Do I Need to Put My Middle Name on My Airline Ticket?

Boarding Pass

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Middle names are rarely used on a day-to-day basis, so it’s no surprise that many people don’t think to include them when booking flights. However, airlines often mention that the name used for booking must match exactly on your boarding passes and government-issued IDs.

Your passport (or driver’s license) likely includes your middle name, which might leave you wondering what will happen if you forget (or have already forgotten) to include your middle name when booking a ticket.

Navigating airport security — and the airport itself — is already intimidating enough for many people, so you don’t want something as simple as a middle name slowing you down. This leaves us with the question: do you really need to include your middle name when booking flights?

Let’s skip the suspense and get right to it.

You (probably) don’t need to worry if your passport or ID includes your middle name but your booking/ticket does not.

In our research, we’ve found plenty of instances where passengers did not include their middle names when booking, and they were still able to board their flights without any issue at all.

Depending on the airline, your middle name might not print on the boarding pass even if you did include it when booking. Some airlines just include the first initial of your middle name on the boarding pass if you do include your middle name when booking. Others will even merge your first and middle name into one on your boarding pass.

It’s easy to see why gate agents are less concerned about the middle name matching exactly. While this is certainly a relief for many travelers, we still suggest including your middle name on a booking if it is present on your passport or government-issued ID.

Why? Since airlines have the final say as to whether you can board a flight, including your middle name is a simple step that can prevent any confusion with a gate agent. If you’re traveling abroad, having your name match exactly can remove any stress about missing a flight.

Bottom Line: In the end, the warnings airlines provide when booking might scare you into thinking you won’t be flying if the name on your boarding pass doesn’t match your passport or ID exactly. But we haven’t seen many instances of middle names causing a problem for travelers.

Our advice? While we always try to remember to include our middle names when booking, we certainly won’t be worrying too much about it!

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7 comments

  1. Secure flight data needs to match including middle names. Your ticket does not require a middle name.

    Except that Cathay Pacific has started requiring middle names at least for AAdvantage-issued award tickets, but that’s not a government requirement. Not all American agents realize this, so they then need their CX liaison to work with Cathay to get tickets reissued (although I haven’t heard of anyone having a problem at the airport failing to meet this requirement).

    Similarly minor misspellings of a name are generally not an issue for an airline. Occasionally an overzealous TSA agent will have an issue, so it’s advisable to get the airport early when there’s a minor misspelling to go through a different checkpoint or go through with a different document checker if turned away (but this is rare).

  2. WOW Airlines recently prevented a woman from boarding a flight from Toronto because her boarding pass didn’t have her middle name. She had to buy a full fare ticket for the next day and pay a $23 name change fee.

  3. Great Information! One of my friend flying from London to Sydney airlines prevented him because his boarding pass didn’t have his Middle name. Finally, he paid extra charge for name change. Great Article it contains a very useful information! I really appreciate the post. Nice post! Keep it up.

  4. Becky Lau · May 29, 2018 · Reply

    I’m in this position with Cathay Pacific and I forgot to put in the middle name too. They told me that I will have to buy new tickets instead if I need to add the middle name. What should I do? Can people tell me if I will not be able to board the plane then since I forgot to add the middle name to my booking? This whole middle name is stressing me out. Please help!

    • We see no reason why there would be an issue in your situation Becky. I’ve never needed to add my middle name and I’ve never had a problem. Of course, I can’t guarantee this for you – it’s just my experience and the article pretty much says that too!

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