Back in August there was a system glitch and EL AL was selling tickets to Tel Aviv for $337-$400/person. I quickly booked tickets for my parents and in the heat of the moment I misspelled my dads name. I included an extra “r” in his first name. I quickly realized the issue and when I called Expedia to change the name all they would simply do is cancel the ticket. Not a great resolution as a few hours had gone by and the system glitch had been noticed and you could no longer get these tickets for this incredibly low price.
I called EL AL and they pretty much assured me there would be no problem, but you never know. The representative I spoke to wasn’t going to be the one checking my dad’s boarding pass and with airline policies this day I hate to risk it.
Well I told my parents it would absolutely not be a problem (they believed me), but until my dad called me to say he was on the plane I must admit I was a bit nervous. I coached my dad on what to say if it was noticed and emphasized no wise-ass comments allowed with the TSA guys or EL AL representatives.
So my dad called me when he got on the plane and said there were no big issues. It absolutely was noticed and they did pull him aside. They said they needed a supervisor to approve the names not matching and a spiel on how technically names need to match word for word, etc. From the story I heard from my dad, the supervisor arrived (who he described as a high school student), gave his approval with no hesitation and my parents were on their way. Phew!
So if you have this issue I guess do not be worried (from my dad’s experience), but I highly suggest ensuring all documentation is accurate as there is no reason to take a chance. This was only one extra letter added, so a totally different name would not work. As the EL AL representative put it, if the ticket said “Levy”, but his passport said “Cohen” then that would be an issue! Only from EL AL would you hear that analogy and not the “Smith” vs. “Jones”!