- 8 years ago
- Wedding: August 2012
Airlines and customs (“border crossing”) are two VERY different “beasts.”
If I have a valid government issued ID that says my name is ACTUALLY UmbrellaMoon, then as long as the picture on that ID looks like me and my airline ticket is pruchased under the name UmbrellaMoon the airline does not care.
There ARE government security officers who will care if I am travelling under a false name, but as long as I don’t cross an international border nobody except the local/national will be checking my documents. They only check my documents at the secutiry checkpoint – and are checking to make sure the name on my gov’t issued ID matches my ticket/boarding pass AND that my ID is valid. If TSA (in the US) somehow realizes that my legal name isn’t UmbrellaMoon I will be detained and questioned. If I can explain that I used to be UmbrellaMoon, I’ve had my name legally changed, and I just forgot/haven’t gotten around to/ran out of time/couldn’t figure out how to change my name on my plane ticket I’ll probably be released without being charged with anything. I may or may not be allowed to fly on my flight – if I haven’t missed it.
If I cross an international border I must present a passport (or equivilent documentation showing my country of citizenship). When that plane lands in a country different than the one the flight originated in, EVERY passenger on board must travel through customs and show their passport. Typically you have to answer a few questions asked by the customs agents (Do you have anything to declare? What’s the purpose of your travel?) While you are talking they are scanning the barcode on your passport with their passport readers and reviewing the information. If the customs official realizes that I’m traveling under an alias I suspect he will not be so kind as the TSA agent that released me in the US example. The explanation “I just didn’t want the hassle of changing my name on my ticket” is less likely to be met with sympathy when there is a percieved potential threat. (Why else would you hide who you are?)
You might eventually convince the customs officer that you’re harmless, but it will be a long chat… have the number to you embassy handy.
Change your name on all your travel documents. Even if you have to pay a name change fee. The airline should be cooperative, explain to the customer service rep that you have had your name legally changed and you are not trying to change the customer traveling on the flight. This might help you get on the same page. And lower any standard fees to a price that you’re more comfortable paying.