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”!

 

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • Andrew said,

    Wouldn’t you be more worried about getting through security in Tel Aviv on the return journey? Compared to the security at Ben Gurion, TSA would be a walk in the park no?

  • jacquie whitt said,

    I had quite a different situation when escorting a group of students to South America.
    The mother of 1 student gave me the hyphenated last name on the birth certificate and I booked the student’s international airfare on American with that name. The student used the same BC to apply for his very first passport but for some reason, the passport showed up with only one of his last names.
    When we arrived at the airport, AA agent would not issue a boarding pass because the names on the ticket did not match the name on the passport. And they were afraid that Peruvian immigration would not accept the two variations of his name.
    AA agent at the airport told us they could not issue a new ticket and we should contact CheapOAir to ask them to change his ticket.
    Because we had members of our group on another AA flight, one of the AA agents in the airport graciously changed his ticket to the other flight and he was allowed to go. Otherwise he would not have made the flight. (CheapOAir was useless and put us on hold for over an hour)
    Before we departed the US, I called our guide in Peru to ask about the domestic flights. His reply? Everyone in South America has multiple and hyphenated names. It’s not a big deal as long as the passport # match. He was right. No one asked about his name and aside from getting a flat tire in a taxi in Lima, he enjoyed his trip.

  • dealswelike said,

    @jacquie – oh no! glad it all worked out in the end. to them it is a totally different last name and not just a typo so I see what they are saying (although do NOT agree at all). It is so easy for them to change a ticket not sure why they just don’t do it.

  • Ryan H said,

    @Andrew: I believe this happened with El Al security representatives, not TSA.

Add A Comment

home top