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ptrjong
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Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:47 pm

Hi all,

First, I'm sure I will get shot down for using a low-cost airline at all - Wizzair from EIN to BEG. I think I was quite prepared to accept the possible consequences of that; but the thing that hit me strikes me as unreasonable.

What happened is that I failed to fill in my complete first name when checking in online for my flight. This may sound quite stupid, as it's commonly known that airlines are fussy about correct passenger names.

In my defence, other LCCs I know don't require to check in some time after your booking, and I wasn't really aware that I was submitting the passenger details only at this point and not when I booked the flight.

More importantly, the Whizzair website is horrible. It took me at least a quarter of an hour, for example, to work ot how to close the popup screen for entering a date - by clicking on the popup screen background. If you try to close the screen in another way, completly wrong dates are entered in the check-in form. I actually tried three different browsers before working it out. Eventually I got everything correct but apparently submitted only an inital instead of my full first name; there may or may not have been a warning against this.

When checking in at the airport, I was charged EUR 60 to get P changed into Petrus, almost doubling the cost of the flight. So this airline supposedly cannot accept that passenger P Smith, passport number 123456, is the same person as passenger Petrus Smith, passport number 123456.

My question is, is there actually any ground, based on the requirements from the authorities, for this? In other words, if I were to cause any sort of troube, could the airline ever be blamed for letting in P Smith with his matching ID number? Or is this practice nothing but a desperate attempt to get additional revenue out of flights that are basically just too cheap, as every normal person would think?

Peter
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shufflemoomin
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:12 pm

I'd say that's totally unreasonable. My girlfriend is Danish and has an 'ø' character in her name. You've no idea how many airlines don't have reservation systems set up to handle it. Sometimes it's not accepted and she has to write with an 'o' or an 'oe' and sometimes there's just a space. The name is 'Jørgensen' and on a few airline tickets, it's shown up as 'j rgensen'. So on many occasions she's flown with a ticket name not matching her passport. Never once has this been an issue or even been mentioned and we've certainly never been charged for it.
 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:47 pm

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 1):

I'd say that's totally unreasonable. My girlfriend is Danish and has an 'ø' character in her name. You've no idea how many airlines don't have reservation systems set up to handle it. Sometimes it's not accepted and she has to write with an 'o' or an 'oe' and sometimes there's just a space. The name is 'Jørgensen' and on a few airline tickets, it's shown up as 'j rgensen'. So on many occasions she's flown with a ticket name not matching her passport. Never once has this been an issue or even been mentioned and we've certainly never been charged for it.

That's a common computer system issue. Special characters are not easily handled by different systems so they will often get "closest match" replaced. And no it shouldn't cause an issue most of the time I wouldn't think, even our wonderful Canadian CATSA rulebook lists exceptions for this situations (i would imagine most other countries would do the same?).
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Mir
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:19 pm

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 1):
My girlfriend is Danish and has an 'ø' character in her name. You've no idea how many airlines don't have reservation systems set up to handle it. Sometimes it's not accepted and she has to write with an 'o' or an 'oe' and sometimes there's just a space.

But that's a different issue from just not filling in your complete name. It's not unreasonable to be suspicious when someone only provides a first initial when booking a ticket.

-Mir
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:26 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
It's not unreasonable to be suspicious when someone only provides a first initial when booking a ticket.

And why is that? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I don't see it.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
Mir
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:39 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 4):
And why is that? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I don't see it.

Because it's very easy to type in the complete name, yet the person didn't do it. Thus, what other information are they trying to withhold? If the names have to be checked against a watch list, providing only an initial would appear that the passenger is trying to circumvent that process.

And since there are hundreds of names that start with P, how does the airline know that the person who shows up is really the one who is supposed to be showing up?

-Mir
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:44 pm

With all due respect, Peter, I'm with the airline on this one. You entered a name that is not your name during check-in, and you expect the airline to change it later for free? By that logic, you could book cheap fares, sell them on ebay at a later time and change the name to the buyer's name. This is not how the airline industry works, this is how train and bus tickets work in most of the cases.

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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:33 pm

The usual airlone supporter ****s (choose insulting word of your choice). Yes if you have to have special attention to correct an error there might be a charge. But 60 Euros? I could see a Euro 5 charge. Gotcha fees totally unrelated to actual costs are why many airlines of reducing flights - passengers are declining to book flights. Or choose airlines that don't mistreat passengers. I have cut my flying about 50%, and have no trouble doing great vacations.
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:55 pm

Soren,

I am trying to look at this from the other side, so I appreciate your comment. It does explain why airlines are fussy about correct passenger data - I had never thought about that, I always assumed it was additional security measures taken by the airlines on behalf of the authorities. But it's simply about commerce. OK, fine.

