Flying with misspelled name on drivers license
December 11, 2023 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I just moved and got my new drivers license. My middle name is misspelled. I know I need to get it fixed, but I might have a timing issue.

If it matters, it's misspelled because I don't use the spelling on my birth certificate, and I still need to find the legal document from forty years ago that shows it was changed. When I applied for the drivers license, I just forgot that it was different on my birth certificate. (My mom gave me the wrong spelling when I was child, so I was spelling it one way for years before I saw my birth certificate. I preferred the "wrong" version though, so I kept using it.)

However, I just heard from an old friend that she has entered hospice and wants to see me. So I'm not sure this gives me time to get it fixed. It would be a domestic flight in the US.

What is my best option here?
posted by FencingGal to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
If you go in person to the driver's license office (whatever it is called in your jurisdiction), they should be able to correct it and get a temporary. As long as you are flying domestic that should be fine, especially if you have both when you get to security.
posted by _DB_ at 10:25 AM on December 11, 2023

Just buy a ticket without using your middle name at all.
posted by deadweightloss at 10:34 AM on December 11, 2023 [25 favorites]

My work’s travel-booking system mangles my name by booking with the first + middle initial as my first name (so, for “Blue Jello Elf”, my ticket would be “Bluej Elf”) and TSA didn’t even blink, if that helps.

I’d try to get the temporary for peace of mind, but if the logistics don’t work, it may be fine regardless. (You can even fly without an ID at all if you lose it, it’s just a moderate pain at the airport.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:35 AM on December 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

If you can't get it fixed in time, I would suggest that you book your ticket without giving your middle name. The name and the ticket then matches the name on your driver's license.

By the way, even if you forget your id, there are still ways to get through TSA, you just need to allow extra time to go through the process. So, in your case, where you can provide multiple forms of identification with consistent names, it should work but it would be an additional headache.
posted by metahawk at 10:36 AM on December 11, 2023

If you have a passport with your name spelled correctly, just use that instead of your driver’s license.
posted by slkinsey at 11:10 AM on December 11, 2023 [12 favorites]

Agree that you should not put your middle name on the ticket (or spell it the same way on the ticket as it's spelled on your ID), but also that it is unlikely to be a problem - on my most recent trip through a TSA checkpoint my boarding pass had just the first two letters of my middle name (I had been rebooked after my original flight was cancelled and maybe the agent who issued the new ticket got tired of typing?). No problems.

I have also flown with no ID at all (left my wallet in the rental car) and it was less arduous than I would have expected (that said, I am a white woman who rarely registers on anyone's threat-meter). The TSA wanted to know if I had any credit cards (yes, in the wallet in the rental car) or prescription medications (nope!). I had *nothing*. So they took me through one of those series of questions that you sometimes have to take to get access to a bank account or something where they're like, "what color was the car you had in 1999?" and "which of these addresses have you lived at?"

(Also I assume you don't have a passport or similar; otherwise the obvious answer would be to use that instead of the driver's license.)
posted by mskyle at 11:51 AM on December 11, 2023

Just buy a plane ticket with whatever name is on your DL/passport/whatever. It's far more important that those match verses that your DL/passport/whatever match whatever your "real" name is. Depending on your airport, it's very possible TSA is going to even look at your boarding pass anyway, but if someone does check, those need to match. Trying to explain "no you see, my brand new government issued ID doesn't have my real name on it..." is going to be more hassle than you are going to want to deal with.
posted by Back At It Again At Krispy Kreme at 4:17 PM on December 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

Ive bought plane tickets giving my middle initial forgetting that my DL has my whole middle name. Ive called the airline and had them change the name on the ticket.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:11 AM on December 12, 2023

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