We’ve had reports from at least 44 different passengers who insist they correctly inputted passenger names, but claim Ryanair’s system inadvertently changed them.
A clear pattern has emerged from the cases we’ve seen:
- Passengers were booking for a second person (or more) with different surnames.
- They claim Ryanair’s booking system automatically changed their companions’ surnames to be the same as the lead passenger’s or account holder’s surname.
- Those who didn’t spot the error within Ryanair’s 24-hour grace period for free name changes have been left facing a £115 charge to change it to the correct name – some have already paid it. If passengers don’t pay the charge they’ll be unable to travel as their passport and ticket names won’t match.
Ryanair insists there is no ‘glitch’ with its booking system and hasn’t given us any further comment despite us contacting it several times to point out there is a consistent pattern. And it’s told us it won’t waive the fee for those affected.
We first revealed that people claimed their surnames were being automatically changed in early December after two passengers got in touch with us and we saw many more similar complaints online. Since publishing the story we’ve received emails from a whopping 42 more users reporting the same issue – and we’ve spotted several more on social media.
Another eight users also got in touch to tell us about similar name-related issues they claimed they’d experienced when booking through Ryanair, such as passengers’ full names being changed to match the lead passenger’s, or passengers’ surnames being changed to their first name.
It doesn’t seem to happen all the time, though – when MoneySavingExpert tried to book a flight to replicate the issue, all passengers’ names were recorded correctly.
See our 20 Ryanair tips for help mastering the airline’s mega-strict rules and charges.
‘Ryanair needs to show it has a heart’
MoneySavingExpert.com deputy editor Guy Anker said: “We don’t know for a fact whether there is a genuine glitch and can only go by the flurry of complaints we’ve seen.
“But given the consistent pattern so many different people report, we think there’s a decent chance they’re all correct, even though we couldn’t replicate the problem. We know from experience that the odd complaint here or there doesn’t always constitute a major problem, but when you see at least 44, it normally means something has gone wrong.
“So we would urge Ryanair – even if it truly believes it’s done nothing wrong – to reconsider issuing the £115 name change charge. After all, sometimes companies make unintended errors or complex technical systems mean it is difficult to spot errors.
“If nothing else, while it’s never been that customer-friendly, we’d expect it to have a heart here given this seems to have affected so many people in the same way – and £115 is a lot of money to expect someone to pay to be able to fly when they insist they got the name right all along.”