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Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:27 pm
by TerminalD
I don't think this was posted before, but I see it is starting to get elevated position in Google News, possibly because the Delta story also involves name change policy.

The 28-year-olds from Melbourne, who tied the knot at a Victorian winery in February, were set to take off on the trip of a lifetime through Croatia, Montenegro and Albania in May.

But the pair was left “devastated” and “bewildered” when Virgin Australia said they would have to pay more than $8,500 (over US $6,350) to re-book their trip — all because Julia took her new husband’s name after the wedding.

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/04/2 ... -name.html

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:38 pm
by AWACSooner
While I really don't get the name change fees the airlines love to tack on...because it's really not THAT hard to change in instances like this or a simple misspelling (now changing an entire pax name, that's different due to security measures), this is a case of the pax should've known better...they had two options:
1. Wait til AFTER the wedding to book the tickets so that the name change was prevalent.
2. Don't legally change your name til after the trip.

When my wife and I embarked on our honeymoon, she still had her former surname until after we got back...then went to the courthouse and changed it to mine.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:40 pm
by enilria
AWACSooner wrote:
While I really don't get the name change fees the airlines love to tack on...because it's really not THAT hard to change in instances like this or a simple misspelling (now changing an entire pax name, that's different due to security measures), this is a case of the pax should've known better...they had two options:
1. Wait til AFTER the wedding to book the tickets so that the name change was prevalent.
2. Don't legally change your name til after the trip.

When my wife and I embarked on our honeymoon, she still had her former surname until after we got back...then went to the courthouse and changed it to mine.

It sounds like they booked the trip far in advance and then decided to get married after they had booked it. I don't think they would have expected a problem that severe.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:40 pm
by ikolkyo
Pathetic, how can stuff like this be allowed?

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:49 pm
by luftaom
Did she apply for a new passport (with the new surname) immediately after the wedding but before she was due to fly? Otherwise I'm struggling to see how this was actually a problem. It's not as if you turn into a pumpkin as far as all your documents go the second you get married.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:07 am
by benjjk
AWACSooner wrote:
While I really don't get the name change fees the airlines love to tack on...because it's really not THAT hard to change in instances like this or a simple misspelling (now changing an entire pax name, that's different due to security measures), this is a case of the pax should've known better...they had two options:
1. Wait til AFTER the wedding to book the tickets so that the name change was prevalent.
2. Don't legally change your name til after the trip.

When my wife and I embarked on our honeymoon, she still had her former surname until after we got back...then went to the courthouse and changed it to mine.


Yes they probably should have thought about that, and yes the airline has not broken any rules, but it doesn't change that it is absolutely ludicrous to have to cancel and rebook the ticket just to change your surname. 'Security reasons', come on...

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:26 am
by Superunkown
AWACSooner wrote:
While I really don't get the name change fees the airlines love to tack on...because it's really not THAT hard to change in instances like this or a simple misspelling (now changing an entire pax name, that's different due to security measures), this is a case of the pax should've known better...they had two options:
1. Wait til AFTER the wedding to book the tickets so that the name change was prevalent.
2. Don't legally change your name til after the trip.

When my wife and I embarked on our honeymoon, she still had her former surname until after we got back...then went to the courthouse and changed it to mine.


You'd be surprised if you knew the amount of people who make mistakes while booking themselves (once I saw a reservarition with the first name "Office"). Whenever I book or buy something online, I triple check everything to avoid mistakes. While I don't understand why such a huge amount of money is being charged (seems even excessive), I think it's perfectly fine to charge them something. It's still a hassle for any airline, why should we do it for free?

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:32 am
by Tugger
Can someone please show or demonstrate the actual costs involved with a name change situation such as this? What are all the steps that are required (and why can't they be done online by the customer and then transmitted automatically etc.)?

Tugg

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:33 am
by Cubsrule
Minor name changes are not a big deal on most carriers if you deal with them early. When we had been married for 7 or 8 years, my father-in-law bought us some tickets. It was generous of him but he had a brain fart and booked my wife's in her maiden name. I straightened it around with a five minute phone call.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:40 am
by zeke
While I understand your sentiments in Australia the passenger would have grounds to have this addressed through the competition commission (ACCC) as the alledged fee for changing the name on the booking (for the same natural person) does not bear any relationship to the cost of making the change.

I recall the Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE placed placed a super complaint into the ACCC and we already have seen some results where the ACCC has told airlines they cannot charge some fees, change practices, or the changing or thd fee does not bear any relationship to the cost of making the change.

This is the same natural person updating their legal name. If you were to go to a bank or utility company after a legal name change they would not impose any fee to update the record.

While it would cost the airline a few minutes of labor and associated overheads to have someone available to make such an amendment, they could also have an online facility for them to do it themselves.

