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No middle name on ticket keeps Mississauga woman off flight

Amanda Ferguson | posted Tuesday, Apr 10th, 2018

A Mississauga woman learned the hard way that a middle name isn’t something to forget when flying after WOW Airlines denied her boarding because the name on her ticket didn’t match the one on her passport.

Ashley Collins said she arrived at Pearson International Aiport Sunday with a friend to fly to Iceland via WOW airlines with tickets purchased in January. She says she was able to check-in, get her luggage tags, but it wasn’t until she went up the counter, she was told she wasn’t able to fly.

“Once we got to the front, the lady said to her supervisor, ‘It’s another one.’” Collins said. “She handed me my passport and said I was missing the middle name on the ticket so I was denied boarding the flight.”

Collins said she was told 11 others were denied boarding on the flight the previous day for the same reason. She was then given a customer service number to call. A WOW airlines agent informed her there was little she could do because they cannot change a name on a ticket less than four hours prior to a flight.

“We were really looking forward to this trip,” she said. “We had no options at that point.”

Collins ended up paying for a new flight the next day out of Pearson, at a price more than what she paid for round-trip flights to Iceland.

WOW airlines did not return CityNews’ requests for comment.

Gabor Forgacs, from Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism management says the issue of identification can be a common and costly problem for airlines.

In 2016, 60,000 passengers were not admitted into a country of arrival. Airlines are then fined up to $4,000 per passenger, and forced to cover the costs of returning the passenger to their country of origin.

“Airlines learnt to be very careful because they can be in a lot of trouble for not complying with the regulations that require the names of the passenger to match the names of the travel documentation,” Forgacs said.

However, he did point out that not all airlines require middle names, although it is more frequently asked for on international flights.

A spokesperson for WestJet told CityNews it’s reservation system does not require middle names when booking and therefore, it is not required for travel.

Collins said WOW Airlines also charged her $23 for changing her name on her return ticket.

“I just advise everyone to make sure you put your middle name (on your ticket) whether the airlines require it or not because you don’t want to run into a situation like I did,” she said.

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