I’m traveling with American Airlines from the USA to Brazil and I’m filling out the passenger information part and they ask to fill out the passport information and I have three last names and they don’t allow me to up in.

Example: (first name) Williams Johnson Anderson (not my real last name but same numbers of letters, they are not middle names, they are last names)

What should I do?

  • If I've counted correctly, your three surnames contain 23 characters plus two spaces, which leaves 12 characters for your given name or names after deducting the two-character separator. Do your given name or names contain more characters than that? If not I would guess it's a validation rule in the passenger information form that assumes anyone entering three words in the surname field has misunderstood and entered their full name there. Woe unto Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen and others with names like hers.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 6 at 13:08
  • 2

1 Answer 1


Use the version of your name encoded on your passport.

The first row of the machine readable zone will say something like P<USAWILLIAMS<JOHNSON<<FIRST<NAME, where P<USA means US passport (so ignore this bit) and << separates last and first names.

  • 2
    It's less-than signs, not greater-than signs, and it's the first row of the MRZ, not the second, with the name starting at the sixth character position, after the document code and the issuing country code. So for a US passport it's P<USALAST<NAME<OR<NAMES<<GIVEN<NAME<OR<NAMES. The length of the MRZ line is 44 characters, so the name can't have more than 39 characters including spaces and counting two for the two character separator between surnames and given names (called "primary identifier" and "secondary identifier" in the specification).
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 6 at 12:51
  • 1
    @phoog D'oh, fixed. Commented Jan 6 at 19:24
  • I always forget, too. I checked my passport to be sure before I commented.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 7 at 16:15

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