An Aeroméxico website mystery

By | March 30th, 2017

Adelyn Hernandez booked tickets for her sister-in-law and her nephew on Aeroméxico’s website. Her sister-in-law was concerned because her legal name on her passport shows a middle name. The problem? Hernandez says there was no field to add a middle name, and now Aeroméxico wants an additional $300 to correct the tickets. Can we help?

Question: I recently purchased two tickets on Aeroméxico for my sister-in-law and her son to come visit. They were concerned because the name on the reservation does not contain their middle name as in their passport. I explained to them that when I made the reservation, there is no place for the middle name. I called Aeroméxico and explained that, but they offered me two choices: I can cancel the ticket and pay a penalty and ticket re-issue fee or pay US$150 per ticket to have the middle name added.

I contacted Aeroméxico twice regarding this problem. Both times, I was told that it all depends on the agent checking them in on the date of departure whether they would be allowed to board the plane. I think it is preposterous that Aeroméxico is demanding $150 per passenger to add a middle name — their website was not equipped to add a middle name! All I am asking is a simple resolution to add their middle name or note that it is OK for them to board as is. — Adelyn Hernandez, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

Answer: What a mess! You are correct, if there is no field on the Aeroméxico website to enter a middle name then the airline should add it free of charge.

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Your sister-in-law has a valid concern. We have received many cases recently in which would-be travelers have been turned away at the airport because of incorrect names or insufficient documents.


But there was a mystery with your particular situation.

When I went to the Aeroméxico website, I found that there was indeed a field to enter the middle name of the traveler.

You provided me with a screenshot of the website that you used to book your tickets. I noted that the address field on your screenshot was different from the address field on my screen.

So I went to the HTML address from your screenshot and I discovered that this website was missing the field for the middle name.

But was it an actual Aeroméxico site? Or was it an online travel agency giving an appearance of Aeroméxico?

It turns out that you had booked your tickets through the classic version of Aeroméxico’s website. The version that you accessed does not allow for a middle name.

I contacted the airline on your behalf and they repeated that they do have a field for the middle name of the traveler on their site. They sent me a screenshot of their updated website which does have a middle name field. Again, they suggested that you pay $150 per ticket to add the middle names.

This was not a fair resolution, so we went to another contact at Aeroméxico and received the same response.

We weren’t ready to give up just yet. So, we tried one more Aeroméxico contact. I sent a copy of the screenshot from the website that you used, which clearly showed an absence of a middle name field.

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And in your case, the third time was the charm.

This executive finally saw it our way and agreed to change your tickets with no fee.

This case highlights that even consumer advocates get a “no” sometimes and persistence is important when you know the facts are on your side. We are happy that Aeroméxico corrected your tickets for you, and we hope that you have a wonderful visit with your family.



  • sirwired

    I’m in IT, and this is the classic Tech Support answer of: “We don’t have a problem, but we are fixing it now!”

  • AJPeabody

    What would have happened if the first name slot had been filled out with both the first and middle names with a space between?

  • Bill___A

    Good job getting it fixed. However, it is bad of the airline to behave like this. Fixing a legitimate issue or an obvious mistake is not aname change.

  • Mel65

    Kudus to the Elliotteers for persistence and getting this fixed for them!

  • Alan Gore

    I just checked, and I found a weasel! There is a middle name field, but it’s labeled Optional:
    https://www.aeromexico.com/en-us/book/travelers?cart=6d9da277-2a1c-40bd-bc65-0516219e51bd&itinerary=PHX_CUN_2017-04-07.CUN_PHX_2017-04-14&travelers=A1_C0_I0_PH0_PC0

    If an airline says that something is optional, it’s another lie.

  • PsyGuy

    Chis, you didn’t get a no, you got a yes, you just had to ask more than once.

  • PsyGuy

    I would just ahve showed up at the airport with the tickets as is.

  • PsyGuy

    Well they already fixed it, they have a new updated site.

  • Dutchess

    Me thinks you didn’t read the entire story.

    But there was a mystery with your particular situation.

    When I went to the Aeroméxico website, I found that there was indeed a field to enter the middle name of the traveler.

    You provided me with a screenshot of the website that you used to book your tickets. I noted that the address field on your screenshot was different from the address field on my screen.

  • Rinacres

    Having the middle name field be optional is not a lie. The middle name field should be optional as there are more and more people these days who DON’T have a middle name. What should they put in that field if it is required?

  • Alan Gore

    I just googled AeroMexico and that was the first result for the official site just now, then took a hypothetical booking through to where the passenger name page comes up.

