French citizens often have several first names, which are mentioned on their passport. Are French citizens supposed to indicate all their first names when booking a flight ticket?

On one side I read that airline ticket names must match ID exactly (mirror). On the other side, some mainstream airline websites (e.g., American Airlines) have a maximum field length for the first name(s), which don't allow entering over ~13 characters, which typically isn't enough for several first names.

  • Have you tried modifying the HTTP request with e.g. Fiddler to make your full name being sent? Oct 11, 2019 at 22:25
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    @MikaelDúiBolinder Unless you are looking to explore the stability of a lowest-bid 2018 web interface strapped onto a 1980s ticketing mainframe, that's probably not a great idea. The "Name of passenger" box for e-tickets has the same restriction on size as the paper ticket box did, and also needs to remain in synchronization the PNR reservations record which is on a separate system. Just make sure the family name and the first name is correct.
    – Calchas
    Oct 12, 2019 at 18:51
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    @MikaelDúiBolinder that sounds like a good way to mess up the reservation but it's tempting to try though :-) but I've already booked the flight for that one. Oct 12, 2019 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


The linked article is over 10 years old, and contains the interpretation of a journalist. In practice, using your usual first name and last name is the usual way, and works perfectly fine.
The main point of that regulation is to not abbreviate your first or last name, change the spelling, or use nick names.

Especially in the US it is very common to use a nick name that is (or is not) derived from your given name, like 'Dick' for 'Richard', or 'Joe' for 'Joseph', or 'Bob' for 'Robert', etc. People were used to using these short forms when booking flights before that change.

Of course, if you ask around, you'll always find someone that isn't sure and recommends to use all you first names, or 'be on the sure side and call the airline'.that works, but costs you time and money, and is unnecessary extra effort.

  • "costs you time and money": how much time and money does it take to type out Elizabeth Christina Genevieve Isabella Gwendolyn Esmeralda instead of just Elizabeth? I don't think it costs more than a few seconds, and no money at all. But in my experience the cost of not using all my names is worse: so far, nothing more than anxiety, but a few seconds' time are well spent to avoid needless anxiety, and, as time passes, I see increasing indications that airlines are becoming stricter about matching multiple names on the ticket, or at least some of them are.
    – phoog
    Oct 25, 2022 at 8:00
  • @phoog, if your full given names fit in the field it is of course right to type them all. But your sample of 6 given names will not fit and in that case you would have to call the airline often at quite a high cost per minute.
    – Willeke
    Oct 25, 2022 at 8:09
  • @Willeke true, but actually in that case the names don't likely fit on the ID, so that's a poorly chosen example (I borrowed it from another answer where the focus was on how to abbreviate the name when entering it in a web form). I suppose most airlines these days are going to accept at least as many characters as an ID can, so if your passport or driver's license has multiple names that do fit and are all shown on the ID, leaving any of them out just seems to me an unjustified risk.
    – phoog
    Oct 25, 2022 at 8:31
  • My Dutch ID card has my full two given names on the front and one and a bit in the machine readable part. Cut to however many characters were left. Airlines mostly ask for a given name, not all.
    – Willeke
    Oct 25, 2022 at 10:11

It's usually best to type exactly what it says in your passport to avoid any issues or problems at immigration.

If your name doesn't fit in the name field it is probably best to call the airline and to book over the phone.

Or as suggested by phoog:

Another option would be to ask the website user support how to handle the specific name. Something like "My given names are Elizabeth Christina Genevieve Isabella Gwendolyn Esmeralda; how should I enter my name on your website?"

  • Another option would be to ask the website user support how to handle the specific name. Something like "My given names are Elizabeth Christina Genevieve Isabella Gwendolyn Esmeralda; how should I enter my name on your website?" Since some airlines charge more for a phone booking, one might they ought to help, or at least waive the fee.
    – phoog
    Oct 11, 2019 at 19:18
  • @phoog also time isn't free, and calling is often much more time-consuming than using a website. Oct 11, 2019 at 19:22
  • @FranckDernoncourt sure, but trying to navigate user support can also be time consuming and/or frustrating. That has been my experience, at least, with Lufthansa online check in. I've never had too much trouble booking tickets though I usually omit my middle name, which is 14 characters including spaces.
    – phoog
    Oct 11, 2019 at 19:33
  • When I scan my ID card to check in, my second given name is always cut short to the exact number of digits available, never been a problem. On booking tickets I mostly only enter first given name (10 letters).
    – Willeke
    Oct 12, 2019 at 5:54
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    It’s not just the French. Multiple first names are common all over Europe. I have four given names. If a form says “first name” (singular) I just enter my first given name, which is also the name I use normally. If they ask for "given name(s)" (plural) I enter all my names. If there is a middle name field I leave it empty. Oct 12, 2019 at 6:13

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