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Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

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Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

My friend organized a trip for us to Los Angeles through his travel agent. I called the agent and paid for my ticket with a credit card over the phone. The agent said to check in through United's website (We were flying on United), but when I tried that it took too long for the page to load, so I checked in at the airport instead. When I scanned my credit card through the United check-in kiosk, it printed a ticket with my friend's name instead of mine. I used that to get to LA. I didn't feel like sticking around and sorting it out to get the proper ticket.

Before returning from LA, I logged on to United's website (successfully this time) to print my return tickets, which also had my friend's name instead of mine. That didn't get me through screening at LA (I should have expected that, but was too distracted visiting people there to pay attention). I called the travel agent to see if she could solve the problem. I didn't see why I should have to pay extra, since I'd already bought the tickets, but she said I had to pay because it was my fault, and that I could have somehow gotten tickets with my name from the kiosk if I had checked in properly. I later asked a woman working at a United check-in counter about that, and she said the agent's story wasn't plausible. What do you think? Should I have done things differently? If so, how should I have done them?

Thanks for the help.

Nannup, Australia
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3,652 posts
26 reviews
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1. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

I don't know how they do things in the States, but in Australia as soon as a booking is made (on-line or through an agent) the itinerary is automatically e-mailed to the passenger by the airline's reservation system. It is then up to the passenger to check that all is in order. If there is a problem and it is reported IMMEDIATELY it is usually fixed at no cost. If you choose not to check and only discover a problem when you come to check-in then that problem IS a problem! A professional agent should run through the itinerary from name, to date/time and flight details when they have you on the phone. Sounds like yours didn't.

Atlanta, Georgia
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665 posts
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2. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

First, the thing you printed was a boarding pass, not a ticket, not that that really matters. Most ppl have electronic tickets.

"Everyone" knows that in the USA the boarding pass MUST show the name of the actual passenger, the form of the name matching up with that in their "government issued photo ID". The name requirement has been around for a while - I remember my son had a name-related situation back in 1996. (His father's travel agent put the father's name on the ticket. Delta's agents told me it would be ok as it was a child. Then TWA (?) lost a plane in the ocean and there was the Olympics bombing ... security increased and Delta threatened to ban my son for life. Then they let him fly, so, whatever.)

Let me try to undertsand some of the details.

ok. WrongName and WrongNamesFriend are going to LA from airport and country unknown.

Did you fly together?

Wrongname paid separately for Wrongname's ticket using Wrongname's credit card, is that right?

WrongnameFriend paid separately using a credit card with his/her own name on, is that right?

And apparently weren't given a receipt/itinerary, or didn't read it?

I'm trying to see here whether you inadvertently printed Friend's boarding pass or whether TravelAgent issued two tickets in Friend's name and none in yours.

You printed a boarding pass in UnknownAirport, using your credit card to find the booking. According to the separate purchase theory, this boarding pass was intended for your travel, not Friend's. Friend had his/her own boarding pass, or maybe was going to join you in LA, you don't tell us.

Somehow Security (the TSA if you were in the USA) and the airline both let you on the plane with the non-matching documents. (Is your name similar to Friend's?)

Then you got your boarding pass for the return half of the the trip, which not surprisingly had Friend's name. Where was Friend meanwhile, did he/she have their own boarding pass? This time security noticed - you were lucky not to be arrested - and you had to buy a new ticket.

If you had paid for both tickets then your credit card would have given you access to both boarding passes at the airport, and maybe you could have printed out only Friend's and not seen yours. But then how did Friend travel? And anyway you suggest the two of you booked and paid separately based on Friend's research and planning.

If you really only accessed and printed the boarding pass intended for you to travel on then it seems you are right and the travel agent put the the wrong name, using Friend's name twice.

If that happened, the next question is, what else is Travel Agent responsible for? Agent might have been negligent in setting up the booking, but the passenger may be the one responsible for verifying details.

You rights as a consumer of Travel Agent's services might depend on what country you are in, and you haven't shared that.

4 posts
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3. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

Thanks. I didn't notice the wrong name until the second leg of the flight. I'm not used to using a travel agent but I'll be more careful the next time I have to use one.

4 posts
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4. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

Thanks. My friend and I were flying together, from eastern US. My name is not similar to my friend's name. You're right that I should have paid better attention. I was in a hurry and didn't notice the mistake until halfway through the trip. I'll be more careful next time.

Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
94 reviews
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5. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

This is a bit of a crazy story. Are you making this up?

How did you get on the first flight, using a boarding pass with your friend's name? That boarding pass wouldn't match your identification and TSA would not have let you through.

And, if you were traveling with your friend, one would think the agent would notice two people with the exact same name.

Destination Expert
for Israel
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36,733 posts
38 reviews
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6. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

I"m with gracie-boo. I do not see how you got on the flight with the wrong name. TSA isn't perfect, but they are not that bad. Something doesn't jive. AND your "anonymous" location only adds more credence to that theory.

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7. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

The location is "anonymous" because I don't want to get the screener in trouble. There was a long line at security, about 100 people for 1 or 2 screeners, so I can see how they could have overlooked a name, and it was pretty early in the morning, too. Thanks.

South Pole
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15,381 posts
36 reviews
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8. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

another doubter here.

Level Contributor
49,561 posts
92 reviews
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9. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?

another doubter here.


There are many documented instances of people getting on the wrong flight inadvertently. To think that mistakes never occur with the millions of people that travel everyday is nonsensical.

As to what happened here there is just not enough info to say, the mistake could be one of several but not checking details as soon as the OP got a flight itinerary emailed to them was the starting point for things going wrong.

Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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15,578 posts
71 reviews
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10. Re: Wrong Name on Ticket. My fault or Travel Agent's?


To me, as I read it.. There's not enough information here about what is, to me, the most critical parts..

That being who & how?

That is to say WHO gave the passenger information to the agent and/or airline.. and HOW did that happen (i,.e what processes were used)..

I can easily see a situation where a name was misunderstood or misheard by the agent... and that incorrect information is relayed to the carrier... and under this assumption, I'd tend to err and say the onus is on the agent to insure they are transmission the correct data to the carrier on behalf of their client..

... but...I can also see a case where the original name/data is entered by the passenger via an online format.. and that is then passed along to the carrier.. by contrast, in these kinds of cases, I now err and say the genesis falls to the passenger as they are the ones to create the data err to begin with..

So, to me, the "who is at fault" to me, falls pretty close along the lines of who actually originated the information and under what process was that..

I do think there's something to be said for the reply of #1 in that most (not all, but most) carriers these days send an email pretty timely once a confirmed/paid booking is made.. and along those lines, I think there's also a fair question of, if such email was in fact sent (and at this point, it's an assumption, and not known fact) that perhaps there was an earlier opportunity to rectify this issue and probably with less hassles now once travel has commenced.

Travel Safe,