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I booked a holiday for two with a budget travel agency. They needed the names and passport details of the people going. I gave them my girlfriend's name, but she was in the process of getting a new passport.

She still hasn't managed to get one, but her old passport with her old name is still valid. So we asked them to change the booking to be under her old name. They said they couldn't possibly do that for less than £50, and I told them not to bother. We gave up on the holiday. (We didn't say to cancel, because we couldn't get any money back, and the option of me going alone was still available.)

Now we've received boarding passes in her old name, which her passport is under. So it seems that they must have provided the airline with her old name and her passport number, and we're good to go, despite what they said.

But the boarding pass doesn't have a passport number on it, and when I go to the airline's check-in page (ryanair), I can't find the passport number associated with the boarding pass (mine or hers). (I can find the boarding pass itself.)

So I just want to check: if we've been given a boarding pass, does that mean the airline has all the details they need? Or might something go wrong?

  • Did you get actual boarding passes, or just a copy of the ticket? Normally with Ryanair, you would print your own boarding passes after doing online checkin. – Zach Lipton Dec 10 '16 at 0:21
  • Actual boarding passes. The agency must have done online checkin for us; they emailed us the boarding passes, plus provided the details necessary for us to look at the checkin page ourselves. – philh Dec 10 '16 at 0:27
  • Oh yeah, Ryanair does let you checkin online like a month in advance. – Zach Lipton Dec 10 '16 at 0:31
  • In general no, for most airlines, a boarding pass is independent of passport numbers or other details, although boarding may be denied until the documents are validated by an airline agent. In many countries no ID is required at all for domestic flights and there would be no passport or document number to store. But Ryanair has its own system. – Calchas Dec 13 '16 at 13:59
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If you are given the boarding pass, the airline has all the details they need to issue you the boarding pass. However they might not necessary have all the details they need to let you board the plane. In this case, when boarding, you typically are pulled aside, and missing details would be entered into the system. Some airlines (WizzAir in my case) also ask everyone who did web check-in to line up in a different queue where they do this check.

If in doubt, you can go to the airline check-in counter with your boarding pass, and ask if they need anything else from you. RyanAir explicitly asks non-EU passengers on some flights to do so.

  • Thanks. What details are needed to issue the boarding pass versus to let us board the plane? – philh Dec 10 '16 at 1:07
  • From my experience, mostly the passport data (number/expiration). Sometime they don't ask it at all during online checkin. Sometime they ask it, but it doesn't get through (so they have to type it again). – George Y. Dec 10 '16 at 1:13
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    You don't need passport numbers for intra-EU flights. – JonathanReez Dec 10 '16 at 13:37
  • Every time I fly NL to UK I am asked to provide my passport (or ID card) details and the airlines state that I will not be allowed to fly onless I provide it. I am not sure about intra Schengen flights but I know airlines often insist on seeing your passport before they let you board. – Willeke Dec 10 '16 at 17:40
  • There are two things here. They need to see your ID card to make sure you're the person who is issued a boarding pass (if they didn't, you would be able to fly on someone else's ticket without paying the extortion "name change fees"). However some countries also require the passport number/exp data (for all or only non-EU passengers) to be recorded, in which case the airline might also verify that the data is indeed entered, and whether it matches. – George Y. Dec 10 '16 at 21:41
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We had no problems. We checked with a customer service agent at Stansted - we didn't give the full details, but asked something like "will the ticket definitely have the same name as the bording pass?" and he said that the boarding pass was the ticket and we were fine. And then we got through with no problems or anyone asking questions or looking at us funny or anything.

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