It’s cheaper to change your name by deed poll than it is to stump up the cash that some airlines charge to change your name on an airline ticket, with charges varying wildly between operators.
Research by airport parking comparison site Airport Parking Shop found vast differences in the fees the 27 most popular international airlines charge to change your name on a ticket and their rationales for doing so.
While some airlines will do it for free, those that charge have fees ranging from £25 to £160 per flight, meaning making changes to return flight tickets could set you back as much £320.
With the cost to legally change your name by deed poll coming in at between £9.50 and £15.99, if you’re not that fussed about your actual name or the spelling of it, then this is a cheaper option than paying some of the airlines’ fees.
When the £75.50 fee to renew your passport is added on, this takes the total to £85, which means you would be quids-in versus the fees you would have to pay to easyJet, Finnair, Flybe, Norwegian, Vueling, and Ryanair.
Several airlines sit on the cusp of charging more than the £85 to change your name and passport, depending on the exchange rate at the time and flight cost — these include Air Baltic, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Jet2, and WhizzAir.
The study found that the name correction fee is often subject to a different number of criteria. Factors include ticket type, when and how the ticket was booked, how the correction is made, and if there is a requirement to pay any difference in fare or taxes.
Some airlines state that changing married names could be done for free, whereas others stated that corrections simply weren’t allowed and that the traveller would need to cancel and rebook their ticket.
The average cost to correct a name on a ticket is £27.83 each way.
However Ryanair charges a massive £320 for a return flight, from just three days after a booking has been made. It is the most expensive airline for set ticket name change fees, but Ryanair’s website states that it is free to correct just one letter.
However, when Airport Parking Shop tried to change the name Steve to Steven online, the company still wanted to charge the £160 per flight. In January 2020, you can fly with Ryanair from London Stansted to Marrakesh and back again for less.
The airline with the cheapest name correction fee was TUI at £25.
Alice Fowler at Airport Parking Shop said: “We would advise that before booking travellers check the airline’s correction policies, as although some airlines make it very easy to change the name on a ticket, with the likes of TUI charging as little as £25 and easyJet £50, others, such as Ryanair, Flybe and Vueling, don’t and charge a significant fee, which in some cases can be more than the cost of the flight.
She added: “Some of these fees are overly steep and it appears that the airlines are benefiting from their customers’ misfortunes if they can no longer travel and want to pass the ticket on to someone else.
“Virgin, Flybe, Norwegian and Vueling do not, under any circumstances allow customers to change the name on a ticket, and the initial booking has to be cancelled and booked again. However savvy customers can avoid these eye-watering fees by simply changing their name by deed poll.”