Your own ticketing error fixed for just $28? That’s a bargain!

A ticketing error of his own making costs $28 to correct

Donald Kushner made a ticketing error while self-booking a flight on Czech Airlines. Then he found out the “absurd fee” that the airline expects him to pay to correct it. Now he wants to know if he should just take his chances and try to use the ticket as is.

The absurd fee? $28.

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Kushner’s case points to a basic unawareness of the high fees that most airlines charge to change a name post-purchase —  if it is even possible. And how one small mistake could snowball into a colossal problem if not corrected.

A ticketing error of his own making

“I accidentally input Kushdner on my ticket,” Kushner told me. “Czech Airlines said they can’t guarantee that I will not have a problem at the check-in counter in Budapest when they see the name in my passport is not the same as the name on the reservation. However, for an additional $28, they can change the name — which I think is an absurd fee to fix my small ticketing error.”

Further, he wanted to know what I thought of his idea of avoiding the fee by simply ignoring the problem and showing up for his trip with the misspelled name on his ticket.

A very bad idea

I cut right to the chase with Kushner: It’s a very bad idea.

And frankly, Kushner puzzled me with his unwillingness to pay the $28 to correct his own mistake and alleviate this worry.

After all, as a reader of our site, surely he has seen some of the unfortunate stories of travelers with misspelled names on their tickets.

Ask Gary Palmer if he thinks that a $28 correction fee is absurd. Air Canada charged Palmer $400 because of a one-letter discrepancy with his name on his ticket.

Seemingly undeterred by my initial bluntness, Kushner continued to press me for validation that his plan could work.

Why take the risk?

Yes, it could work, but why risk it? The likelihood is that it will not work. International travel requires specific documentation which will be scrutinized at the airport. It is a universal requirement that your ticket must match your ID exactly, not almost.

And this $28 is a tiny fraction of the name-change fees that most airlines will charge for your own ticketing error. In fact, some tickets aren’t changeable at all. If you make a mistake with your name, you’re out of luck.

We receive similar complaints every week. Typically, the airlines require the passenger to cancel their ticket and rebook. To do this, the traveler must pay the change fee and any increase in the fare. This chain of events typically ends up costing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

Will an airline ever correct your ticketing error without penalty?

It’s critical to review your ticket carefully within the first 24 hours after purchase. For most airlines, this is the time frame that you can cancel and correct your mistake without penalty.

Perhaps, if Kushner read Sharon Mixon’s tale of an expensive spelling mistake on a self-booked ticket, he would see the light. Her mistake cost $1,300 to correct.

The complaints that we receive from the travelers who have shown up at that airport with mismatched tickets and passports have the most expensive consequences. Sometimes, they have been able to correct the problem at the counter if they arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare (and extra money to spend).

And other times, these would-be travelers are denied boarding and the ability to change the ticket. In those cases, if space is available, the passenger can buy a new flight at a walk-up rate — a costly option.

That type of expense will make $28 look like a drop in a bucket.

Pay the $28 to correct this ticket error!

So the most expensive outcome of Kushner’s idea is that he could be denied travel entirely. If that happens, he could lose the prepaid hotels, onward flights, and any other plans that he had looked forward to on this trip with his wife.

If this scenario should come to pass, I assume that the “Mrs.” will not be very pleased with Kushner’s decision to forgo the payment to correct his own mistake. I can only imagine the conversation on the car ride home from their missed vacation.

Fortunately, Kushner can avoid this possibility because of Czech Airlines’ consumer-friendly willingness to fix his ticketing error for a minor fee. Kudos to Czech Airlines!

I did not hear back from Kushner after I explained all of this to him. Hopefully, he took my advice and paid the $28. It is the lowest name correction fee we have encountered, and it is money well-spent to ensure that he won’t be denied boarding because of one errant letter on his ticket.

Is $28 an unreasonable fee for Czech Airlines to charge Kushner to correct his mistake?

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21 thoughts on “Your own ticketing error fixed for just $28? That’s a bargain!

