Uh-oh: passenger says United.com doesn’t like hyphenated names

United Airlines’ Web site may have hit a glitch over the weekend, and if you have hyphenated last name, it could affect you. Reader Char James-Tanny reports trying to buy a ticket through United.com, but having the reservation stall when she tried to pay. A company representative told her the problem was on the back end of the reservations system, and was being fixed.

“I went through the ‘find a flight’ process and selected the flights I wanted,” she explains. “But when I got to the payment screen, I got a message that my information couldn’t be processed.”

The information had been auto-filled, since she’s a frequent flier. “I couldn’t get the message that I would be paying for my ticket until I removed the hyphen from my last name, but then it couldn’t process the payment because the last name on the form didn’t match the last name on my credit card,” she explained.

Fortunately, a call to United eventually cleared everything up.

United has made a change to their site “innards” and the problem was with my last name. I maxed out the number of times I could try to process payment, and then called United. They were very nice and very apologetic about my problems and processed my payment immediately. So the good news is that I have my tickets!

I’ve contacted United to see if this problem has been fixed. In the meantime, all you hyphenates out there, watch those dashes when you book on United.com.

Update (11/27): United’s response to this problem is to advise passengers to not use a hyphen in their last name.

Update (12/19): I’ve had a subsequent conversation with a United about this issue. It turns out this is a problem with the GDS (reservations system) used by United, not United.com. I’m told the GDS has a problem with hyphens, and that this is not a new issue, as James-Tanny claims.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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