Despite security headaches and rising fuel costs, air travel is still a popular way to get to your destination. But because of heightened security, a simple error on your ticket can result in extra fees or even leave you grounded. To help you avoid some common ticket-buying pitfalls, CNN Travel has complied 5 common ticketing errors and how tells us how to avoid them. Check them out, inside...
As far as mistakes go, the one Janet Gordon recently made didn't seem like a big deal. She booked an airline ticket from Toronto to London under the name "Jan." "It was a major hassle," remembers Gordon, a human resources director for a college in Swansea, England. At almost every turn, the couple had to explain why the name on Jan's ticket didn't match her passport. "The computers wouldn't allow us to check in and issue a boarding card," he says.
1. Wrong name on the ticket.
Before 9/11, a nickname or maiden name on your ticket would usually slide. Nowadays, it can leave you grounded unless pay a correction fee which can be up to $100. To avoid this error, make sure your browser doesn't auto-complete forms with incorrect or outdated information. Double check to make sure the name on your ticket matches exactly with your ID.
2. Booking the ticket on the wrong airline.
Believe it or not this happens, sometimes through the fault of the traveler or sometimes the travel agent. People also get confused about "codeshare" flights which is buying a ticket for one airline and then flying on a partner airline. To avoid this error, research your ticket and look for any codeshare designations. Also, try to use only experienced travel agents.
3. Selecting the wrong city on your ticket
People often select the wrong city pairs or sometimes they'll book a ticket for city B to city A when they really wanted city A to city B. How can this happen? People can get mixed up with the 3 letter airport identifiers. Also, every airline's web site is slightly different which can often lead to confusion. How to avoid it? You can use a qualified travel agent instead of doing it yourself. Read your travel agent's confirmation immediately so that you can quickly address any errors.
4. Buying a ticket that's too restrictive
Don't buy a non-refundable ticket if you think you may need to change your travel plans. This can happen because airline web sites usually assume you want the cheapest ticket possible, so the first tickets listed are usually the cheapest and the most restrictive. Typically, the more expensive tickets with refund options are hidden deeper in the site. How to avoid this? If you can't find a ticket with refund options, the right travel insurance might protect you if you need to change your plans.
5. Wrong date on your ticket
Whether you are distracted or just confused about which is the 6th month of year, many travelers have purchased tickets for the wrong date which often results in an added fee for a correction. How to avoid it? Pay careful attention to dates on the screen and consult with an old-fashioned calendar if all the different months confuse you. Always, carefully recheck all your information before you hit the "book" button.