But I think it's an exaggeration to say I entered a name that is not my name. Since the initial, surname and ID number were all correct, how was I going to be another person? I still can't help thinking that this is a case of money-grubbing and not of any real doubt about my identity.
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shufflemoomin
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:42 pm

To be fair to the guy, 60 euros, or any charge is ridiculous. What's the cost of someone taking two seconds to change an entry in a database? If an airline has check-in agents, their salary is already factored into the cost of business. It seems laughable to charge for this.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:37 pm

If they believe who I am, why is there a need to change it at all?

To prevent any possible doubt, and therefore delay, at the gate? In that case a small fee would be understandable, though not customer friendly, and 60 euros is clearly ridiculous.

However, I was not even given a new boarding pass, and the missing first name was noted both by an airline representative at the security check and at the gate, and they had to check in the computer to see that the omission had been corrected.

So they failed to smoothen things out.

This does show that all staff are quite attentive to such omissions. Soren suggests that this is out of concern that cheap tickets might be sold to someone else, which would justify a higher fee, to make this unattractive. But again I find it hard to believe my identity is really in doubt here.
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:52 pm

Why didn't you just enter it correctly to begin with? How much time did you save by omitting 5 letters vs time and money spent after the fact?
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:54 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):

Apologies, I missed your post.

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
If the names have to be checked against a watch list, providing only an initial would appear that the passenger is trying to circumvent that process.

And since there are hundreds of names that start with P, how does the airline know that the person who shows up is really the one who is supposed to be showing up?
[/quote]

Well - my passport with matching ID number, which they check anyway.
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:16 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 11):

Apparently because somehow the appalingly bad website distracted me from doing so, as I already tried to explain.
I will complain about their website with Wizzair anyway.

For the purpose of this discussion, let's just say I was absent minded, though - I'm sure that has happened to you, and I just want to know why I need to be screwed for 60 euros over this.
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xjramper
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:24 pm

When traveling internationally, when inserting your name, it specifcally states that you must enter your name as it appears on your travel documents.

If your travel documents state that it's Petrus, that is how it will appear on your ticket. If you fail to correctly enter your information, they have every right to charge you for a new ticket. Altho, I would guess that they just charged you a change fee.

You made a mistake. Chalk it up and move on. And from now on you will make sure that you fill out all the information.  
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:26 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 13):
For the purpose of this discussion, let's just say I was absent minded, though - I'm sure that has happened to you, and I just want to know why I need to be screwed for 60 euros over this.

At least you're willing to admit it   I wasn't sure if it's something you always do or just in this instance.
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rcair1
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:30 pm

The fee is too high. The requirement for full and complete name is driven more by security requirements than airlines. As for passport #'s. People read names, not passport numbers. An incomplete name is a red flag to security.
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:32 pm

Quoting frmrCapCadet (Reply 7):
Yes if you have to have special attention to correct an error there might be a charge. But 60 Euros? I could see a Euro 5 charge.

The above is also where I come down on this.

Yes, it's necessary to have the full name on the ticket. Yes, the OP's mistake caused a bit of extra administrative effort. But charging 60 euros to fix the mistake is ridiculous gouging. Whether or not it should be illegal (either opinion could be reasonable), it's crass and rude of the airline.
 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:34 pm

Not sure about the countries that you were flying between, but don't forget that some countries require passenger information in advance of flights. This is the case for many flights to Spain, for example. Perhaps authorities like the Spanish ones might deem it inadequate to merely be provided with an initial rather than a full name to check. That could be one relevant issue. But look, the bottom line is you know yourself that one is always required to provide full and correct details when making a booking. Your curiosity to learn why it is so essential is perhaps understandable, but ultimately just a moot point.
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:36 pm

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 9):
What's the cost of someone taking two seconds to change an entry in a database?

There are other issues. Not sure if I should be saying this...would this be a Secureflight issue?
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:40 pm

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 9):
To be fair to the guy, 60 euros, or any charge is ridiculous.

  

It is absolutely a predatory policy and constitutes customer abuse, in my opinion. And after reading this, on my next European trip, I will make doubly-certain to not fly Wizz Air.... do they still have the AWFUL raspberry purple paint scheme???   
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:59 pm

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 18):
But look, the bottom line is you know yourself that one is always required to provide full and correct details when making a booking. Your curiosity to learn why it is so essential is perhaps understandable, but ultimately just a moot point.

You are right, and I actually do understand the airlines' position a bit better now, thanks to various contributions here.

This has never happened to me before and I'm convinced it was caused by the confusingness of Wizz Air's website and booking process. Because of this and the draconic amount of the fee I am going to file a complaint with them.
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:03 am

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 16):
The fee is too high. The requirement for full and complete name is driven more by security requirements than airlines. As for passport #'s. People read names, not passport numbers. An incomplete name is a red flag to security.
Quoting seabosdca (Reply 17):
Yes, it's necessary to have the full name on the ticket. Yes, the OP's mistake caused a bit of extra administrative effort. But charging 60 euros to fix the mistake is ridiculous gouging. Whether or not it should be illegal (either opinion could be reasonable), it's crass and rude of the airline.

