Do I have to pay £330 for new airline ticket to change name?

My passport says I’m Thomas, but I booked the flight as Tom; surely the airline should not make me buy a whole new ticket

I booked flights to Chile via Brazil and used the name Tom, whereas my passport bears the name Thomas. This was not a problem on the flight out to Rio, but when I checked in for the Rio to Santiago leg I was told that since the names didn’t match I would have to buy a new ticket at an extra cost of £330. I work in fraud detection and would never make an issue over such a discrepancy. TF, London

Airlines have, for obvious reasons, become increasingly neurotic about security. They are free to set their own policy about how precisely names on tickets and passports match up, according to the International Air Travel Association, which is why one waved you through and the other didn’t.

“We therefore recommend that the name on the ticket should match the name on the passport to minimise the likelihood of being denied boarding,” says a spokesman. Under US rules, however, tickets have to bear the exact name, including any middle names, as it appears on your passport. Nicknames are all very well at home, but it’s best to leave them behind and travel formally when taking to the skies.

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