QuickTip Sundays: Airline Sites

If it’s an absolute requirement, it should be spelled out in plain language

So some of you have probably been following my misadventures with United Airlines. After a few calls, they were awesome at correcting a airline ticket where I didn’t include the full name of the passenger (she has an Anglicized name that also appears with her Chinese name on her passport), and I didn’t find out until later that I needed to include the full name.

Not to throw just United Airlines under the bus (pun intended), but most of the other sites didn’t point out the the following requirement: that whatever name was listed, it should be exactly the name on any identification. This isn’t necessarily the airlines’ fault — all of the airlines are following guidelines set forth after 9/11.

The issue for some of the sites is that this requirement isn’t obvious enough: if someone like me, who never reads the text on a site, misses this, I can’t imagine how many others have fallen prey. And with the frustration over customer service and airlines in general, passing the buck of the travel sites with the airline companies has become almost sport.

Here are a few screen shots from my favorite airlines:

Southwest Airlines

No indication.

American Airlines

Does indicate, but in legalspeak.

Delta Airlines

No indication, but does have an indication that you can refund the flight if there are changes within 24 hours of booking further down the page.


Perfect. Someone at the other sites needs to copy this exactly. An additional improvement would be to add a link to the polices for changing flights. They should have additional text that reads something to the effect “even in the event of a mispelling.”

Other Travel Sites

Expedia does cover this under the rules and restrictions, and on the screen where you have to enter a traveler, but not next to the text entry area (and the rule is actually covered up by a popup window. Travelocity is much like Orbitz, where the explaination text is right next to entering the name.