That seems to sum it up for me, thanks.

Peter 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:04 am

Quoting Rwy04LGA (Reply 19):
There are other issues. Not sure if I should be saying this...would this be a Secureflight issue?

"Secure Flight" is specific to the USA, and is additional passenger data that is passed over to Homeland Security before a flight. It requires full name and date of birth to be passed over behind the scenes, but the full name does not have to appear on the boarding pass (first and last are fine).
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lewis
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:10 am

They may have to charge you, but the fee is too high in my opinion. It does not cost them anywhere near that amount for them to change an entry in a database.

This reminds me a lot of the thread about the Ryanair 60 EUR fee for boarding pass printing. I am surprised that posters here agree the fee is too high - compared to the other thread where they don't. I guess the passenger gets more sympathy, unless MOL comes out and calls him/her an idiot!
 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:44 am

It is clear that many of the fees levied by airlines (and not just airlines) bear no relation to the actual costs involved for providing the service they are meant to cover. No one minds a small administrative charge but when the fee is ten or twenty times the actual cost then it can only be regarded as punitive.

Quoting lewis (Reply 24):
compared to the other thread where they don't.

Most posters in the other thread also stated they thought the fee was too high. However the sympathy (or lack of it) is due to the different situation. In the other instance, the passenger didn't even make an effort, let alone a mistake. It was apparently more important to sit on the beach knocking back the sangria or partying than it was to print a boarding pass. If you don't make an effort you can't expect sympathy. Here we have a passenger who did at least make an effort to do the right thing. He made a mistake and paid a high fee that seems punitive in the circumstances, given that no new boarding pass was issued.

The whole issue of fees needs to be looked at. Here in Australia the courts have given approval for a class action to proceed so that the reasonableness of bank fees can be judged. The issue is less one of whether a fee should be imposed than whether the level at which they are set is reasonable and has any relationship to the costs borne by the banks. Perhaps it is time to look at similar action in the airline industry.
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olddominion727
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:56 am

You have no way to know if "Mr. K Smith" is Mr. Kevin Smith, NOT Mr. Keith Smith... What if Kevin is on the NO FLY LIST... they wouldn't know that with just a first letter.

I have been in travel 22 years. My employer both on the airline and agency side never EVER allowed us to just have the first letter. We always saw the foreign carriers do it. Until 9/11 and with all of the frequent flyer accounts out there. Really it's just lazy and being a pain in the a$$. Keep in mind, you are entering into a contract for passage. You pay for service, they have to provide it or there's penalties etc.

God forbid that plane go down... do you want your next-of-kin to have to wait until they have to identify K Smith from their dental records of their home country? Some nations don't keep dental records for that. Not to be rude, but it's CARELESS. I hated trying to answer stupid questions to stupid passengers.
 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:15 am

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 12):
Well - my passport with matching ID number, which they check anyway.

Passports can be forged.

-Mir
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gigneil
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:20 am

Are we talking about when you booked the ticket or when you were filling out your passport details?

If you booked with Mr. P Smith, and then entered your full name during checkin on the passport details, I would bill the hell out of you. You could have 15 P Smiths in your family and wanted to make the ticket transferable.

Now providing secure passenger data, I'm unsure. First of all, I would imagine you need to type everything in. I am uncertain how some airlines do it, but they may not be able to export whole records to the authorities - they may maintain the secure flight data in another type of database which then is checked. That could be a big hassle.

If it were the latter, tbh I would have just not let you fly at all rather than charge you. The first one, however, could be a monstrous circumvention of their fare policies.

Either way, I think you agree that this is probably your fault. The issue with the charge, who can say what its worth.

Quoting olddominion727 (Reply 26):
God forbid that plane go down... do you want your next-of-kin to have to wait until they have to identify K Smith from their dental records of their home country?

Can we talk about this?

I don't recall ever making a dental record since I've been an adult and had my adult teeth. When does that even happen?

NS
 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:26 am

Firstly it's something very dutch! LOL, I have lots of dutch friends "what's your name?" "Gerard!! in fact it's Gerardus! this same friend struggled in brazil because he bought a ticket calling himself Gerard and for us he's Gerardus, Gerard is a nickname! he had to buy a new ticket!



Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 1):

Well I have two accents on my names André França, the "Ç" is only used in portuguese, french and turkish, it sounds like SS, only use C then, germans with names like Krämer write it KrAEmer, I find it wrong! but who set these crazy rules?