    You didn’t fall for the CheapoAir page that ranked above it, right? What I posted is what you see on the official site. So yours came up with no middle name at all?

  • LeeAnneClark

    Exactly. I do not have a middle name. My passport does not show a middle name. My first name is LeeAnne – one word, but with a capitalized A. If a middle name field was required, I would be stuck – I can’t split the name up because on my passport it’s one word. But I literally do not have anything I can put in the middle name field!

    I got caught in the name mess once…I booked a ticket over the phone, and they split it up to two names (Lee as the first name, Anne as the middle name). The moment I noticed it I called to get it fixed, but sure enough they wanted to charge me. I took the chance and went to the airport without changing it, and I’m lucky that the check-in agent didn’t seem to care. But I am VERY careful now to make sure my name is always correct on my ticket.

    This whole name thing is such a scam…obviously it costs the airlines nothing to fix it, but they use errors (often times their own errors) as a profit center.

  • Alan Gore

    This was discussed in another thread a few days ago. Middle names used to be optional, and some airline sites didn’t have a field for it at all. Now you have to have your middle name on the ticket if it appears in your passport. I suppose that if you don’t have a middle name you have to put (None) in the field.

  • DCMarketeer

    That’s how my husband and I book travel all the time. I use my my middle name daily (think Mary Jo or Betty Lou). He uses his middle name exclusively; he was named after his father and has always been called by his middle name to avoid confusion in the family. We’ve never had a problem with an airline accepting our names, and we’ve never had a problem with customs. Our passports have our full names.

  • Susie

    Maybe I’m dense here, but why does it cost so much to correct an error on a boarding pass/ticket? Seems to me you input it into the computer and just either print out or email a new one. The labor involved is so minimal….unless it involves more than I realize?

  • Lindabator

    a lot of back office concerns, fraud not being the least of them

  • Lindabator

    they service MEXICO – so those Mexican citizens travelling domestically are not required to list a middle name – not EVERYthing is about you (the cluent), but can apply to the entire range of customers

  • Lindabator

    not so – because of the rampant fraud they dealt with in the past, this was initiated to avoid same day airport situations, especially after 9/11

  • Alan Gore

    Technically, this kind of change is trivial, a SQL Update command. The only office work required would be verifying the identity of the person requesting the change.

    The accountant, on the other hand, would see name fixes as another opportunity to stick it to us with fees.

  • David___1

    “persistence is important when you know the facts are on your side”… Don’t forget the other reminder that usually goes with this. Being polite matters…

  • LeeAnneClark

    Then explain why airlines charge to fix name errors that they make themselves.

    Also, your explanation that this was done to avoid same-day airport name changes doesn’t seem to hold up…they will fix the name at the airport too, for a price. So it’s all about money, not about avoiding terrorism. I actually can’t even see how charging to fix a name error would have any impact at all on terrorism. A determined terrorist would just pay to change the name, right?

    I’m curious though – what exactly do you mean by avoiding same day airport situations? And how is that related to 9/11? And what rampant fraud are you referring to that is resolved by charging passengers to fix typos they didn’t make?

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    I’m on LeeAnne’s side here. There is no way this can be related to terrorism, because a terrorist wouldn’t care. While I can see fraud concerns because tickets are not transferable, so a name change from Jane Public to Josie Public might really be a transfer, not a name correction, most of these cases are Jan or Jaane or whatever to Jane, and do not really implicate transferability. (Though since SouthWest can manage even the transferability, by refunding the ticket, I don’t see why other airlines have a problem).

  • LeeAnneClark

    Exactly. I have never had a problem with charging for an actual name change, where it’s clearly a *different person*. But when you are talking one letter, a wrong middle initial, an obvious typo or cut-off letters at the end of a long name, there is ZERO valid reason to refuse to fix that. Especially since these days when we book our tickets, we have to enter so much information about the passenger that it would be very simple for an airline to see that the person requesting the name fix is, in fact, the person the ticket was booked for.

    In many cases they could simply look at the loyalty program number entered at the time of booking. If John James Jones is the name on the FF number entered when the ticket was purchased, but the ticket has the name of James John Jones, then DOH! Obviously it’s the same person, and somebody reversed the first & middle names.

    Furthermore, so many of these errors were made by the airline themselves, or by the travel agent. There is simply no reasonable justification for charging a passenger hundreds of dollars to fix an error they did not make.

    As for why the other airlines besides Southwest won’t do it – easy: because they’ve turned it into a profit center. I would love to hear how much money they make per year off fixing their own damn typos.

