THAI reimburses flyer charged extra for long name

Thai Airways International has agreed to reimburse a passenger who was charged extra, basically for having a long name, and will add clear instructions to its internet booking platform following his social media complaint this week.

A traveller posted in the Pantip.com online community on Wednesday that he had been charged 3,000 baht at a THAI check-in counter because the names on the tickets bought online for his family were not consistent with those in their passports. The fee was for changing the names on the tickets, he wrote.

He said he had booked the tickets online but the system would not allow him to type the names in full. He tried to shorten them and was finally able to buy the tickets. However, he faced a further problem at the airport.

There, he was told by THAI staff that all he could do was to pay the fee to change the names on the tickets or buy new ones, probably at a different price, if he wanted to board the flight.

He argued that he was a valid member of THAI's Royal Orchid Plus loyalty programme and that should be enough to identify him. The staff said this was not the case and suggested he file a complaint by email to the carrier.    

On Friday, the flag carrier clarified on Facebook that the problem the customer faced stemmed from the limitation on the number of characters allowed in its internet booking system.

"We apologise for the inconvenience since the internet booking system allows up to 25 characters each for the first name and family name when booking a ticket," read the post, which quoted Wiwat Piyawiroj, THAI acting executive vice-president, commercial.

As a result, the names on a ticket and a travel document might not be the same and the person would not be allowed to check in under an International Civil Aviation Organization rule.

THAI said it would reimburse the man for the fee and upgrade its internet booking system so that it gave clear instructions for people whose names could not fit in the provided space.

In the meantime, it suggested that any user facing the problem call the THAI contact centre at 02-356-1111 around the clock so staff could manually record their full names in the tickets.

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