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I am trying to book a ticket for someone with a rather long first name on their passport. It is basically in this format

[8 characters] [10 characters] [11 characters]

I am unable to enter all the characters into the first name field On Singapore Airline's online form because it has a 25 characters limit.

Above the name fields, it has this link for "tips on entering your name":

enter image description here

I clicked on the link and it shows the following info

enter image description here

I tried to call their office, of course, but the number is practically dysfunctional. I am not able to talk to anyone.

What should I do in this case?

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  • 14
    What does the machine readable zone of their passport say? Use that for buying the ticket. Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 12:50
  • 2
    Why would not simply follow the instructions, and enter your first name, ignoring any middle names? Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 21:58
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    @RobbieGoodwin the concept of "one first name" is not universal. Even the US knows the concept of double names, and other cultures have multiple first names (but no middle names). And the instructions show a case of entering multiple given names & they specifically say "as in passport", so it a valid question. Just leaving part of the name out isn't necessarily a good solution.
    – tim
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 20:19
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    @RobbieGoodwin The instructions say 'truncate, then contact us' and contacting them was not possible.
    – tim
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 7:34

4 Answers 4

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I have a friend who has 4 first names and whose last name is 6 words. No kidding... He solved this issue by selecting 2 first names and 2 words of his last name. That fits in just about any reservation system. And when passing through passport control or airline check-in counters, he points at the 4 words out of the 10 that make up his name.

So far so good. 30 years of international travel, never denied...

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    No one has four first names, any more then there are four first days of the year. Your friend has four given names, which are his first, second, third and fourth names.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 9:03
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    How very Anglo of you... My friend has four prénoms – which happens to translate to "first name". We don't do "middle names" either.
    – user138870
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 9:16
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    Clearly a mistranslation, because those four names are not all first. I’m perfectly prepared to believe that someone can have four prénoms, but not that they can all count as first names when filling in a form asking for your first name in English.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 15:15
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    @dda If it is the French prénoms... legally we can just use one of the prénoms in all but the most important of formalities Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 20:24
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    @MikeScott I recommend reading Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names before making a claim like No one...
    – Simson
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 5:20
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if what you call "first name" is separated by spaces in various parts, you just have to fill in the first of that parts (the one 8 characters long) -

I've never booked Singapore, but I myself an "João Sebastião de Oliveira Bueno". Strictily, "first name/last name" or even "first name/middle name/ last name" won't map to it.

So, I just use "Joao" for first name and "Bueno" for the last name, for all my flying/passport involving activities. I've had 0 problems to this date. (Not that I have travelled that much)

(note that I also use "Joao" instead of "João" because computer programmers will often mishandle accented characters, and for travel documentation purposes, the sttriped version just works.)

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Assuming they actually do have a passport, the link you mention tells you exactly what to do here.

Expanding on what that links is saying though:

Any passport they have should be an ICAO 9303 (or, alternatively, ISO/IEC 7501-1, which is the same thing) compliant machine-readable travel document, which means it has this covered.

In particular, on all ICAO 9303 compliant documents, there is a machine readable zone (MRZ) consisting of two or three lines of text in the OCR-B font. In a standard passport booklet, this is at the bottom of the identity page. On most passport cards, it’s on the bottom of the reverse face of the card.

The MRZ includes the name of the document-holder, either as the entirety of the third line if there are three lines, or as everything from the sixth character of the first line to the end of the first line if there are two lines. Some special rules get used when constructing this (punctuation other than hyphens is not included, hyphens and spaces are replaced with < (the filler character used in all parts of the MRZ), most diacritical marks are removed, and specific transliteration rules are used when dealing with non-Latin alphabets), but the contents of that particular field in the MRZ should pretty much always be acceptable to an airline as a passenger name when booking a flight.

In cases where you can’t use a full name, the name as listed in the MRZ on whatever travel document you will be using is almost always the correct thing to use.

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In the Singapore Airlines contact us page, there is a “Got a question? Chat Now” bubble on the lower right of the screen, have you tried contacting them? I've tried it, but a chatbot replied, but may probably have an actual human during office hours.

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    This should have been posted as a comment, not as an answer.
    – Willeke
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 10:50

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