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What should you do when you are buying a ticket for someone with only one name (i.e. no family name, last name, or surname)? Some airlines tell you to use an honorific like "MR" or "MS" in place of the first name, but visas are generally issued to First Name Unknown, "FNU".

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    – Willeke
    Sep 29, 2023 at 15:12

1 Answer 1

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The 2023-2024 Airline Industry Reservations Interline Message Procedures (archive link) issued by the IATA specify that you should write your passenger's name as the last name and use "FNU" (standing for “First Name Unknown”) in place of the first name. It also states that honorifics are no longer part of the official standard. (This is good, because honorifics have caused problems.)

As mentioned in this past question, your travel is at the mercy of both the airline and the immigration service of the destination country, so it may help to check with both. While my airline told me via email that they prefer an honorific, they acknowledged that the IATA ruling supersedes it. Other airlines might demand an honorific, as silly as that sounds...

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    The whole issue of honorifics galls me. It's almost impossible to fill in a form in the UK without them (and the acceptable list has a tendency to include Lord, Sir, …)
    – Auspex
    Sep 28, 2023 at 15:21
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    @Auspex You find you can't leave it blank? It's a required field?
    – user27701
    Sep 28, 2023 at 18:26
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    @Asupex: many years ago the company I worked for developed a web browser. The British Airways website broke an early version because we couldn't handle the size of their honorifics dropdown list. It included "His Holiness". Sep 29, 2023 at 19:21
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    @RobbieGoodwin, because the term honorific is the right one, title is too narrow in its use.
    – Willeke
    Sep 30, 2023 at 0:49
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    @RobbieGoodwin, "honorific" is the proper term for words and phrases such as "Mister", "Reverend", "Her Majesty". They are about how a person is addressed. "Title", on the other hand, is about role, position, or achievement: "Sultan of Outer Petrolia", "Scientific Computing Engineer", "Doctor of Veterinary Medicine". There is a connection between these, and a little overlap, but they are not the same thing. As for why forms you've seen have consistently used the wrong word, I can only speculate that those who created them didn't know the right one or didn't care. Sep 30, 2023 at 14:44

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