Tag Archives: passports

Do you really know your name?

Honestly? No tricks here – do you really know your name? I have to ask because as you probably know getting your name right on an airline ticket is pretty important. So important that if it is not correct then you might not get on the flight.

Airlines require that your air ticket matches your name as per your passport or if you are travelling within Canada it should at least match your Government issued ID which for most people is a drivers licence.

And this is where the whole thing starts to get ugly because there are so many definitions of what you should or should not have on your airline ticket. First of all let’s talk about hyphens. Many people have a double-barrelled surname like Andrew Lloyd Webber or Helena Bonham Carter. However airline tickets don’t recognise the hyphen so the name gets all stuck together and comes out as ANDREW LLOYDWEBBER. Sometimes this will alarm the novice traveller but what can you do? The airlines make the rules and if you split up the names on a ticket reservation then it ends up looking like Lloyd is his middle name – which is wrong.

But wait a minute I hear you yell….. there are no hyphens there. Yes that is true. Some people with multiple surnames choose not to display the hyphen so it really gets confusing …. as per Wiki

” Many double-barrelled names are written without a hyphen, which can cause confusion as to whether the surname is double-barrelled or not. Notable persons with unhyphenated double-barrelled names include prime minister David Lloyd George, the composers Ralph Vaughan Williams and Andrew Lloyd Webber, historian Basil Liddell Hart, astronomer Robert Hanbury Brown, actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Helena Bonham Carter (although she has said the hyphen is optional),[2] comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (however, his cousin, the clinical psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, opted for the hyphen) and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. “

Did you know that some people even have triple barrelled names! Oh my goodness. Wikipedia tells us that these people often revert to just a double barrelled name for convenience – no kidding –  

“For example, actress Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe goes by Isabella Calthorpe and her half-sister Gabriella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe is known by her stage name Gabriella Wilde. “

And I am not even going to talk about the people with more than that. All we want to do is make sure that we don’t get denied boarding on a flight because our name on our passport does not match the name on the airline ticket.

Now airlines have to do their due diligence but they are somewhat flexible if there is a typo say of one letter or maybe two – but one never likes to leave things to chance because you really don’t know who you might get at the check in desk. Best to follow the rules all the way.

I have seen some strange passports – a couple a few years back each had 2 initials at the beginning of their names in their passports and then a middle name which they used and their last name. So if a person’s name was John James Richard Smith it would be shown as J. J. Richard Smth on the passport. I really don’t understand how that happens as you have to produce your birth certificate at the passport office so why???? No wonder the check in agents can get antsy about names and passports.

Maybe it all goes back to the parents when they name a child. Does this child really need as many names as British royalty? First middle and last should be sufficient. Just thinking ahead to when that small baby turns into a long haired backpacker heading off to Thailand you just don’t want him having any trouble along the way.

As Juliet put it so succintly (or Shakespear should I say) –

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Your passport could be wrong

Yes it could.  I must say that I honestly don’t understand how a passport can have a completely different name from what appears on your birth certificate.  Now before you jump down my throat … I am not talking about last names.  Yes, people get married and change their last name or even combine their maiden name with their spouse’s last name.  What amazes me are the number of people who don’t get the first part right on their passport.

Example – if you were born John Henry Smith and you apply for a  passport you can apply for a passport issued in the name of J. Henry Smith and then support your identity with your driver’s licence.  See extract from the application form –

passport application

So this means you can use your driver’s licence to support your identity – not your birth certificate.

I can’t tell you how many headaches this gives us travel agents.  Some airlines are really difficult to work with when it comes to name changes.  Some even insist that a completely new ticket is issued with the according penalties and cancellation charges.  Woe is you J. Henry Smith.

Then there is the problem of trying to get a passport after you have changed your name legally – yes really – read this story –

Laura Skywalker Matthews added the Jedi name “for a laugh” after joking with her friends about her love of the character from George Lucas’ seminal films.

But the stunt backfired when it took eight weeks for passport officials to refuse her application meaning she missed a summer holiday to Amsterdam.

The 29-year-old was told her signature of L Skywalker infringed a copyright despite it being accepted previously for her driving licence.

Miss Matthews said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“They told me the issue was with my signature because L Skywalker is trademark.

“I have the same signature on my driving licence, bank cards and everything else.

“How can everybody else be happy with that signature, apart from the passport office?



Name calling and funny faces

Do you know your name?  No seriously – do you really know your name as reflected on your passport – right now – without looking it up?   Do you think the name on your driver’s licence will be the same as on your passport or your birth certificate?  The travel business is fraught with rules and regulations as to exactly how your name should appear on an airline ticket and what sort of identification you should use –  and there are some wonderful ones out there….like this…

batman id card




How cool is that – Bin means “son of” so this guy is actually Batman son of Suparman.

Of course however funny your name is don’t think about smiling on your passport photo.  No smiling allowed…. no hair in your face…no glasses.  Wow by the time you have finished all that you probably won’t look anything like the real you.  Take a look at some of these passport photos…




I don’t know how this one got through




One of my favourites….



So next time you go for your passport photo just think about going through immigration.  Yeah – that is not the time to be a smart ass – so get the hair out of your eyes, stop grinning and say cheese under your breath.