I am booking a flight for January 30 with Cebu Pacific. I tried to contact them about this, still waiting for a reply.

One person in our group didn't have a passport and already applied for one. He was told by the authorities that it will arrive on January 20.

By then, the flight might be overbooked, or extremely expensive. This person has never flown before, much less leave his home country. I need to accompany this person no matter what, and it is also very important for this person and us to make this trip since it's for attending a marriage that can't be postponed. It's not an easy situation.

Is it a terrible idea to book the flight with random passport number and then when he gets his passport we call the airline and ask to fix the number? All other information of the passenger would be the same.

Related: For my flight, can I provide my old passport number until my new passport arrives?

  • 1
    Book the flight now. Through some booking channels you may not need to provide any passport information at all.
    – Calchas
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 14:11
  • 2
    Thank you all for the answers. The airline actually replied and confirmed that I can leave the information blank and later on give them the passport information. Now the web form doesn't allow for blank fields so I just put a 0. Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 15:47
  • This can differ between airlines. The last many times I have booked flight tickets I have not been asked for a passport number while booking. I have however been asked for it when using the online checkin one or two days before departure.
    – kasperd
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 15:41

3 Answers 3


As outlined in a related question, airlines never bother checking if the passport number entered during booking/check-in is actually valid. In the worst case scenario you will be asked to wait for a minute before the flight while they update the number at the boarding gate.

So the answer is simple: enter whatever number you want. Just make sure that the person in question has their passport ready by the time they need to fly.

  • 1
    :) Sorry, but the airlines do absolutely check the information you enter in the web site because it's...wait for it..**the law**!
    – DTRT
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 15:15
  • 5
    I am downvoting this because it is simple bad or unnecessary advice to "enter whatever you want". If fact, don't do this.
    – DTRT
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 15:16
  • 4
    @Johns-305 they don't actually validate it until you show up at the airport for the flight and show the passport to them.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 21:51
  • 2
    @phoog, If it worked like US APIS they would actually initially validate 72 hours before the flight, though the end result is indistinguishable from what you said since the response would just tell the airline you need to show a different or additional document when you check in to be validated then. For the US the early validation does allow the airline to remind you (if they care to) that you need an ESTA but apparently don't have one while there's still time to apply.
    – user38879
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 0:08
  • 2
    Maybe, but in my country, this would be a crime. I choose not to risk going to prison, or facing a hefty fine. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 10:44

You typically don’t need a passport number to book a flight; you will only need the passport at check-in.

The risk is really that the passport does not come in time for the flight, as that would be your/his loss; he would miss the flight, and neither the airline nor the passport office will reimburse you in any way.


It is very common to book travel before having the relevant documentation, including Passports or Visas. For this reason, they are not required until just before travel will commence.

Book the tickets without entering any Passport or Visa information. Then, when the Passport arrives, update the reservation or provide the information at the airport during checking. Be sure to arrive extra early to do this.

Note, if for any reason the Passport or any visas are not issued, you may not be entitled to a refund as it is the travelers sole responsibility to have these before travel.

  • 5
    What if the booking interface doesn't allow you to leave the field empty?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 16:51
  • @JonathanReez in this case it does.
    – jcm
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 11:12
  • @JonathanReez Then you would have an airline run be people who have never run an airline. For practical reasons, the airline has no reason to require any travel doc information when purchasing a ticket.
    – DTRT
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 20:07

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