Do You Need to Put Your Middle Name on an Airline Ticket?

Do You Need to Put Your Middle Name on an Airline Ticket


Do You Need to Put Your Middle Name on an Airline Ticket? Well over 90% of the time, you'll be fine without it, as long as your first name and last name exactly match your passport or the official ID you're flying with for domestic travel. But as a conversation with friends of ours reminded me, a small percentage of travelers, a small percentage of the time, won't be able to board the flight at all.

In our friends' case, it wasn't even an international flight. They were returning from a vacation in Hawaii, on Hawaiian Airlines, and it so happened they hadn't included their middle name when booking the flight. Their first names and last names perfectly matched their IDs. But simply because there was a middle name on their ID, but not on their airline ticket, they were denied boarding and had to buy new tickets for the next day, staying an extra night.

Hawaiian Airlines' policy, as with many airlines, states that TSA regulations requires that the name on your airline ticket must match the name on your government-issued photo ID. For misspellings, or to add your middle name, you can call 800-367-5320.

And earlier this year, in April 2018, a Canadian woman and several other passengers encountered the same problem on a Wow Air flight from Toronto to Reykjavik:

“Once we got to the front, the lady said to her supervisor, ‘It’s another one,’” Collins said. “She handed me my passport and said I was missing the middle name on the ticket so I was denied boarding the flight.”

And just a few days later, a couple who had planned a 13th wedding anniversary trip to Iceland were also denied boarding by Wow Air, because the middle names in their passports were not on their airline tickets, according to a Global News article:

“When it was finally time to board, the Murphys said they approached the agent. Bryan said they were told, “I can’t allow you to board the plane.”

As it turns out, Nancy and Bryan Murphy have middle names that are on their passports, but were not printed on their boarding passes.”

Wow Air does state in its Advanced Passenger Information (API) section that you must provide all names (first, middle and last names) exactly as written in your passport.

Bottom Line: be sure you book your airline ticket so that your name exactly matches the name as written in your passport or government issued ID. And when signing up for a frequent flyer account, make sure you enter your name exactly as in your passport, since this is how it will populate in the name fields when you log in to book tickets.

Sure, most of the time you'll be fine if your first name and last name match your passport/ID, even if you forget to include your middle name. But why take the chance of the stress and expense of being denied boarding?

Have you ever been denied boarding for forgetting to include your middle name when booking your airline ticket?

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3 years ago

Hi, great article. Do you know if there’s any rhyme or reason for why the middle name is checked the other 10% of the time?

Bails from Oz
Bails from Oz
3 years ago

I have experienced problems booking tickets with Spanish speaking airlines due to the custom of having multiple last names. Quite often the second name field ends up appearing in final documents as an additional last name rather than middle names. Have you experienced this issue, and do you have a safe solution that works all the time?