Putting The Wrong Name On An Airline Ticket Is An $800 Mistake?

Here’s an odd problem. Reader Austin bought some airline tickets for a business trip and wasn’t sure who was going to go, so he booked an extra ticket with his name on it — thinking that the name could be changed later. Whoops.

Austin says:

I have been a loyal customer of JetBlue for years now. Recently when booking flights to for a business trip we didn’t know who the 4th person would be so we booked an extra ticket with my name on it. Now we know who is going and we contacted JetBlue to change the name on the ticket. I assumed there would likely be a fee and am not opposed to paying 50 to 100 dollars to change the name on the ticket. But JetBlue is telling us that the name cannot be changed (the flight isn’t for 4 weeks from now) and that we would need to cancel the ticket and book a new one. This would cost us 800 dollars. It appears it would actually be easier to just have the 4th person legally change their name so they can fly on the ticket.

As a reader I am curious what are my best options for getting this resolved? How should I best approach JetBlue about this matter.

From what we can tell, the JetBlue policy is pretty clear. According to their website, name changes are not permitted. The only thing you can do is pay a $100 cancellation fee and the remaining amount will be placed into a JetBlue credit good for one year.

We did a little digging and it seems like you’ve run across an issue that airlines rarely bend on. Here’s an article from Christopher Elliott about a woman who was having trouble flying because she’d gotten married, but didn’t have time to update her passport.

Apparently, exceptions are made on some airlines, but you probably have to have a pretty good sob story.

Any seasoned travelers out there want to give Austin some advice?