No First Name on Passport

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Apr 4, 2018
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#1
Hello and thank you in advance for any help you can give.

I am trying to be pro-active and avoid a possible ticketing problem for a flight to Portugal later this year. My husband is a naturalized citizen and travels on a US passport. He is originally from Asia and has only 1 name. On his passport it is listed as his last name. The line for his first name is blank. We have traveled out of the country in the past by air but at the time I was able to leave the first name line blank. I can no longer do that. I have contacted the airlines we plan to travel on to see what we should enter in the first name field as I know the passport and ticket need to match. One response was to enter Mr. Another representative said to simply enter the same name twice. Another said to enter No First Name in that line. Does anyone know what woudl be the correct way to do this or know where I might be able to go to find an answer? We have tried, unsuccessfully, to add a first name to the passport in the past but it is a bit complicated to legally change his name.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#2
The process for handling this seems to be an airline-by-airline question. You might want to consider booking this ticket through a travel agent, as the TA could figure out how to get it done, particularly if it's a situation where you're connecting between two airlines with different standards on a single ticket. Apparently, another option is putting FNU (FIrst Name Unavailable) in the first name field.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#3
I would second @Just A Guy about using a travel agent. This way the liability falls to the agent if a mistake is made in ticketing. This agent doesn't have to be in your city, you could even use someone online but do your research. Several of our other members have more information about finding a travel agent.

Chris also did a video on this.

http://www.elliott.org/live-2/find-good-travel-agent/
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Apr 4, 2018
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#4
Thank you for you replies. I had tried a travel agent but the one i spoke with was not as helpful as I woudl have liked which is why I called the airline directly. The flights I need to take will all be on the same airline so that will help keep confusion to a minimum. IF I can not find an agent I am happy with I will book through the airline and not through a third party site. I think the ultimate solution will be getting the passport set up with something like the FNU designation in the first name field. Will have to try that route again.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#5
As an agent, even I have never seen a situation like this.

Why don’t you call the airline and have them issue the ticket for you over the phone? Let them do it- they are the experts.

You don’t have to do it yourself- the airline might charge a fee for them to issue the ticket but wouldn’t peace of mind be worth it?
 
Apr 4, 2018
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#6
Thank you Neil for your suggestion. I have called several travel agents who don't know what to do with it as well as the airline. The agent at the airline is insisting he have a name in that field but there is not one on the passport to match so that will cause a problem. I think trying to find the right person who has dealt with this in the past is the difficult part. We travel domestically without an issue because we can use his driver's license and they put the word none in the field for his first name on that. I just enter none in the first name field for the ticket and we use his license for ID. I was surprised when we got his passport and the field was blank but it is. I am sure there is a solution I just have to find it. I truely do not have a problem with letting the airline do it for me (not concerned about an extra fee if it is right) but again I have gotten agents who want me to make up a name and that will not work. At this rate he may be staying home (just kidding).
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,351
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
Thank you Neil for your suggestion. I have called several travel agents who don't know what to do with it as well as the airline. The agent at the airline is insisting he have a name in that field but there is not one on the passport to match so that will cause a problem. I think trying to find the right person who has dealt with this in the past is the difficult part. We travel domestically without an issue because we can use his driver's license and they put the word none in the field for his first name on that. I just enter none in the first name field for the ticket and we use his license for ID. I was surprised when we got his passport and the field was blank but it is. I am sure there is a solution I just have to find it. I truely do not have a problem with letting the airline do it for me (not concerned about an extra fee if it is right) but again I have gotten agents who want me to make up a name and that will not work. At this rate he may be staying home (just kidding).

See if we have company contacts for the airline you are considering and contact them. Whatever you do, do not use an OTA- only book through the airline.

I don’t even have a good answer for you and I’ve been doing this for 16 years. This is the first time I am stumped.

I am going to ask around and see if anyone knows what the right answer is.
 
Likes: jsn55
Apr 4, 2018
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#9
Thank you Neil. An OTA was not an option for me but thank you for the warning. I have called the airline to see about an answer. I have also messaged them on Facebook. I did find the contacts on your site and have also sent an email. Have not had a reply yet in written form. Verbally they have told me to put the last name in both fields but I really would like to have written back up for that.
 
Apr 4, 2018
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#10
Thank you AMA. I have already contacted the state department. That made sense to me, however, they were not at all helpful. They said to contact the airline to see what their policy is. Apparently there is not a standard answer and each airline may do it a little differently. I have their reply in an email.
 
Likes: AMA
May 15, 2016
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#12
I would maybe put just a period in the field for first name for the airline tickets, which will more closely match the passport as it will be unnoticeable. I would also think about putting (no first name) in parentheses just as I wrote it, if a period is not accepted on the online form. I would not consider using FNU or NFN as a solution , as it looks like an odd Asian name and would be a mismatch for the passport. I have heard of 'no middle name' but I have never heard of 'first name unavailable', nor is that technically correct, because it isn't unavailable, nor is it unknown, it just doesn't exist. If FNU is a well known and acceptable abbreviation in the travel community, I will stand corrected.
 
Likes: jsn55
May 15, 2016
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#15
I am not sure that is a good idea either. Just because one random person on the other end of the phone chooses one method, that doesn't mean that the TSA agent or the gate agent will agree that is appropriate, or feel "bound" based on what the first person did.
 
Likes: jsn55
Aug 9, 2017
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#16
Go to http://www.cxagentsusa.com/support/name-amendment, which seems to be a Cathay Pacific related site, then scroll down to the section titled "Recommended practices." Using the drop down menu select "Missing first name" and it states "If only the last name and no first name, use a title as the first name, e.g. "MRS"." Other airlines may have different policies, but the Cathay Pacific site is for ticket agents, and the answer probably is the nearest to a universal and correct answer.

I also find it interesting in reviewing the instructions for SF86, the NAtional Security Check form that has to be completed for the TSA hiring process. It is stated in the questions section:

I don't have a first or middle name. What do I do? View less

If you have no first name, depending on the form you are filling out, you may have to type in the “First” name field “No First Name” or, if available on the screen, select the drop-down menu option “No First Name”. If you have no middle name, simply use the drop-down menu next to the “Middle” name field and select “No Middle Name”.
 
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Likes: mmb
Apr 4, 2018
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#17
Thank you all for your replies. I called several airlines and they all have a different process for this. I contacted TSA, The Portuguese consulate, passport control and their answer is to defer to the airlines. The most common response from several airlines that fly over seas and deal with people with 1 name only (apparently it is quite common in India and other Asian countries) is to use the name in both surname and given name fields. I emailed the airline I will be using and the email came back to call the customer service desk. I did find their live chat region and asked the question there. I got the same answer as on the phone ( use the name in both areas) and took screen shots of the chat to have as some sort of back up. Also the agent on the live chat offered to call me and help me complete the booking for no extra charge so I went with that. At least that way I can go back to the airline with the information that they did it this way. They also noted in the record that he has only one name. As far as middle name issues I have not seen a site where a middle name was a required field as not everyone has one so I think that one is easier to bypass. It would seem to make sense if there were just an option that said No first name and make that standard but I guess that would make too much sense.

Thank you again. I am anticipating having a great trip.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,351
12,521
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www.promalvacations.com
#18
I agree with you having let them book it for you and having the chat as a backup to print and bring with you.

Please come back after your trip and tell us how it all worked out.

We can keep this story in mind if we ever have someone else who has the same situation.
 
Likes: jsn55