  1. That fee looks like a pure IT plus labor cost figure. All airlines should be handling name changes that way, rather than taking it as another opportunity to gouge people.

    1. they do it to prohibit the huge numbers they have seen in the DIY years — simply put – not enough personnel to deal with YOUR mistakes, so take the time to do it right in the first place

      1. This is the problem right here – the punitive ruler-whacking attitude that if you extend the tiniest bit of courtesy to your customers, they will use it to take advantage of you. In my own experience running businesses, being nice to my customers means I get more of them. Occasionally I have had to ‘fire’ a bad customer, but in every case my being “airlinish” to them from the outset would have actually made things worse, besides having cost me a large chunk of the good customers.

  2. Well, how much was the original ticket? If it was $1,000 then $28 isn’t so bad. If it was $40 then maybe it is ridiculous.

    He should be happy he chose an airline that does allow name changes at all since nearly every other one just makes you buy a new ticket when you misspell your name.

  3. $28 is a great bargain these days for a name change. We need to keep reminding folks that you need to look out for yourself. Purchase travel insurance for vacations when you can’t afford to lose $$ if you need to cancel. Also, understand the terms and conditions before accepting a price.

  4. Sheesh; we should all be so lucky as to book with an airline that will charge just a nominal fee to correct an obvious mistake. $28 is totally reasonable.

  5. Any time that you have the pleasure of dealing with an airline on the telephone, you are going to have a fee. 28.00 is a gift in today’s world. I would have expected 200.00 plus. If you call the airline to book a ticket, they charge to do the work rather free online. This has to go in the case dismissed file.!

  6. The mechanisms for correcting names in airline reservations are generally far from ideal, but in the current world we live in, it is cheap to fix it in this case, and very risky not to. The person who stands to lose the most is the OP,.

  7. If he had just looked at his confirmation as soon as he received it, he could have changed it for free within 24 hours. $28 is VERY inexpensive to teach one to read their confirmation as soon as it arrives.

    I can imagine his outrage if it was another airline and it cost him upwards of $400 to fix his mistake.

  8. I have a capital M small C surname (Mc). The US passport people insist that it be MC space G rest of my name. Well literally everyone else, including drivers license, spells it MCG (rest of name) no space between the c and the g. I’m over 60 and I have plenty of documents and ID’s that don’t have the space and I only have the US passport that has it. But it’s been my experience that even with airline tickets that may have the space in it because of matching the passport and IDs that don’t have the space, that I’ve never gotten nailed on “name mismatch” due to the space. But when traveling internationally, I do make every effort to have tickets match the passport. And I believe TSA Pre also insisted on the space spelling in order to be able to use them.

  9. No, $28 isn’t an unreasonable fee in this case. But having to pay any fee to make a name change in general is unconscionable. Because the airlines can do this, they will charge you for this simple task, and although you likely can’t do anything about it, it’s still a disgusting way to do business.

  10. Any fee is objectionable for a 30 second (on computer) change of spelling. Although this is just another
    ‘cash grab’, it could have been a lot worse.

  11. My son bought tickets for us and mistyped my name as Melisaa. I decided to chance it and fortunately had no issues, but I was sweating it both ways! Alternatively, I was traveling to East Berlin in 87 and the guards didn’t speak English so they do a letter by letter comparison. I was a newlywed with a maiden name passport with an addendum in it that confused them. They detained me at a checkpoint for several terrifying hours. Ahhh good times!!

  12. I honestly think he did it in purpose….If someone doesn’t know his own name he shouldn’t be flying or trying to blame the airline fort a ” not at all ridiculous fee” to change his name. He better sits down and writes his name 100 times so he can be sure he will know it for the time of his next reservation.

  13. This guy must not travel much. I actually did take my chances on a mis-spelled name because I found out my ticket from SFO to Hong Kong would have had to be reissued at the current fare, which was about $2000 more than I bought the ticket for. As it happened I got away with it. At SFO the agent just did a double take. At Hong Kong I had to wait for the supervisor to OK it, but they let me through. Needless to say it will never happen to me again.

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