Airline ticket mix-ups are more common than you may think

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It can happen to any of us. We make an airline reservation and somehow the name on the passenger ticket gets messed up.

Whether it's a computer glitch, a momentary brain cramp or a typo, mistakes happen-unfortunately, the Chohan family of Fairfield found out that mistake can be a hard one to fix.

Sarina Chohan plans to join her cousins in London this summer.

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Her mom, Neelam, booked her a ticket online back in February.

"She's leaving in August so, it's kind of, I did it early," said Neelam Chohan.

Unfortunately, the ticket issued had mom's name on it, not the daughter's.

"They said when I was typing in the information, I put in my name or it defaulted to my name since I was putting it on my card," said mom.

Travel experts say mistakes like this are quite common.

Edward Hasbrouck is a travel writer and former travel agent.

"Sometimes the first name and last name were switched. Sometimes there was a missing middle name or initial. Sometimes names were misspelled. All of these things happened quite routinely," he said.

Neelam tried to get the name on her ticket changed, but numerous customer service reps told here that was not possible.

Ticket holders should be polite, but not take no for an answer.

"It's a discretionary thing. Airlines can do it. Don't believe them if they say that's impossible," said

Hasbrouck. "It is possible. You may need to get a second level supervisor before they can do it, but you're asking for them to do you a favor."

Neelam turned to 7 On Your Side for help and we contacted United Airlines.

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United told Neelam the confusion came because the flight was booked through a codeshare with

Brussels Airlines.

"I do have to apologize to you that it takes this much effort to make the necessary change. It should have been taken care of when you first called us," a United representative said.

The name of Neelam's daughter is now on the ticket.

Her mother has this recommendation for anyone reading this report.

"I definitely would recommend double, triple checking. I just booked another ticket for another trip that I'm doing and I double, triple checked the information that I filled out."

Hasbrouck says airlines began being strict on name changes 20 years ago to prevent passengers from either reselling their tickets or giving them to other passengers.

For more stories, photos, and video from Michael Finney and 7 on Your Side, visit this page.

Written and produced by Randall Yip
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