking around with the old name on it, bring that. Go straight to the ticket counter and tell them what happened. At this point they may already have a "note" on your record and be expecting you to show up.

One caveat is that I presciently kept my maiden name as a second middle name, so the ticket agents could plainly see that the name under which the ticket had been booked was a subset of my full legal name. At least one agent made the claim that they "always" are okay with people flying under names that are a subset of their full legal name - which I almost believe since I reckon people carelessly omit their middle names all the time. So, this may have made my situation easier, but I'm sure the international flight thing made it harder.

For what it's worth, they told me when we called them in a panic six hours before our travel time to bring a copy of my marriage certificate (nobody said "notarized") and nobody wanted to see it (so I'm glad it didn't matter that it wasn't notarized). I handed them my old, cancelled passport and my new passport, and that was all anyone needed. Again, this might be down to the similarity of the names.
posted by town of cats at 9:40 PM on January 8, 2013

I have a hyphenated last name and most of my ID is in my Maiden Name. I fly out of Hartsfield on a regular basis and I'm never given a hassle, no matter what permutation of my name is on my documents. FWIW my driver's license is hyphenated, my passport is in my maiden name.

I think you'll be fine with both a driver's licence, and a birth certificate.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:04 AM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: We'll be taking both documents to the airport (yep, both original documents) so I am breathing a bit more easily at the moment.

Thanks everyone!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:13 AM on January 9, 2013

While it is true that many people successfully board planes with mismatched or missing ID, it doesn't always work. As anecdata, my mother left her purse behind and Delta staff at SFO refused to let her proceed to security without ID, despite being specifically informed of the secondary screening program. So it's not foolproof.

I would demand the TA reissue the ticket, as long as you are absolutely certain the correct name was provided.
posted by wnissen at 12:08 PM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: I am absolutely certain the correct info was provided, I am absolutely certain he screwed up. But it is her maiden name, we have the marriage license AND the birth certificate, and believe it or not, the travel agent IS reachable by phone at that ungodly hour so if push comes to shove he will have to pull that rabbit out of the hat one way or another.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:24 PM on January 9, 2013

Response by poster: We are here at the gate...her paperwork was enough. No trouble at all except the TSA felt up my right leg.(!) Thanks everybody!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:06 AM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

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