I've recently booked some flights using my 'nickname' instead of my full birth name that appears on my passport (Rob verse Robert). I've since contacted two airlines (RyanAir and Aer Lingus) and both told me I needed to correct the booking mistake. The Aer Lingus rep mentioned that the specific destination was particularly strict and that I would need to sort this out. Both airlines were happy to fix this for me, free of charge, but I'm left wondering 'Why does it matter?'
I was told 'security'. But I don't understand how this increases security. I've also been told airlines do it simply to find another reason to tack on a 'name change fee' but, in my experience, airlines make it quick, easy and free to update the name.
So, is there any real reason for this? I can't imagine any scenario where it serves any purpose.