Can You Change the Name on an Airline Ticket

Have you ever booked a flight only to realize there’s a mistake in the passenger name? Or maybe you need to transfer your airline ticket to someone else? Changing the name on a plane ticket may seem impossible, but it can be done in certain situations. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about name changes, corrections, and transfers for airline tickets.

When Can You Change the Name on an Airline Ticket?

Airlines have specific policies regarding name changes on plane tickets. While they don’t allow free transfers between passengers, certain name corrections are permitted. Here are some of the most common reasons airlines may allow you to modify a ticketed name:

Minor Spelling and Typo Fixes

Most airlines will let you correct minor typos or letter transpositions in the ticketed passenger’s name for free. This includes:

  • Fixing inverted first/last names
  • Adding/removing middle initials
  • Correcting obvious misspellings by 1-3 letters

This ensures the name matches the passenger’s government-issued ID for TSA screening.

Nicknames to Full Legal Names

You can usually change a ticket from a nickname like “Bill” to the passenger’s full legal name “William.” Proper identification is required to prove it’s still the same person traveling.

Name Changes Due to Marriage, Divorce, etc.

Airlines will permit name changes on tickets for legal name changes like:

  • Taking a spouse’s last name after marriage
  • Reverting to a maiden name after divorce
  • Court-approved name changes

Supporting legal documentation proving the name change is typically required.

Missing Hyphens and Additional Last Names

If part of the passenger’s legal last name was missing from the ticket, airlines can add hyphens and secondary surnames to match their ID.

Incorrect First/Last Name Order

Airlines allow reversing incorrectly ordered first and last names on a ticket to match the passenger’s documents.

When Can’t You Change the Name?

While airlines accommodate minor corrections, they don’t allow transfers between passengers. You typically can’t change the name on a ticket to someone else entirely. This includes:

  • Giving your ticket to a family member or friend
  • Booking a flight for someone with the wrong name
  • Selling your airline ticket to another traveler

Name changes are only permitted for corrections where the original ticketed passenger is still traveling. Transferring tickets between passengers is generally prohibited for both security and revenue reasons.

How to Change a Name on an Airline Ticket

If you need to make an allowed name modification, here’s how to change a name on a plane ticket:

  • Contact the airline or agency you booked with as soon as possible. Many airlines have tight deadlines for changes.
  • Explain the reason for the name change and provide supporting documents if needed.
  • Pay any applicable fees. Most airlines charge for name changes outside 24 hours of booking. Fees typically range from $75-$500.
  • Get the updated ticket with the revised name. Check it carefully to ensure the correction was made properly.
  • Verify the new name matches your ID to prevent problems during check-in or security screening.

Be sure to follow your airline’s specific guidelines for requesting name changes on tickets.

Tips for Changing Your Name on Airline Tickets

Here are some useful tips to ensure a smooth process:

  • Book tickets in the exact name that appears on your current ID to avoid issues.
  • Double check names when booking. Fix any typos or errors right away if possible.
  • Understand your airline’s policies before booking. Set a calendar reminder to request changes before the deadline.
  • For legal name changes, book in your former name then change it later by providing documentation.
  • Purchase refundable fares directly through the airline for the most flexibility to make changes.
  • If you notice an error post-purchase, immediately call the airline to get it corrected within 24 hours if possible.
  • Request name changes at least 72 hours pre-travel to allow processing time.
  • Have your passenger ID and any name change documents ready when contacting the airline.

Airline Name Change and Correction Policies

Name change allowances, fees, and restrictions vary between airlines. Here are some of the major airline policies:

American Airlines

  • Allows minor corrections like typos, nicknames, and legal name changes
  • $200 and $700, fee for changes made after 24 hours
  • Changes must be passenger-specific; no transfers

Delta Air Lines

  • Permits minor corrections and legal name changes
  • $75 to $500 change fee applies in most cases
  • No name transfers between passengers

United Airlines

  • Allows minor name corrections and legal changes
  • A $75 name change fee applies if the name on the ticket is changed within 24 hours of booking. Domestic name change fee are $200-$400 and international name change fee are $300-$500, depending on the ticket.
  • No reissuing to another traveler

Southwest Airlines

  • Free name changes allowed within 24 hours of booking
  • $80-$200 fee applies afterward for permitted changes
  • Does not allow name transfers between passengers

Be sure to verify your airline’s specific name change and correction policies when booking flights and making any needed alterations later. Policies can vary widely.

What if Your Name Changed After Booking?

If your legal name has changed due to marriage, divorce, or another reason after booking a flight, don’t panic. Take these steps:

  • Contact the airline immediately to request a name change on your ticket.
  • Provide official documentation like a marriage license that proves your new legal name.
  • Pay any applicable processing fees.
  • Get an updated ticket showing your current name.
  • Verify your new ID also reflects the name change.

By showing valid ID and documentation, airlines will reissue tickets to your new name in most cases. However, some may consider it a transfer and refuse changes, which is why it’s critical to call the airline as soon as possible after a legal name change.

Can You Change Name Misspellings on Airline Tickets?

If you notice a minor misspelling of the ticketed traveler’s name, you can get it corrected in most cases. Here’s how:

  • Contact the airline immediately and explain the typo.
  • Provide the passenger’s full legal name and ID details.
  • The airline can update the ticketed name with the proper spelling.
  • No fees usually apply for minor typo fixes.
  • Get an updated ticket and double check the correction was made properly.
  • Bring your supporting ID that shows the accurate spelling to prevent issues.

For small name corrections like typos, airlines don’t consider it a transfer between passengers. But you do need to prove the ticket still belongs to the original traveler by providing appropriate identification at the airport.

Can You Transfer an Airline Ticket to Someone Else?

In most cases, airlines do not permit transferring a ticketed flight to someone else entirely. However, you may have a couple options if you can no longer take a flight yourself:

  • See if the airline allows name changes for a fee. If so, request it be changed to the other passenger.
  • Check if you booked a transferable fare class. Some premium economy or business class tickets may allow changes.
  • See if the ticket has been fully paid for. Partially paid tickets typically can’t be transferred.
  • Request a voucher for future travel if you must cancel the booking.
  • As a last resort, book a new ticket for the other person.

But in general, non-refundable economy fares are usually non-transferable. Always check directly with the airline for any exceptional cases though.

Key Takeaways – Changing Names on Plane Tickets

A few key tips to remember:

  • Airlines permit minor name corrections but don’t allow transfers between passengers.
  • Act quickly to change any errors within 24 hours if possible to avoid fees.
  • Have proper ID and documentation ready to support the requested change.
  • Know the airline’s policies before booking to pick the optimal fare class and avoid issues.
  • For substantial changes, expect to pay a name change fee, which can range from $75-$500.

While changing the name on an airline ticket can be a hassle, being aware of airline policies and acting quickly can help make the process smoother. With the right preparation, you can handle name corrections and modifications successfully.


Changing or correcting the name on an airline ticket is possible in many situations if you understand the specific airline’s policies. Minor fixes like typos and legal name changes are generally permitted. However, transferring tickets to another passenger is restricted. Act fast to make any changes within 24 hours of booking if possible, and have proper ID and documentation ready. With preparation and diligence, you can navigate name changes on plane tickets smoothly.

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