  • Dutchess

    No, Chris describes exactly what happened in the article. The LW was accessing an old version of the web page that didn’t have the middle name as an option at all.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Yeah, well, I can imagine what would happen if I typed “None” in the middle name field. My name would come out LeeAnne None Clark on the ticket! Try boarding with THAT mess going on. And of course I’d be told I had to pay hundreds of dollars to fix it.

    Fortunately I’ve never been faced with a required middle name field. If I was, I’d be in trouble…because I don’t have one.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Oh poppycock. It’s extremely easy for an airline to validate that it’s the same person, just a typo. Obviously if it’s an entirely different first or last name, that would raise concerns of fraud – but how many stories have we read on this site about these name changes that are clearly typos? And most of them weren’t even made by the passenger themselves.

    No, it’s quite apparent that Alan Gore is 100% right: the bean counters are smelling a new way to stick us with fees.

    There is simply no valid justification for charging a passenger for fixing an obvious name error that they didn’t even make. It’s a money grab, plain and simple.

  • Rebecca

    My mom HATES her middle name. As in – it’s a huge joke among her friends, some of whom have known her almost as long as I’ve been alive (I’m 35), and they don’t know it. I know it – but I also know better than to tell her friends. And Yes, they’ve asked. She purposely avoids using it. I know for a fact it isn’t on her drivers license or passport. Mine is.

  • Rebecca

    From a customer service perspective, there isn’t a way for a computer to distinguish between an obvious error and a totally different person. So I’m sure that almost no one in front line customer service has the physical ability to change it. In a call center of 200 people, there’s 1 or 2 people at any given time (and zero overseas) that could access this. Generally, the agents work off a GUI and someone has access to the old, usually DOS based mainframe system.

    In other words, the airlines can’t allow people at the airport or in the call center access to the system that name changes are processed in. A good employee or a good travel agent had a contact that can fix it. But that guy in India truly can’t change it and the person at the airline counter truly can’t change it.

  • Rebecca

    I understand what you mean. You can’t have people at the airport that have access to changing names on tickets. A computer can’t distinguish between an obvious error and a completely different person. So if they could update an obvious error, they could also just change it completely. So they can’t allow it at all, but for a few select folks. You need access to those select folks to change a name. A person at an airport counter or in a call center generally doesn’t have that. Their supervisor might, depending on how good they are.

    Like everything else – a few idiots ruin it for everyone else.

  • AAGK

    The mystery is that people still fly Aeromexico after all of the horror stories.

  • AAGK

    That’s smart.

  • AAGK

    The airline knows that but chose to characterize it this way for an extra few bucks. Aeromexico should be embarrassed it is that desperate. This story makes me question its financial health.

  • MarkKelling

    The fee is to discourage the activity.

    All of the fees the airlines have started charging are simply to make them money on the lower fees like bag fees, or on the higher fees like name change or flight change just to convince you you don’t want to do that.

    Some will argue that if passengers are allowed to do all these things willy nilly then the entire airline business will grind to a halt. But then look at Southwest — one of the larger airlines in the world now based on passenger miles flown and as close to zero fees as possible and they aren’t hurting a bit.

  • MarkKelling

    You simply require one or more additional approvals by unique people (i.e the person making the change is not the approver!) at the point of change before the change can be completed to cover those concerns. One person might have a nefarious reason to make such a change, but 3 different ones? Highly unlikely.

  • MarkKelling

    If there are all these concerns, then the 24 hour no questions asked refund policy must be hell for airlines.

  • Rebecca

    I speak from experience when I say that doesn’t work. Simply because the employees will just give their login/code/whatever to each other so quick it will be worthless. In a case like this, you really do need a vetted, higher level employee to be the only one with access.

  • Susie

    Discourage the activity?! A passenger is simply trying to correct a typo or add a middle name so it matches their passport. Why would any airline want to discourage that?

  • yellowbird73

    In Mexico, it can get even *more* complicated, not less. Many people have two last names and one or more middle names, any one of which they may or may not use in their everyday life and any one of which may or may not be on their passports. I deal with nonresident aliens as part of my work, and many of them have no idea what’s on their passports until they pull them out and take a look. So unless the Aeromexico website has a space for first last name and second last name, I don’t think it’s designed for Mexican or Latino travelers.

  • MarkKelling

    I didn’t say it was the correct course airlines should take.

