Passenger Named Later?
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Passenger Named Later?

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Passenger to be Named Later?

By Mark Orwoll

Mark Orwoll, seasoned traveler and T&L Managing Editor, is here to help you with your travel questions. Think of him as your personal concierge, and ask away...

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Today's question:

Q. I am booking a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for New Year's. I want to take someone with me, but at this time I don't know who. I have reserved tickets on Alaska Airlines but have not paid yet because they want a name for the second ticket. I asked if they would be able to change the name later, but they said no and told me I should wait to book the second ticket, but I fear there won't be any available then.

A. You better decide soon just who you want to take with you to Cabo--will it be Mary Lou or Betty Sue?-- because the airlines don't bend this rule. The first reason they even have this rule is obvious: security. Airlines want to be sure that no hooligan, terrorist, or White House intern clambers aboard a plane under an assumed name, there to wreak havoc under the cloak of anonymity. And perhaps equally important from the airlines' point of view, they don't want people like you and me buying up dozens and dozens of discounted sale-priced air tickets, listing only "Passenger to be Named Later," and then reselling those tickets at a higher price to the citizens of this nation.

As for the airline's recommendation to you--that is, to buy your own ticket now and your companion's ticket later--I wouldn't do it. Consider what would happen if, as you fear, there was no room left on your flight for your Dream Date: you'd be stuck traveling solo or hanging onto a ticket that you'd have to change for a later flight (paying a penalty fee to do so) or not being able to use it at all. So get it in gear, dude, and ask SOMEbody to sneak away with you on an illicit escapade in Los Cabos.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in June 1999, but we suggest you confirm all details and prices directly with the service establishments before making travel plans.

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