06 November 2008

A Married Name, A Singular Headache

Airline Travel...What You Really Need To Know!!!
Nov. 5th, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

This first story is all about getting married (especially the ladies) and not changing your name! I'll give you my two cents and I have seen it happen and seen the results and if you don't prepare inadvance you could run into undo stress during a new marriage and honeymoon trip that you really shouldn't have to go through!I will give you tips on what to do at the end of the story!!!

Here are the particulars:
Woman booked a ticket under her married name, but her passport doesn't match
The airline will change the name on the ticket, but it will cost the woman $400
While it was the customer's mistake, the airline agreed to a $50 change fee
By Christopher ElliottTribune Media Services

(Tribune Media Services) --

Shaun Francis' daughter has the wrong name on her airline ticket. It's her married name, and her passport still has her maiden name. The airline is happy to fix the ticket -- for a $400 fee. But is that right?
Q: My daughter and son-in-law will be traveling to South Africa to attend a cousin's wedding.

They've been carefully watching ticket prices online and recently found a fare on South African Airways. They phoned the airline to book the tickets.
The problem is that my daughter's ticket is under her married name. My daughter has yet to secure a new passport and green card with her new name, and there isn't enough time to get them before they leave.
An airline representative told my daughter that South African would issue a refund, minus a 25 percent administrative fee. But then she would have to buy a new, and probably more expensive, ticket. And there would be no guarantee she could get a seat on the same flight as her husband.
I do realize that this was a mistake of their own making, but the 25 percent fee works out to $400, which they can ill afford. Can you help? -- Shaun Francis, Orlando, Florida

A: South African Airways was well within its rights to charge a 25 percent fee for a refund.

In fact, some airlines won't issue a refund of any kind when you buy a ticket under a wrong name. You're just out of luck. At least the airline was offering some of your daughter's money back.
But should it do more? I think South African might have considered listening to this young family's story. They're newlyweds with limited resources and in my correspondence with you, it turns out they did their best to fix this mistake immediately, including calling the airline only a few hours after the erroneous booking.
Your daughter isn't the first newlywed who has done this. I'm not suggesting the airline should fix this free of charge. A mistake was made. But was it a $400 mistake?
There are easy ways to avoid the wrong-name error. Hiring a travel agent is the most obvious. Although an agent will charge a ticketing fee, you can also be sure that a competent travel professional will take the trouble to get your names right. They're also well connected, so that if something does go wrong, they can usually negotiate a name change at little or no cost to you.
You can also conduct the transaction online instead of by phone when booking directly with an airline. That's your next-safest option. Why? Because you're given several opportunities to review your name, and most airlines also have warnings that the name on your passport has to match the name on your ticket. It's less likely you would have made this error online.
By the way, this could have ended much worse. Your daughter could have tried to fly under her original ticket, using her marriage certificate as evidence that her name had been legally changed. That might have gotten her on the plane, but she also might not have been allowed back to the States. And that would have been a much bigger problem.
I contacted South African on your behalf, and it agreed to fix the ticket for a $50 fee.
All of this is the original reporter of the story!

Now my input:

Ladies until the airlines catch up with the times....CHANGE YOUR MAIDEN NAME is first and foremost or wait till you have the proper documentation to fly and wait till you have it in hand before you leave the USA. If you leave and the docs aren't right then you have the chance of having troubles when trying to re-enter. Think ahead and give up on some of the oldschool values and traditions and get things changed or stay in the US for your honeymoon till you have the proper docs. When you fly as a newly married wife and you make (or husband) reservations that involve your honeymoon you need to have changed over state id's, passports, social security cards etc. The more you have the better off you will be! The airline can be accommodating to a point but once the US and Federal governments in other countries get involved the airline has no control or action in helping you. This also applies if you have children and the children have the last name of the mother and not the father you will have like problems from seating arrangements to customs issues when you travel as a family.

(example below)

You’re married and your spouse has a different last name than you. Here is what the airline will see. Since the adults have different last names even though the reservation system sees the names in the same reservation it will consider them (2) two separate parties. So why is this important? Do you want to sit with your wife (kids read below)??? (Guys don’t answer that one too fast) Usually in today’s day and age some women don’t usually change from their maiden name to their married name. So when the reservations system see’s this it will automatically seat you separately. Now the agent will go back in the check-in profile and change that to put you both together in seating. This is ok when the flights not real full but when it’s full this can be a headache for some people. If you have a good agent this will happen and you won’t even notice it in the time you’re standing there checking in. The trick is 1. Ladies change your maiden name to your married name if you think you’re going to travel. It’s usually it’s a trip down to DMV, your local social security office and it’s done. 2. Always keep each other in the same reservations if at all possible. You must say "we are a family of 4 persons" 2 adults and 2 children Now as far as the kids are concerned, the children should fly under whatever the family name is when it comes to what they’re reservations should be made under. (Carry some form of ID for your kids like passports or at least copies of birth certificates) Even if the mother’s children from a previous marriage they should fly under the new family surname. If you don’t, you take the chance of the children getting split from one or both parents when seating assignments are issued, like children under the age of 12 sitting in the Emergency Exit Row Seats and worst of all not everyone getting a seat assigned if the flight is in an oversell situation. Because of children I have seen a whole family to get bumped (Involuntarily Denied Boarding) and it’s usually late night, vacation trip or international travels which are the hardest to fix after the fact. Also I know it might be a pain to do but when you initially go to check-in for the flight (before you know exactly what the seat assignment are) bring the whole family up, not just the tickets that way the agent can see what type of passengers they will be seating. The agent will know to avoid the certain areas on the plane that are not conducive to children. There is another way to try to keep from catching a seating problem when making the reservation through an airline representative or travel agent.

Male or female children, 15 and younger get “MSTR” or “MISS” in front of their name when the reservation is made. You as the parent MUST tell the agent that you have children under 15 traveling with you to minimize seating problems when you go to check-in! This will tell the reservation system that this is a minor and to seat them with the assumed adult names listed in the reservation. The computer system will try to keep this group together.Now if you’re coming from different airports and meeting up and traveling on further, this is not possible. The more you show individuality the more problems you may encounter, so travel as a family unit it will make things easier.

Remember Be Proactive Not Reactive When It Comes To Airline Travel!!!

No comments: