What's in a name (to the TSA)?
September 28, 2014 11:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm flying from the West Coast to the East Coast of the US in 24 hours and was about to check in when I realized my name was wrong on the itinerary. Say my name is Katie Smith - it's listed in my booking as Katiems Smith. I'm pretty sure Google Flight just mashed together my first name and Ms., but now it's appears at Katiems on the itinerary and obviously my passport and driver's license say Katie. What to do?

I can call United Customer Service at work tomorrow but don't know how helpful they'll be. Is this a frequent occurrence? Anyone else experience this using Google Flight to purchase tickets?
posted by wintersonata9 to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is very common and done on purpose by some airline reservation systems. It ALWAYS happens to my name when traveling overseas, and on certain domestic carriers as well. You will not have any issue getting through security, as it is intentional.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:06 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This happens to my name, too. Never had an issue getting through security or boarding.
posted by perryfugue at 11:12 PM on September 28, 2014

Best answer: This happens to me all the time (possibly because I frequently fly United within the US). It is - as far as I can tell - bizarre-looking but intentional, not limited to Google Flight (which I don't use), and not going to cause you any problems.
posted by ubersturm at 11:16 PM on September 28, 2014

Best answer: I have a very common legal surname suffix, and it frequently gets appended onto my first name on my boarding pass. I'm nthing others - I've never had a problem getting through security, don't worry.
posted by namewithoutwords at 11:22 PM on September 28, 2014

Best answer: Yep. Standard United thing. Don't worry.
posted by olinerd at 11:24 PM on September 28, 2014

Response by poster: PHEW! Thanks, all.
posted by wintersonata9 at 11:34 PM on September 28, 2014

I fly Delta all the time and it also occurs there, no problems. It's most likely a flaw/design choice in the your airline-of-choice's reservation system; basically the system can't be arsed to properly separate given names on a boarding pass. Totally not a big deal.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:40 PM on September 28, 2014

In my experience, TSA has been pretty lenient about these kinds of things. My middle name frequently gets smashed with my first and then truncated. And I have a suffix (4th; IV) on my passport so internationally I sometimes get tickets/reservations with "Lastnameiv" or just "iv". Hasn't ever been a problem.

As a programer, trust me when I say that putting names in databases is hard! I'm certain they see issues like this every 10 minutes of their day.
posted by sbutler at 2:21 AM on September 29, 2014

You will be fine. But if you need further reassurance, you can actually call the TSA branch at the airport & they will tell you the same thing.
posted by Mr. Justice at 6:31 AM on September 29, 2014

Nthing that it's a very ordinary database entry error and you can expect to live with it.

Happened to me about six years ago and I'm still FirstnameMiddlename on about half of my boarding passes, no matter what I enter into the reservation systems.

I foresee no insoluble problems, unless maybe you're actually a Mr.
posted by Kakkerlak at 7:25 AM on September 29, 2014

I recently flew as Kyler Mylastname instead of Kyle R Mylastname and although airline staff addressed me as "Kyler" more than once, no one gave me any trouble.
posted by mskyle at 8:23 AM on September 29, 2014

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