This is a different scenario to a change of name for a different natural person.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:48 am
by jaybird
I would venture to say that while they purchased the tickets from Virgin Australia - with the places they went to - there were multiple airlines involved in the ticket. I've had the same thing happen with other airlines. If it's all one airline it's easier to correct a name. As soon as the ticket becomes interline and there are more multiple airline codes on the ticket - you have to follow the rules. That means the ticket has to be reissued and the fare becomes the fare in effect on the date the new ticket is issued. People may not like that - but that's the way the system is set-up.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 1:14 am
by TerminalD
Tugger wrote:
Can someone please show or demonstrate the actual costs involved with a name change situation such as this? What are all the steps that are required (and why can't they be done online by the customer and then transmitted automatically etc.)?

Tugg

The cost is the time of an agent to retype the name and fractions of a cent in IT costs. It's possible there is a requirement to send passenger info prior to departure to security agencies, but I've had airlines make minor changes to my name at check-in.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 1:37 am
by TheFlyingDisk
zeke wrote:
While I understand your sentiments in Australia the passenger would have grounds to have this addressed through the competition commission (ACCC) as the alledged fee for changing the name on the booking (for the same natural person) does not bear any relationship to the cost of making the change.


Let's make something clear. The $8000 is NOT A FEE. It's the FARE of the new ticket.

“We were also told that the availability of flights could not be guaranteed and that if we were to re-book, we would need to do so at the current rate — 1,321,700 velocity points or $8,590,” he explained in a recent Facebook post. “Furthermore, we were told that we would incur a cancellation fee.”

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 2:38 am
by Qantas16
TerminalD wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Can someone please show or demonstrate the actual costs involved with a name change situation such as this? What are all the steps that are required (and why can't they be done online by the customer and then transmitted automatically etc.)?

Tugg

The cost is the time of an agent to retype the name and fractions of a cent in IT costs. It's possible there is a requirement to send passenger info prior to departure to security agencies, but I've had airlines make minor changes to my name at check-in.


Yes, but the point is that it stops people from booking cheap fares and deciding who is going to go later (or changing their mind). If it was free to change the name, airlines would lose out on the revenue from the fees and airfares across the board would rise to compensate. This case is obviously different though given it's the same person!

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 2:39 am
by qf2220
zeke wrote:
While I understand your sentiments in Australia the passenger would have grounds to have this addressed through the competition commission (ACCC) as the alledged fee for changing the name on the booking (for the same natural person) does not bear any relationship to the cost of making the change.

I recall the Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE placed placed a super complaint into the ACCC and we already have seen some results where the ACCC has told airlines they cannot charge some fees, change practices, or the changing or thd fee does not bear any relationship to the cost of making the change.

This is the same natural person updating their legal name. If you were to go to a bank or utility company after a legal name change they would not impose any fee to update the record.

While it would cost the airline a few minutes of labor and associated overheads to have someone available to make such an amendment, they could also have an online facility for them to do it themselves.

This is a different scenario to a change of name for a different natural person.


I wonder if airlines could make a case that there is some sort of potential opportunity cost though in their case? In a bank, there is no lost revenue or 'booking game playing' from changing names. Name changes are not permitted to make sure that the person who booked a cheap flight can't onsell it to another person at a higher price. Perhaps some of the cost of a name change is the potential for this to occur and the airline to lose money. How you go about measuring this cost, i have absolutely no idea...

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:14 am
by mikelive
As a phone reservation rep for WN, I can tell you that we do name corrections without any charge to the passenger. These would be corrected misspellings, changes in last names from maiden to married (or married to maiden due to divorce), or even changes to dates of birth. Changing the passenger completely (thus the transferring of a ticket to someone else) is not allowed and would necessitate the cancelling of the ticket for the passenger who is no longer flying and the booking of a new ticket for the replacement passenger at the going rate.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:28 am
by Carfield
I booked four award tickets for my family to travel from HKG to Taipei in Cathay Pacific business class using my BA Avios points.
When I checked in at HKG, I realized that I had somehow mess up my mom's name... For some reasons, I put down her first name as her last name and vice versa. Even as a BA Gold, BA said nothing can be done on the ticket. They only "kindly" refunded me the tax and fee. The points were forfeited and then I had to buy a full fare business class ticket for her on the spot. Economy class was available on the outbound but not the return. I cannot buy one way ticket because of Taiwan visa requirement. Some airlines can be very inflexible when it comes to names, especially in this technological advance age.

Finnair on the other hand has a more reasonable policy. I booked my uncle and aunt on a pair of tickets to Europe in business class from Singapore. One day, I was trying to retrieve their records online and could not. I called them and realized that I once again mixed up their first and last names. Thankfully they have yet to travel and Finnair allows this name change with a HKD$500 charge. I think we are all human beings and sometimes we made mistakes. The airlines should be more understanding and be reasonable. If you charge the couple $100 or even $200AUD name change fee, I am sure that it won't make the news.

