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I am a British Citizen living in Australia but want to book a flight now (July 17) for a holiday in England (Nov 17 - Dec 17) but my passport expires in Apr 18. Can I book the flights now? I have applied for a new passport which should arrive in approximately 6 weeks, but the flight I want might not be available then. The flight will go from Perth, Australia to Dubai (2-hour layover) then directly to Newcastle, England.

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It will often be fine if you book now. However some airlines may ask for a passport number while booking the ticket.

The UK government says:

Don’t book travel until you have a valid passport - doing so is at your own risk. Your new passport won’t have the same number as your old one.

This doesn't mean you can't book now, but you need to take some precautions to make sure everything will turn out right.

For example, I booked a ticket with Aeroflot yesterday, and a passport number was required. Even if you book with them through a travel agency, they will send you an email demanding that you give them your date of birth, passport number, etc. Aeroflot may not be the only airline that practices this.

Since you are connecting in Dubai, it seems likely that the itinerary you are considering is with Emirates.

Emirates state on their website:

Emirates Skywards : Change of details

If you need to change your name, birth date or gender, please submit a help form. To change your date of birth, please attach your passport copy.

None of this applies to you, as it will all be identical in your new passport. However, it goes on to say:

You can edit any other information – including your nationality, passport number or passport country of issue – by visiting the Contact details page.

This applies to you if you fly with Emirates. You can keep your passport number updated with them using their website.

If another airline

If you fly with any airline that registers your passport number, that may cause a potential problem if you change passport after booking your ticket. Therefore, I recommend checking this before booking, and contacting the airline if necessary. Even if they do register your passport number, they may have a procedure for people who renewed their passports, or it might not even matter. This, however, is something it is good to know about prior to booking to avoid problems and inconvenience.

  • As I said, some airlines do require it, like Aeroflot, which I experienced when I booked with them yesterday. Therefore, it is recommended to clarify that prior to booking. – Revetahw Jul 14 '17 at 15:40
  • "If you fly with any airline that has your ticket tied to a passport number": You can't tie a passport number to a ticket. There's no field on the ticket (or eticket) for a passport number. Passport details if provided get stored in the PNR, which unlike a ticket can be amended. If the airline wants to grab the passport data now, they can do so, but there's no problem in changing it. Airlines that are not members of IATA like Ryanair may be able to set their own rules. – Calchas Jul 14 '17 at 18:38
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    @Calchas Depends on the airline. For example, Aeroflot requires that the "name and passport ID" match that used when booking. Their website allows you to enter your passport number once, after which it is not possible to change it again on the website. They may have a special procedure for doing so, though, I am not sure. As noted in this answer, the UK government recommends only booking tickets after you have your passport. – Revetahw Jul 14 '17 at 18:44
  • @anomuse, passport details can also be needed at some point between booking and checking in where the destination country requires them. However, the advance notice period is on the order of days rather than weeks. – Peter Taylor Jul 15 '17 at 8:00

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