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.
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!