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I have booked flight tickets for a large group of people. Unbeknownst to me, one of the passengers has two family names, and the one I used, is actually abbreviated in the passport (I know, weird). In example:

"Oliver Doe" on the ticket
"Oliver D. Smith" in the passport

I've told him that this is not a problem, but he is not easilly conviced. Personally I never use my full name, and I also change the spelling of my name to better suit ancient ticket systems that does not accept weird characters. I'm up to roughly 200 flights without issues. ;)

The passenger has a driving license with his full name, and the flight is within Schengen – return trip Denmark to Hungary on a Danish passport.

The biggest problem, is that we are flying RyanAir, who do not accept driving license as ID. Changing the name on the ticket costs €110, meaning we're probably better off buying a new ticket. Not even sure if the name change fee includes the return trip.

Will he get away with the abbreviation, if he has a driving license to "back it up"? Of course both his passport and driving license has photo, so it would be hard to argue that it's a different person – but I've heard RyanAir may be unreasonably strict.

  • Your question is inconsistent. Is the problem that the middle name is abbreviated in the passport (quoted from the text) or is the problem that the last name is missing on the ticket (as according to the example)? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 18 '14 at 10:40
  • The passenger has two family names – Doe Smith. I have used only "Doe" as the last name on the ticket, but it happens to be abbreviated in the passport. The "D." may even be in a different field e.g. "Given names: Oliver D." or as a middle initial – I am unsure how exactly it is written, only that it is not written in full. – Nix Nov 18 '14 at 10:47
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    Doesn't help your situation now but in the future Ryanair offer group booking without having to know the names of who will be flying. These details can be completed after booking to avoid any mistakes. – davidb Nov 18 '14 at 14:14
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The most relevant documentation regarding this situation is the following vague statement in Ryanair's terms and conditions:

6.6 You must produce valid travel documentation matching the details on your Boarding Pass for all flights ...

So the question is what Ryanair considers "valid travel documentation" and if the name in the travel document matches the name on the boarding pass.

Depending on the route and the passenger's citizenship, Ryanair accepts different kinds of travel documents. You can find the complete list here. Important for this question is that a Danish driving licence is not a valid travel document. The only travel document accepted by Ryanair for Danish citizens is a passport.

Then the next question is if the name "Oliver Doe" matches the other name "Oliver D. Smith". You seem to argue that there is just a minor difference in the abbreviation of a surname, but in addition to that, the second surname is completely missing. Out of three names in the passport, just one of them is correct in the ticket reservation.

Since there is such a significant difference in the names on the passport and on the ticket, I would even doubt that other air lines would let you board in this situation, unless they don't do any id checks on their passengers at all or out of goodwill might have had accepted the Danish driving licence as id.

Knowing Ryanair's policies of fleecing their cargo where ever possible, I would absolutely not expect such a deviation in the name go unnoticed or be accepted at check in. The Ryanair name change fee is 110€ per booking (e.g. for both flights). A name change is possible up to four hours prior to departure.

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    "Knowing RyanAir's policies of fleecing their cargo where ever possible" true, and this is why I would be worried. They offer low low low prices, and then stick to their guns to demand fees for everything. I would be very surprised if they allowed boarding in this case, without purchasing a new ticket (then being <4hrs.) – CGCampbell Nov 18 '14 at 14:26
  • I contacted them, and they said he would not need to change it for a minor administration fee of €10. He will need to present his birth certificate and have it sorted before going to the airport. How he will present the birth certificate before going to the airport, I do not know. – Nix Nov 18 '14 at 14:36

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