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Hefty charges for air ticket errors

27/06/13

By Daniel Machin

Air passengers who want to change a name on a flight ticket - or even just correct minor spelling mistakes - could end up paying more than £100 to do so.

A new report from Which? Travel shows that some airlines continue to charge hefty fees for name changes, no matter if it is just the odd letter than needs amending.

The consumer group acted after it received "recurrent" complaints from members who had been charged for such alterations, with some people even having to buy another ticket in the more extreme cases.

It found that asking an airline to change the name on a ticket could cost more than £100, as they reserve the right to impose such a charge in their terms and conditions.

One Which? member, Frederick Hubbard, was charged an administration fee of £45 and £540 for a new, refundable, return ticket when flying to Detroit.

He had missed an 'e' out of his name when booking on Lastminute.com, although he received his money back within a week after complaining to the agency.

Some, on the other hand, are not so lucky, as refunds can take up to 16 weeks to go through.

But not all airlines charge for name changes, with many correcting minor errors free of charge providing customers have contacted them in advance of flying.

British Airways does not charge for spelling mistakes, although it will ask customers to pay any increase in taxes, fees and charges since the original booking.

EasyJet, on the other hand, was found to have charged £35 for an online name change, while Virgin Atlantic charged £30 to correct a spelling error.

Some of the more expensive charges came from Monarch, who made customers pay £100 for online name changes or £120 via the call centre.

Ryanair, meanwhile, charged £110 for a name change online or £160 via the call centre or at the airport.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd warned people to be aware of conditions when booking flights through a tour operator or travel agent as they may vary.

To avoid making mistakes and the hefty charges that come with it, he advises travellers to double check bookings to ensure that all their details are correct.


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