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My father-in-law is returning to the UK in four days, after spending a month in his home country.

Whilst there, he renewed his passport which, obviously, has different document numbers to those on his old one, which he used when the flight was booked.

Will this be a big problem, or can he just travel and take the old one with him in case?

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Your father-in-law presumably gave his passport number to the airline when he booked his ticket. However he can use a different passport to travel on. The best way to do this is change the passport number associated with his booking online. However he can also do it at the time he checks in, or by calling the airline. None of these approaches should be a problem.

If your father-in-law is not a British citizen and requires a visa to enter Britain you need to present it to board. If it is in the old passport you need to bring the passport of course. Even if it is not bringing the passport it was associated with might be a good idea.

  • They won't let him board if he doesn't bring the old passport with the visa. Considering that he lives in the UK, he is on a long term visa. He has a visa even if he is a "non-visa" national. Without the passport with that visa, he will be turned away by immigration. – greatone Aug 31 '17 at 0:52
  • Nobody cares about your passport number: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/79636/… – JonathanReez Aug 31 '17 at 6:56
  • Some online systems will not allow the passport number to be changed after it has been entered. In such cases, the simple solution is to show the passport to an agent at the check-in desk. – phoog Aug 31 '17 at 10:52
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This is a common occurrence. It applies to renewing expired passports or stolen ones.

What works almost always is to call the airline. Some countries require passenger information to be submitted 24 hours ahead, so this is really the best option.

In most places though, it is possible to do this when checking-in in person. Online check-in usually refused to accept a different passport number the few times I had to do it. At that point, I usually call the airline to avoid issues at check-in when time can be tight.

The old passport can be brought along and used to show still valid visas but it will not be accepted as a proof of identity since it will have been voided even if its expiry was not reached.

  • There isn't any proof that airlines actually care about the passport number: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/79636/… – JonathanReez Aug 31 '17 at 6:56
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    @JonathanReez absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. – phoog Aug 31 '17 at 10:54
  • @phoog myself and one other Travel.SE member have tried flying with the wrong details without any issues. On the other hand there are absolutely no reports anywhere of anyone being denied boarding over this. This leads me to believe that nobody checks it. – JonathanReez Aug 31 '17 at 11:23
  • On several occasions, I was denied online checkin because of changed passport info, so they do care on rome routes. – Itai Aug 31 '17 at 13:14
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I carry two passports, both from the same country, and use them both a lot for the same trips. I leave Hong Kong with one passport, enter and leave the destination destination country with the other one, then, when I land back in HK, use again the first passport. As long as the name and other details (gender, date and place of birth) match, there's no problem.

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