A Canadian man is making headlines for offering his ex-girlfriend's RTW ticket.

Original reddit post: Are you named Elizabeth Gallagher (and Canadian)? Want a free plane ticket around the world?

The condition is your name has to be 'Elizabeth Gallagher' and Canadian - so that you can take his ex's ticket, since transferring airline tickets to different names is almost impossible.

My question is - aren't there more ID blockers than this? Date of birth, Passport numbers, etc? Thinking about it, passport numbers can be 'updated', but does date of birth not get checked at all? Would the second Elizabeth not be travelling under false pretenses?

  • 3
    Some airlines... British Airways comes to mind... Require you to enter more detailed passenger information like passport number and such. But I do not know if all airlines have the same rule.
    – MikeV
    Nov 4, 2014 at 22:39
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    @MikeV For BA, it's however partly because the UK rules enforce them to know the travel document details in advance anyways, so this way they don't need to bother you 2nd time. For example EasyJet solves this during the (mandatory) online check-in, and only for flights in or out of UK.
    – yo'
    Nov 4, 2014 at 23:00
  • @tohecz The British... always so polite. Not wanting to bother me a second time. :-)
    – MikeV
    Nov 5, 2014 at 15:16

3 Answers 3


It all depends on what was required when the ticket was purchased. Based on experience with US based carriers and a couple of Canadian regional carriers, secondary IDs such as passport number, DOB, etc are never required at the time of purchase, but are only required prior to departure. As such there would be no "incriminating" proof that the Elizabeth flying is not the Elizabeth for which the ticket was booked.

The credit card used to pay for the tickets could be verified by the airline prior to departure (the husband could visit an airline ticket office and show the card and booking number), so that would not be required at check in.

However, as the husband publicly announced the availability of the ticket, there is a good chance airline security personal may have gotten word about it and may add a note to the booking (how many RTW tixs in that name would be in their system) asking check in personal to perform additional checks, perhaps asking questions about where and when it was purchased, card used, etc.

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    I honestly doubt the airline personnel will do anything about that case. First it is not likely to ring any bell for the check-in agent as he/she checks in hundreds of people every day. And I doubt there is someone zealous enough to query the booking system now to add a remark for such checks. And anyway, they have no interest in it. While this is a fraudulent act, the likelihood there is a Canadian Elisabeth W. is so low this workaround is not going to be tracked.
    – Vince
    Nov 5, 2014 at 4:15
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    For starters check in personnel DO read the booking notes so they would see a note from the fraud department. Two the fraud department staff are hired for that exact purpose to watch for and prevent fraud. Three as this is very public, the fraud department already knows.
    – user13044
    Nov 5, 2014 at 5:55
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    @Tom But would they really care for a case like this? I would say it that rare, that they don't bother to block them.
    – Bernhard
    Nov 5, 2014 at 7:45
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    In this case, the media attention probably works both ways. Yes, the airline's fraud department is almost certainly aware of what's going on. But, at the same time, the airline's publicity department will probably think it better to honour the ticket than to have the world's media report that Grumpy Air has ruined the trip. Nov 5, 2014 at 9:19
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    Spend some time in the bigger travel forums and read how many people have been stranded at the check in counter as a result of getting ticket slightly outside the rules.
    – user13044
    Nov 5, 2014 at 11:13

It appears that yes, it would work. Or at least it worked in this particular scenario.

Jordan Axani and Elizabeth Gallagher return from round the world trip

His call was answered and another Elizabeth Gallagher agreed to go on the "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, meeting him for the first time in the departure lounge on December 21.

Now the pair are back, but anyone who was hoping for an ever sweeter ending to the tale will be disappointed – they have insisted that there was no romance.

Elizabeth 'Quinn' Gallagher, 23, had a long-term boyfriend before she left to explore cities such as New York, Paris and Hong Kong with Mr Axani, and apparently they are still together.


Date and place of birth are commonly used for this purpose in other contexts (although even that is not always enough) but it comes down to what the airline in question required.

Very often, nothing else than the name and credit card number are required (and can therefore ultimately be matched with the booking). Even the nationality is not always required. But in some cases, the airline would have more information (it would depend on the airline but possibly also on the destination, in relation with APIS).

Personally, I don't recall ever providing my place of birth or passport number to an airline at booking time but I never used a round-the-world ticket.

No matter how they enforce it, I expect that all airlines have conditions of carriage that say something like “Tickets are not transferable” or “We will only carry you if you are the passenger named on the ticket”, i.e. they refer to a person, not to a name. Consequently, even if you share so many details with the original passenger that it's not possible to distinguish both of you in practice, you would technically be violating this aspect of the contract by using a ticket that was not intended for you in the first place (you, in fact, don't have a contract and never had one with the airline).

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    I don't think your claim that the ticket is "intended" for a specific person with the name given would be legally enforceable. What does it even mean? For example, it's very common for a father and son to have the same name. How could the airline prove that the mother intended for her son to fly, rather than her husband? Also, I'm not sure your argument about contracts is correct. If I buy a ticket for me and you, the airline certainly has a contract with me but I'm not sure it has one with you. Nov 5, 2014 at 9:16
  • @DavidRicherby That may be but this part of my answer is explicitly not about what's enforceable. The way I see it, there is a contract is between a given person and the airline (and that contract is possibly about transporting another person, although I am not too sure about the details here). The distinction seems clear and relevant to me and it should also be enough to answer the “Would the second Elizabeth not be travelling under false pretenses?”, quite apart from what could be proved in practice. Or do you disagree with that?
    – Relaxed
    Nov 5, 2014 at 10:02
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    “We will only carry you if you are the passenger named on the ticket” refers to a name not a person IMO. If you have the correct name you match the criteria. It doesn't say the obviously ludicrous phrase “We will only carry you if you are the passenger named on the ticket and the one the booker was thinking of at the time” Nov 5, 2014 at 12:44
  • @MartinSmith Well, my point is precisely that this phrase would be ludicrous because what they actually promised is obviously not “We will carry you if you have the name printed on the ticket”…
    – Relaxed
    Nov 5, 2014 at 13:18
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    @Floris Where? I doubt anybody can make claims about municipalities everywhere and as a matter of fact I have heard about a case of perfect homonymy like that (admittedly only a second-hand anecdote however). To speak about a specific case I know a little about, I am pretty sure that municipal officers in France don't have any legal power to force you to choose a particular name for your child (there is a procedure to alert the procureur in very specific cases listed by the law but homonymy is not one of them AFAIK).
    – Relaxed
    Nov 5, 2014 at 16:00

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