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I need to book 2 separate tickets for Emirates, Turkish, and Copa airlines for my fiance and her father. I have never bought plane tickets before and they have never flown before.

  1. Is it better for me to book the tickets or for them to book the tickets? Ideally we like to book online. If I book, I will be doing it with my credit card (I can use their credit card also if thats better)
  2. Do we enter the passenger information that matches their identification document (in this case, national identity card or passport)?
  3. What do we need to present on the day of flying in terms of the ticket? Will just a printed ticket from a regular inkjet printer be fine?

Due to the COVID situation and as they are flying first time, we do not plan on checkin any luggage. Only luggage will be a hand carry on luggage for both for them.

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    Please don't take this the wrong way, but you are sure that your fiancé and her father are real people, who are really coming to visit you? There are many instances of romance scams where tickets are booked by person A for person B, and then person B cashes in the ticket and keeps the money. It's not clear if you have met them in person, but that they are not considering checked luggage for an extensive international trip raises warning signs for me. I only mention this to ensure that you don't become a victim of fraud. – Peter M Feb 25 at 14:51
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    No, we have known each other for a long time (our fathers are friends) and we have met in person already. – zwdev2 Feb 25 at 15:13
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    Are those for the elusive Sri Lanka to Bahamas flights without visas? Did you find something that works? Note that not having check-in luggage is often not enough to remain in the international areas as required for TWOV in some countries if the flights are not booked as a single ticket. – jcaron Feb 25 at 15:52
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    @zwdev2 OK, thats great to know. So congratulations are in order for you and your fiancé – Peter M Feb 25 at 15:52
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    Also, remember that there are quite a few restrictions on what you can have in carry-on luggage, especially regarding liquids. – jcaron Feb 25 at 15:54
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  1. Book tickets directly with the airline, and book everything, the whole trip under one booking. Make sure your fiancé and her father are on the same booking. Do not split the trip over multiple bookings even if it were to save some money.

What this gives you is:

  • The airline you booked with is responsible for them for the whole trip. If there are cancellations or delays, and flights missed as a result it is the airline that needs to sort them out, rebook them, and if they can't immediately continue, put them up in a hotel.
  • Luggage will be checked through, so there ought not to be a reason not to take checked luggage. Means less stuff in the cabine, and a more comfortable trip.
  • Two persons on the same booking will normally be put next to each other on the plane.

Do not, again, split the ticket. The issues and stress that "self connecting" come with are not things you want to inflict upon a first time traveller.

  1. Make sure that when booking you enter the names of your fiancé and her father exactly as they appear on their passports. Ask them about this in advance.

  2. Nowadays you do not need to print out anything. Go to the departure airport on time. Present yourself at the check in desk with your passports and you will get your boarding passes there, for all segments of your trip. Luggage is taken of you and will be returned to you on your arrival at the final destination.

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    For other people seeing this, not all is true in all cases. "so there ought not to be a reason not to take checked luggage" - most airlines charge for checked baggage, so a tighter budget could mean that you can't do this. "Nowadays you do not need to print out anything." - If you're booking with a budget airline, like Ryanair, this is the opposite. If you don't print out boarding passes in advance, you might be hit with a fee trying to get a boarding pass at the airport (£/€20!). – David Wheatley Feb 25 at 22:47
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    @DavidWheatley Like any modern airline, Ryanair is perfectly content with mobile boarding passes, except for certain destinations they demand a printout that they can stamp with “Docs OK” after verifying visa requirements. It’s perhaps advisable to print it out for peace of mind in any case. – Roman Odaisky Feb 26 at 0:05
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    For a few years now, I've been giving the check-in desk my passport only - they don't need paper or even knowing which flight you're checking in for - they know. However, I always have paper as backup, just in case. Flights, reservations, ESTA, whatnot. Don't let a dead smartphone battery or strict airline representative ruin your day. – magma Feb 26 at 5:31
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    @magma seconded - you don't need anything printed out, but especially if you're not a white westerner then it's probably a good idea to carry a printout. Can also just be good to have as a reference for yourself for when/where your connecting flight is without having to dig through your phone to find the email or calendar entry – llama Feb 26 at 16:57
  • Re #3: Nothing in OP's question explicitly states that this is a domestic flight. If it's international, then things get exponentially more complex depending on all sorts of different factors (e.g. Do they need visas? Are there quarantine requirements? If flying visa-free, will the destination country ask to see bank statements etc.? And so on...) – Kevin Feb 26 at 20:56
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The main catch for buying tickets for other people is credit card requirements: if the credit card holder's name doesn't match the booking name, quite a few airlines require either that they present the physical card at check-in, or a specific authorization from the credit card holder (you). So if possible, it's easier to let them pay (or book yourself using their credit card), then reimburse.

