Talia Avakian
May 01, 2017

When Australian newlyweds Brendan and Julie Widdowson booked their honeymoon flight with Virgin Australia before their wedding date, they never though the switch in Julie's last name could cost them thousands of dollars. 

The duo booked a flight for a trip through Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania last year before getting married this February, only to be told that they would need to pay more than $8,500 AUD (over $6,400 USD) to book a new flight since Julie had taken Brendan's last name, news.com.au reported. 

While they did expect to pay a small fee for the change, they never thought the process would be so complex. 

According to the news site, Brendan went to the airline's public Facebook page to voice his concerns. 

“It is outrageous and seems completely unreasonable that it is on us to cancel our ticket and re-book a flight because Virgin’s system cannot handle a simple name change,” he reportedly wrote in the post, which is no longer active.

Brendan said he was told by the airline’s customer service that they would need to cancel the reservation and make another booking — and that there was no guarantee on the availability of the flights.

He also said he was told the change was so difficult because the flight was a codeshare with Singapore Airlines. 

Virgin Australia issued a statement explaining the process:

“Due to security reasons, the International Air Transport Authority does not permit any airline to change names on issued international tickets. IATA only allows three letters to be changed in the instance of a spelling name; therefore in order to change a name, an airline must cancel and rebook a ticket."

After the post was published on Facebook, Virgin was eventually able to book the two on another flight with Etihad, though they still had to pay $616.50 for tax differences between the carriers. 

In the statement, the airline said the reason for this was that Etihad charges other airlines a carrier surcharge.

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