 
 
olddominion727
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:38 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 28):

The company I worked for had an L1011 go down in DAL (a hub city at the time) it was very tragic and sad. They did have to use dental records for some of the bodies unfortunately. I know it only added to the families' grieving and frustrations knowing if their family member missed the flight, died due to the accident or is alive and being treated somewhere. I would wish that on my worst enemy.

WizzAir, RyanAir, EZ Jet, etc I don't think are part of ARC, so they would not be booked and ticketed traditionally through Sabre, Apollo, Galileo, Worldspan etc. Plus, I think the whole security thing with needing to know the full name and birth date, sex etc. is JUST for carriers who have EVEN ONE flight to the United States. So he may well be able to get away with K Smith, not Kevin Smith. He would've never be able to do that if he booked with an ARC accredited airline (and attempted chieck-in... hopefully not anyway). The carrier would be financially penalized ... How do we know K Smith isn't another Osama Bin Laden? We don't In this day and age that's just lazy... I wouldn't fly an aircraft if I knew passengers were aboard that did not disclose their full name. But I am sure it's done a lot more than what is being talked about here.

I have a family member that works in a city morgue. sometimes they have to use dental records to figure out who Jane or John Doe was... sometimes they never do. Very Sad. Not sure of the process though
 
gigneil
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:22 am

Yeah no I get what you're saying, and surely have seen enough Law and Order .

But where do these dental records actually come from? I'd imagine a whole mold is needed to really ident someone - and I can assure you, if I did have one made, I was 13 and getting braces.

Totally off topic....  

NS
 
rktsci
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:52 am

I'm not clear on why the passenger's name had to be typed in and once entered, why the exactly typed name was transfered to the boarding pass. Every time I've done online checkin (perhaps 250+ with dozens of airlines) the information entered was only for verification purposes and the information printed on the boarding pass was taken directly from the reservation record. Therefore, any issues with the name was always from that (I, too, have a name that cannot be exactly represented in reservation systems).

So if the airline accepted the incorrect name during the check in process, then they should have to live with that. They should have rejected the attempted checkin and required an exact match on the name.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:40 am

Okay, the full official given name needs to be on the ticket, fair enough. (Or the first given name, I have three and I understand from other sources that one is enough in practice, so it's not actually as black and white as some of you suggest, though I normally fill in all three).

By the way, just out of interest:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 6):
You entered a name that is not your name during check-in, and you expect the airline to change it later for free? By that logic, you could book cheap fares, sell them on ebay at a later time and change the name to the buyer's name.
Quoting gigneil (Reply 28):
If you booked with Mr. P Smith, and then entered your full name during checkin on the passport details, I would bill the hell out of you. You could have 15 P Smiths in your family and wanted to make the ticket transferable.

Actually, the Wizz Air model seems to allow for this. It seems that the person who buys the ticket does not need to be the same person as the one whose details are filled in on what they call the check-in, in the last week before the flight. The second person only needs the reservation code, and if the website doesn't beat him, he doesn't need to pay a fee.

[Edited 2012-09-12 01:41:55]

[Edited 2012-09-12 01:46:38]
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RIXrat
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:46 am

I think that this is a mainly European thing. I have seen many legal documents signed off as, for instance, P. Smith. It goes back a long ways. I don't know why.
 
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:04 am

My wife's name takes 30 characters including two spaces. When we book we give the full name as printed in the ID, and when we get the boarding pass or the tickets, we often see only the first characters followed by a number mentioning how many characters are left

E.g.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
might be on the documents as
VON GOET 02
JOHANN W 07
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IDAWA
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:28 am

In my opinion, they should either:

- Have not recognized the ticket with just "P" as your ticket, and forced you either not to fly or to buy another ticket.
- Have recognized the ticket with just "P" as your ticket, and checked you in at no additional cost.

The 60 EUR charge is nonsense
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:09 am

Quoting IDAWA (Reply 36):

Well, I can accept now that the full name needs to be there at the gate, in order not to delay things. At check-in I was sent to a separate desk to get it fixed, so that did not delay things, and is reasonable as long as the cost are not so excessive (I should have gotten a new boarding card though).
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RE: Fee For Not Filling In Complete First Name

Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:50 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Because it's very easy to type in the complete name, yet the person didn't do it. Thus, what other information are they trying to withhold? If the names have to be checked against a watch list, providing only an initial would appear that the passenger is trying to circumvent that process.

And since there are hundreds of names that start with P, how does the airline know that the person who shows up is really the one who is supposed to be showing up?

-Mir

I'm sorry, Mir, but that sounds incredibly authoritarian. Someone using their initial instead of full first name arouses suspicion? Everyone is a suspect now especially if they don't fill out a form precisely as they should? We have to regard every passenger as a potential terrorist?

This is getting out of hand.