Is it legal for air companies to ask for my personal information?

I mean, today I had to buy a ticket from easy jet. To do so, I was forced to register to the site, choose a password, and to insert some personal information, among which where I live, my telephone number, my real name, and also the purpose of the trip.

All of this info was compulsory and regarding only the account that I was about to create.

Can they do this? And can I just ignore them and put on fake information? I realise I have to write my real name when it asks me who is going to travel, but when it comes to registering on their site, I can write whatever I want or not?

  • 2
    Why wouldn't it be legal? I don't take on anonymous consulting clients, for example. The low cost carriers milk every revenue option they have and that doubtless includes your personal information - for their own marketing reasons or to sell it. Most traditional airlines have a "continue as guest" option. That EasyJet doesn't means they chose this as a strategy. If you don't like it, don't book with them, I guess. Apr 3 '14 at 18:35
  • 2
    @Flimzy from Wikipedia: "Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain". If you gain nothing from the lie, there's no way they could prosecute you in court.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 3 '14 at 20:21
  • 2
    @Flimzy: the cases in your link are about a person who bullied a teenager into killing herself. That's a much bigger "gain" than an online account. Such an absurd law would also mean that it's illegal to lie to Starbucks baristas about your name. After all, you "gain" a cup of coffee after telling them which name to write on the cup.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 3 '14 at 20:52
  • 4
    Whether this is legal or not depends on the locale where the business entity you're dealing with is located and the locale where you're located. Furthermore this isn't really a travel-related question since the same question would apply to any other online vendor. Apr 3 '14 at 21:22
  • 2
    @Flimzy: even the strictest legal definition of identity fraud would require some sort of provable malice/mens rea. Failing to reveal your address for the sake of privacy is a victimless crime and thus impossible to prosecute. It's also impossible to argue identity theft, since you aren't trying to impersonate a different person.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 3 '14 at 22:41

The legality of asking for personal information when setting up an online account varies greatly by location, and is not the least bit related to travel.

In the US, for instance, it is legal to ask such information--provided the person answering the questions is at least 13 years of age, or has parental consent.

In Canada, my understanding is, it is illegal to require personal information that is not necessary for performing the service requested.

Other localities will of course have different rules.

And the rules as they relate to access over the Internet get even more confusing... And still not the least bit on-topic for this site.

  • 2
    Canada's act priv.gc.ca/information/guide_e.asp is pretty generous about "necessary" - identifying the customer, establishing creditworthiness, and tracking interactions to provide better customer service are all given as examples of good reasons to ask for this info. The bar is not "I couldn't serve you without the info", not at all Apr 3 '14 at 22:15
  • 1
    Isn't there some contradiction between (rather condescendingly) arguing it's all off-topic and yet offering an answer?
    – Relaxed
    Apr 4 '14 at 5:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.