Other than that, it's the same as booking any other ticket. You need to provide their details (passport etc), of course, and should provide their telephone/email as at least one contact point. For most airlines all you need these days is the booking reference (PNR) and matching ID, but carrying a print-out never hurts.

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    Which airlines are that? Pre Corona I flew about 50 times a year, and have never had to show my credit card. In quite a few cases I didn't even have to show an ID as well. For international travel I would expect a Passport to be essential though. – Krist van Besien Feb 25 at 13:52
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    @KristvanBesien Particularly in Asia, it's commonly asked if the name is different. Singapore Airlines, Cathay, Japan Airlines all enforce this: straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/… – lambshaanxy Feb 25 at 14:29
  • @KristvanBesien This has happened to me even when booked in my own name, though that was a long time ago (10 or 15 years ago or so), flying with CX. But that was before 3D Secure was widely used. – jcaron Feb 25 at 15:48
  • @lambshaanxy I've flown Singapore Airlines multiple times (including client booked flights) and never been asked. – Kate Gregory Feb 25 at 22:11
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    @KateGregory "for security, the cardholder must present their credit / debit card in person for verification." singaporeair.com/en_UK/bn/faqCategory/… The FAQ also notes that this is only asked for "high risk" bookings. – lambshaanxy Feb 26 at 4:45
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This is easier than it appears.

  1. in theory, airlines can demand to see the credit card that paid for the ticket, when you arrive at the airport. In practice, this has never happened to me. I have flown on tickets that were bought for me when I literally didn't know the name of the person at my client company who bought them. I have bought tickets for family members. No-one has ever asked to see the credit card. Since you have the option of using a card they will have with them, you might as well just in case.

  2. This is important. The name on the tickets should match the name on the ID. I have heard of people having issues when a short form or nickname is used (eg Kate/Katherine or Jim/James.) Since you're taking the time to think about this, use the names on their ID for the tickets.

  3. You never print a ticket. You might print a boarding pass at home, or you might check in on your phone without ever printing one, or you might get your boarding pass at the airport. I often arrive at the airport without anything printed that relates to my flight. Sometimes I do print my receipt from the airline, because it often smooths things related to immigration. (For example showing that it is a return ticket.) While you may not need it, the receipt also contains various codes and numbers that can help the airline staff find your ticket if for some reason their names alone don't work. You don't need to print it though -- I once passed my laptop across the desk to a Lufthansa agent to show them a PDF for a ticket they couldn't find.

You didn't ask, but you should also consider 4, whether they need a visa, and 5, whether Covid restrictions allow them into the country at the moment. Many countries are requiring written permission letters in advance, even for people who don't normally need a visa. And what's more, some airline staff don't know these rules as well as they should. (A recent trip involved one passenger saying "she's my wife, we don't need a letter" way more times than he should have had to.)

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    Whether you need to have the creditcard at check-in largely depends on the country you travel from. A North American or European may never be asked, many people from the rest of the world have reported the need. – Willeke Feb 25 at 13:30
  • This triptipedia.com/tip/dg6si2W/… looks pretty helpful regarding 3rd party credit card bookings – Traveller Feb 25 at 16:24

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