I hope airlines can be more reasonable now especially the passengers are doing most of the work now and no longer rely on travel agents.

Carfield

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 4:34 am
by k26268
Something similar happened to me once. My family and I were flying from YVR to SFO on Air Canada. We booked the tickets through a third party website and at the airport the agent told us that our first and last name were mixed up. We didn't whether we entered our name backward or the third party website messed it up. The agent was not happy but he changed our name free of charge for both trips.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 4:46 am
by c933103
Not sure why some carriers charge the fee in a per-character basis. How much extra efforts would be needed to change 10 characters in the name as oppose to one?

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 6:41 am
by nikeherc
When my wife and I married in 2003, we did not change any of her documents until after the honeymoon. Therefore, her id and ticket were both in her previous name. We handled the name change upon our return home.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 1:09 pm
by ThunderB
Also the ticket was not only just with VA, it was combined with SQ. Sadly they chose to book under the wrong name and it was not the name for the booking on the day. VA did re ticket her via EY with only the difference of the tax component. So they were lucky for that to happen. Airlines have T&Cs for a reason, having worked for airlines we try out best to do help the passenger, just sometimes its out of the control of the agent, it's a senior management decision in HQ to decide the end result.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 1:10 pm
by TerminalD
nikeherc wrote:
When my wife and I married in 2003, we did not change any of her documents until after the honeymoon. Therefore, her id and ticket were both in her previous name. We handled the name change upon our return home.

If you are on this message board, you are not a typical airline customer, however! LOL

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 4:39 pm
by Planesmart
Cheaper for her to change her legal name and passport to the same as on the ticket, rather than amend the ticket. Legalised robbery.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 9:05 pm
by ikramerica
Don't change your passport until after your honeymoon. That's day one stuff. It is not illegal to wait. Some people don't take their honeymoon right away, and to them, I say "your choice, your problem." Don't schedule a wedding you don't have time for. In my book, the honeymoon is part of it. It gives you a chance to be newlyweds with no cares or responsibilities for a little while, because you'll never get that opportunity again. To take the honeymoon a few months later makes it less special. Like you just "Fit" your marriage in when you had time, rather than making an effort to start it off the best you could. Not the best way to begin that kind of commitment.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 10:24 pm
by ikramerica
mikelive wrote:
As a phone reservation rep for WN, I can tell you that we do name corrections without any charge to the passenger. These would be corrected misspellings, changes in last names from maiden to married (or married to maiden due to divorce), or even changes to dates of birth. Changing the passenger completely (thus the transferring of a ticket to someone else) is not allowed and would necessitate the cancelling of the ticket for the passenger who is no longer flying and the booking of a new ticket for the replacement passenger at the going rate.

Makes sense. A woman getting married doesn't make her a brand new person.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 11:28 pm
by Superunkown
TerminalD wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Can someone please show or demonstrate the actual costs involved with a name change situation such as this? What are all the steps that are required (and why can't they be done online by the customer and then transmitted automatically etc.)?

Tugg

The cost is the time of an agent to retype the name and fractions of a cent in IT costs. It's possible there is a requirement to send passenger info prior to departure to security agencies, but I've had airlines make minor changes to my name at check-in.


Reissuing a ticket will involve paying man-hours and the GDS will charge something for the new ticket. In the grand scheme of things it might be not be much for the airline and a lot for the pax, but it's fair that people pay for their mistakes instead of wanting to have everything done for free. It's a matter of responsability, if we (the company) make a mistake, we try to fix it with no charge. So if the pax makes a huge mistake I think it's only fair for him/her to pay for the resolution.

OTOH sometimes it's excesive what some parties charge for the name change. Also don't forget that some immigration agents/agencies might be more strict than others, so Name/Lastname instead of Lastname/Name or JONATHA instead of JONATHAN might involve a denied boarding.

Like I said before, it's insane the amount of name mistakes people make.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Sat May 06, 2017 2:08 am
by johnboy
You all seem so willing to defer to these airlines like the money is coming straight from your pockets. Strange group of people here.

Re: Virgin Australia Tells Woman to Pay $6350+Fees for Change to Married Name

Posted: Sat May 06, 2017 7:03 am
by RoySFlying
What the linked article does not make clear is the total amount they ended up paying for travel. It states what the new fare was and that they faced cancellation fees on the cancelled tickets. It does not report how much those fees were, nor does it tells what the refund was. The implication is that they lost the whole amount, paid an additional cancellation fee and bought new tickets at a higher price.

This seems unlikely. Since when do airlines charge a cancellation fee higher than the original fare purchased?