An airline passenger in the UK has come up with a clever way to avoid paying a “name change fee” on an airline ticket. The passenger was accidentally booked under the wrong name, but European low-cost airline Ryanair wanted to charge £220 (about $440!) for the name on the ticket to be changed. Instead of just paying the fee, the passenger decided to take matters into his own hands by legally changing his name by deed poll to match the name on the ticket. This creative solution to the problem saved the passenger over $200!

Low-cost airlines are infamous for their ironically high fees and charges, but few more so than Irish airline Ryanair. Ryanair is notorious for charging for everything from checking in at the airport ($90) to printing boarding passes ($30). They even charge a fee of almost $40 just to get the government taxes refunded if you cancel your ticket – which naturally in itself attracts a fee too. A few years ago Ryanair’s CEO even joked about charging customers to use the toilets on board the aircraft, though (thankfully) the plan never eventuated.

The fee in question was a “name change fee” of £110 per flight, and with a return ticket booked this amounted to £220. However if the change was made at the airport or over the phone, the fee would have skyrocketed to £320, or about $615! By comparison, the cost of legally changing his name and getting a new passport was just £103 (around $205). So, it’s not hard to see why Adam Armstrong… ahem, West, took the course of action he did.

Just shows you how ridiculous some of these “administration” fees airlines charge.

You may be wondering if this course of action might make sense – at least from a financial perspective – in Australia. The answer is… it depends. For a name change on a return domestic ticket, Jetstar charges $100-$160, Tiger charges $140, Virgin $160 and Qantas $176 – plus any fare difference at the time of the change. By comparison, the cost of changing one’s name varies by state but costs $174 in NSW, $160 in Queensland and just $98.80 in Victoria.

However, our members wonder about the long term implications of changing a name. The process of changing the name back again after taking the flight could be lengthy and costly. So it seems like quite a sacrifice to make just to save a bit of money on a fee.

He’ll be waiting at least 10 years to change his name back based on passport expiry. A very long 10 years I’ll imagine.

Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]