  • The Original Joe S

    Buy it in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Go to small claims court with the evidence. Subpoena the dirtbags. When they don’t show up, win by default. Impound their full airplane at o-dark-thirty. Demand cash only. To be really nasty, impound and then depart. Plane stays put. Schedule totally messed up. Ha ha ha.

  • The Original Joe S

    Slimey…..

  • The Original Joe S

    I would have shown up also…….

  • The Original Joe S

    NO, you messed up, and YOU will change it. Tell them that. Since it’s less than 24 hours, if you DON’T change it, I’ll cancel it. If you don’t cancel it, I’ll charge it back IAW THE LAW. So, change it, dirtbag!

  • The Original Joe S

    That’s THEIR problem, not the LW’s. Free Sound Recorder. If you told the dolt the correct information, and they did not enter it properly, it’s THEIR FAULT. If they can’t understand Ænglish good, too bad. There’s your evidence. As i said elsewhere in this thread, small claims court in your jurisdiction, subpoena everybody, they default, they lose, you impound the airplane 30 days later, you leave the airport with the impound on the plane [ if that is allowed under the rules of the best justice system money can buy ]. Screws up their whole system. They can’t move the airplane until they pay the judgment. That’ll teach them.

  • The Original Joe S

    Becomes THEIR problem when you use to system to your advantage.

  • The Original Joe S

    and why should the general pubic care about these internal procedures?

  • The Original Joe S

    Harry S Truman. He didn’t have one. They put in the “S” without a “.” to make it sound cool. Popeye D Sailor…….

  • The Original Joe S

    I’ll sell you one of your choice for 5¢. How’szabout “Loisn”?

  • The Original Joe S

    poppycock AND Balderdash! They are THIEVES. So, use the system and stick it to ’em.
    Isn’t there a 24 hour rule?

  • The Original Joe S

    Yeah, a mistake made by Gunga Din in the Punjab in the middle of HIS night, where he ain’t fully awake!

  • The Original Joe S

    So “scumbag”, “dirtbag” and “wrecked ’em” are not on the menu?

  • The Original Joe S

    Cheep Cheep Cheep Cheep!

  • Lindabator

    TSA and international requirements for advance manifests — and the fact that they CAN do minor name changes, but is still frowned upon as still is not supposed to be allowed, and that is not an airline requirement, but a legal one. They can and will do minor changes, but NOT in all cases, and TSA or international security points can still bounce you back. Just too much of a hassle at the airport, where NOT all are actual airline employees in many cases, but are contracted 3rd parties, and they have no access to such changes in a lot of cases, nor do they have the authorization

  • Rebecca

    There’s a HUGE difference between someone entering it incorrectly online and a customer service rep mistyping. If someone enters their own name wrong, which is the case 90% of the time, that’s one thing. The business’s own employee mistyping is a completely different scenario. If you noticed, I have posted here several times about how to get a rep in the US, how unhelpful most call centers are because of the stupid rules they have about sticking to a prescribed “script” and how impossible it is to help customers when you want to because the business doesn’t empower people with the tools to actually fix problems.

    I don’t know where the hostility is coming from. I was just explaining WHY a procedure would be in place. Is it stupid? Yes. But I assumed someone might be curious. Sometimes looking at it from all sides can be helpful. Those same people that don’t have the tools to fix the problem usually would be happy to fix it if they could. But many employers have very strict, stupid rules. And even if the employee wants to help, they can’t risk their job. Most people working front line customer service work paycheck to paycheck. They’re people too. And to have hostility towards them for something they can’t control is ridiculous.

  • jim6555

    By just showing up at the airport, they risk being turned away at the check-in counter or in the TSA line? Or, the passengers could have had no problem boarding the outbound flight, flown to Mexico and then been denied boarding of their return flight to California.

  • joycexyz

    It’s optional because some people don’t use a middle name.

  • Attention All Passengers

    The airline didn’t have to “fix” anything……..No airline (or passport) in the world mandatorily requires a middle name. LAST (FAMILY) NAME., FIRST NAME…..simple. Why passengers insist on 12 family (middle) names (ie. Mexican and Brazilian) on a passport is beyond me. We don’t need your mother or grandmother’s maiden name to identify WHO YOU ARE. I’m pretty sure Aeromexico knows that, they were obviously looking for more money (for an absolutely nothing non-issue) or their agents can’t think out of the box.

  • Mike H

    How could you even find the old version of AeroMexico? And CheapoAir has a line for middle name. Question: Would the airline (or TSA) not allow boarding if no middle name is on the ticket? Say the name on your passport is “John William Smith” and your ticket is made out to “John Smith”, what would happen at the airport?

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