Refused Boarding for Wrong Name

April 22, 2018

in Airport Stories

Wanted to let everyone know about me getting ripped off for $1,000 by Virgin Atlantic airlines.

I am a 73-year old college instructor who decided to visit Athens, Greece, for Spring Break. A friend asked if she could accompany me, so I booked a flight on Orbitz to meet in Athens. The ticket had the name I have always known her as, “Jackie,” while her passport said “Jacqueline.” We found the problem almost a week before the flight and tried to correct it, but Virgin Atlantic refused to change the name because of a “policy” not to change names.

When my friend tried to check in she was refused boarding. So here is a 50-year old woman crying her eyes out because she was not going to be able to make her dream vacation. The attitude of the Virgin Atlantic desk crew was total indifference.

When I got home I contacted Orbitz to arrange to get my money back. They contacted Virgin Atlantic and I was told there was not any way they would refund my money. Again, the reason they refused to refund the money is that the ticket was non-refundable, and it is “policy” they do not refund these type tickets.

I have been in contact with the executive offices of Virgin Atlantic and they have stonewalled me at every turn. The attitude can best be described as one of arrogance and uncaring toward my plight. In my lifetime I have flown over 1.5 million miles and currently make four international trips a year, and I have never encountered an airline that treats its customers with the contempt of Virgin Atlantic, with a total refusal to try and correct problems.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie Baker April 22, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Ridiculous that they wouldn't work with you to find a solution.


Beth April 23, 2018 at 9:36 am

This is why you need to make sure to book tickets in the name on someone's ID and verify if you're not sure. The problem gets compounded when using a third party like Orbitz to make the reservations. Virgin America's website says they can only change names for some types of tickets purchased and it seems you didn't choose one of those when booking.


Jim Smythee April 23, 2018 at 6:35 pm

This is a known issue going on for 30+ years. The Name on ticket must match the name on the Gov't Issued ID. Where have you been for 30+ years? Why didn't occur to you to ask "Jackie" since it was an international flight, "Say Jackie, what's the name on your passport?"


Weasel May 2, 2018 at 4:07 am

That’s not really an issue as much as it is FEDERAL LAW, and has been so since the 70’s.


Alan Gore May 28, 2018 at 10:54 pm

It's a FEDERAL LAW because the airlines lobbied for it. I'm a database guy, and the technical cost of making a name change on an existing passenger record is perhaps ten bucks. Airlines could make money charging a $25 fee for the service, but choose to inflate the cost by requiring that the whole reservation be canceled and rebooked.


Jim Smythee April 23, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Ok, chime in again. I just, last week, booked free tickets on SWA points for my girlfriend and I. And you know what I asked her? "What is Katie short for?" Seems simple?


creepingjennie April 23, 2018 at 9:37 pm

My husband and I have been married for seven years, and have taken six international trips together. He knows my name. He still verifies all of my info before pushing the button.


James April 24, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I suspect what needed to happen, was you needed to notify Orbitz of the name change and they ahd to make the request — the tickets were issued to you via Orbtz.

You may want to contact Chris Elliott: and they may be able to help.


Mac July 2, 2018 at 10:12 am

Ticket name MUST match passport name. That has never changed, the airline could be liable if the Greek authorities refused her entry.


i300Radley August 6, 2018 at 2:31 am

And you’ve been flying how many times again? 1000x and you never knew name on the boarding pass ALWAYS has to match passport? C’mon buddy… not the sharpest in the box instructor.


Liam August 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm

Name corrections of a maximum three characters are permitted free of charge, to reflect the customers full first and last names as they appear in their passport.

Any name corrections of four characters or more, the Agent must contact Virgin Atlantic Sales Support for approval. If approved the airline will place an authorisation in the booking, allowing the correction to be made. The agent will need to reissue the ticket using the approved correction.


Not sure why VS was not able to assist you in correcting the name since cross referencing can be done to solve the problem, like birth-date match, passport details match, last name, phone number, etc. Jackie is a hypocorism of Jacqueline so it should not be much of an issue and the heftiest that they can do against your request is to charge you extra for reissuing the ticket for the name correction.


Not a jerk August 10, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Wow, must feel nice to keep repeating what others have said and trolling an elderly person.


Karim January 2, 2020 at 2:00 pm

You gotta pay for a little common sense


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