Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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You’re excited to book that airline ticket and head off to paradise, visit distant family, or arrange that important business meeting. You fill out all the information needed, hit the purchase button, and move on to daily life while you anticipate your journey.
But wait … did you remember to add your middle name to the reservation? Chances are you didn’t, but you’re not alone. After all, we don’t use middle names on a daily basis, so it’s not unusual to omit your middle name when booking an airline ticket.
But could this be a problem when you fly?
Airlines are clear in warning you that the name used for booking your ticket must match your government-issued ID. Since your government-issued ID usually contains your middle name, what happens if you forget to include it?
Here’s What Is Known
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires the airline to collect Secure Flight passenger data. “This includes the passenger’s full name as it appears on the non-expired government-issued photo ID, date of birth, gender, and TSA Redress Number, if available.”
- Travelers fly every day without providing their middle names when booking a ticket.
- Some airlines print your boarding pass without including your middle name, the first and middle names are merged, or the last half of your name is missing.
One of the reasons that people travel every day without putting their middle name on their ticket is that their Secure Flight passenger information is correct in their airline profile or within their ticket information.
Since the airline is required to provide this information to TSA, you’ll want to make sure your passenger information is correct to avoid a problem at the airport.
Ensuring Your Passenger Information is Correct
Whether your middle name was included or not when booking your ticket, go to the airline’s website and add the correct secure passenger information to your reservation. You will find this section within the Manage Your Trip, My Reservations, My Trips, or another similarly-titled section.
Access your reservation with the record locator or ticket number and add your complete name along with any other needed information to your reservation. If you have a frequent flyer account with the airline, you should also make sure that the passenger information is correct.
To illustrate: If you log into your American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer profile, all of your secure flight information is saved and correct. If you then booked a flight with American and forgot to include your middle name, it wouldn’t matter because your airline profile contains all of the correct secure passenger information.
I have never put my middle name in a reservation, yet after hundreds of thousands of miles, even connecting to other international airlines, I have never had a problem.
There are other reasons to ensure your secure passenger information is correct within your reservation. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBT) website, you may not receive TSA PreCheck “if your airline frequent flyer profile and reservation do not have your correct first/middle/last name and correct date of birth.”
Additionally, the CBT warns that “if you applied for a trusted traveler program as John David Doe, with David being your middle name, your airline frequent flyer profile should not be JD Doe; it needs to be consistent – first/middle/last” to receive TSA PreCheck.
It’s known that, depending on the airline, your middle name might not print on your boarding pass even if you did include it when booking. You may even see your first and middle names merged into 1 name on your boarding pass.
When the TSA agents check your boarding pass, they also check your Secure Flight passenger data. Even though your boarding pass may not match your government-issued ID (i.e. your middle name is not on it), if your passenger information is correct, there will not be a problem.
Steps You Can Take To Avoid Any Issues
- Try to remember to add your middle name to your reservation to match your government-issued photo ID.
- If you forget, access your reservation on the airline’s website and update the passenger information for that ticket.
- If you’re flying on more than 1 airline, access your reservation on each airline’s website and update your passenger information.
- You can also set up a frequent flyer account with the airline and add your correct secure passenger information to your profile. When you book a ticket with that airline in the future and add that frequent flyer number, the passenger information will be added automatically to your reservation.
- If you currently have a frequent flyer account, make sure the information saved in your profile is correct.
The individual airline has the final say as to whether you can board a flight. However, including your middle name upfront and ensuring your ticket information matches your government-issued ID in advance are simple steps that can prevent any issues when flying.
Our advice? While you should always try to include your middle name when booking a ticket, if the information in your frequent flyer account and/or secure passenger information is correct, it will not be a problem if you forget.
Featured Image Credit: Casezy idea via Shutterstock
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to put my middle name on my airline ticket?
Generally speaking, no you should not need to put your middle name on your airline ticket.
You’ll be able to clear security because the Secure Flight passenger information matches your airline profile or the information on your ticket.
Does your plane ticket have to match your ID exactly?
You cannot travel under a different name. Under the TSA’s rules, the name on your boarding pass must match your government-issued ID.
However, if you’re missing your middle name on your boarding pass, it shouldn’t be an issue. That’s because your airline profile and/or the information on your ticket will match your Secure Flight passenger information.
Do you need to put your full name on an airline ticket?
In general, you should be OK to travel without including your middle name on your airline ticket, but you must include your first and last name as they appear on your government-issued ID. So no, you do not necessarily need your full name on your ticket.
Because the Secure Flight passenger information matches your airline profile or the information on your ticket, you’ll be able to clear security.
What if I didn't put my middle name on my airline ticket?
If you forgot to add your middle name to your airline ticket, don’t worry. As long as your first and last name on your boarding pass matches your government-issued ID, you should be able to fly. That’s because your Secure Flight passenger information will match the information on your ticket.
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