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Our family has always abbreviated the first name as we all only use our middle names, as in D. Mike Dewey. If reservations are under D. Mike Dewey and the passport says Dennis Mike Dewey - will this cause a problem?

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    Reservations for what? Restaurants, train seats, flights, hotel rooms? – Henning Makholm Dec 16 '18 at 15:44
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For flights, it could be problematic and would depend on where you are flying to and from, your citizenship, and the experience and mood of the staff checking you in.

In such cases, the airline staff that check you in have a certain amount of discretion and for some journeys, they may well allow it, just as they would allow a case of first name, initial, last name.

In other cases, some airlines may seize on the opportunity to levy an additional charge at checkin to change the name to match. I have had this before when 2 letters in my name were transposed. A US$250 typo!

Many airports now require self check-in. A machine is almost certainly not going to allow you to pass without intervention from an airline representative.

One specific problem situation may arise if you are not a U.S. citizen and are attempting to board a flight to the U.S. In this case, it is unlikely that any airline would take the risk of allowing you to board. The reason being the huge amount of passenger data that the U.S. government requires, and the amount of checks and pre-processing that is done. If the airline perceives any risk that a discrepancy could cause you to be denied entry to the U.S. (or any other country for that matter), then they will not allow you to board.

Almost every advice you are likely to receive is to ensure that the name printed on your ticket matches the name of our passport.

  • As an example, Delta's machines are extremely picky. For a flight to Canada as a US citizen, it wouldn't let me check in because my ticket was for "FirstMiddle Last" and my passport was "First Middle Last" (the agent checked me in fine of course). – jdouglas Dec 16 '18 at 20:12
  • For international flights (including into the USA), it is necessary that the passport information entered by the traveler exactly match the documentation presented in person. However, the requirements for the spelling on the ticket/reservation are more lenient. This is because reservations and tickets are often arranged by corporate purchasing drones, and any airline that isn't compatible with corporate purchasing practices is going to find themselves losing a large volume of their customer base. Whitespace, spelling errors, transposed first and middle name are common at that stage. – Ben Voigt Dec 17 '18 at 0:47
  • @BenVoigt - could you elaborate on what you mean by "entered by the traveller"? Entered into what system? At what point in the process? I have never come across a situation where the passenger is granted the ability to amend the booking name; whether that booking has been made through an agent (in person or via a purchasing team), or directly with the airline. Agents servicing corporate procurement teams are often willing to correct minor issues - but protocol dictates that only the agent can make such a change. – PassKit Dec 17 '18 at 5:49
  • @PassKit: It doesn't alter the booking name, but that isn't necessary -- airlines have leeway in how they handle the information in their own system. The governments only care about the information sent to APIS or similar, which doesn't come from the booking, and can be edited by the traveler until shortly before the flight. – Ben Voigt Dec 17 '18 at 6:14

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